Let's start with the Game In Six:
You can find the line combinations and who was dressed tonight at Paul Hendrick's blog, and the first thing you're likely to notice is that William Nylander isn't there. Josh Leivo, who also had a strong outing on Saturday, also is sitting.
The first power play unit looked like this:
The first PK unit was as follows:
The second PK unit:
For those of you wondering "who is Doetzel?", here is his HockeyDB page. He actually played a very solid game tonight and made very consistent outlet passes.
Another note is that I messed up Brett Findlay's name in yesterday's article -- it is in fact Brett Findlay, and not Lee Findlay, as I had listed.
The Leafs picked up where they left off on Saturday by picking up a pile of minor penalties through the first, but the first opportunity with the man advantage actually went their way when Viktor Loov threw a huge open-ice hit in the neutral zone. On the ensuing power play, Connor Brown scored on a nice tip-in from a Matt Finn shot.
Loov looked good right from the outset of the first and was arguably the team's best defender tonight again, even if he wasn't getting as much ice time. Although not known for his offensive instincts, he spearheaded at least one impressive rush in the first and jumped off the blue line repeatedly (though responsibly) tonight. On another note, Loov's scouting report mentions his willingness to hit and it's true. He hits with enthusiasm, but he picks the right time to do so, which makes me like him all the more.
Another player that stood out for me in the first period (and throughout the rest of the game) was Toronto native Carter Verhaeghe. He skates well, controls the puck well, and is very patient with it in the offensive zone. He'll need to work on defensive zone coverage a bit, but I like his game a lot. His playmaking is very good and his release is great. He doesn't need much time or space to release a hard shot -- very little backswing.
Patrick Watling, with whom most of you will not be familiar, played for the Sault Greyhounds under Kyle Dubas and he has been brought to camp as a filler player. He showed some good awareness of the ice with his passing tonight, and though he didn't score much at the OHL level, he'll be with the Marlies this season, so expect to hear more about him. Fun fact: he knows all about advanced stats.
Anyway, Frederik Gauthier let his man go in front of the net for just the briefest of moments, and the Sens tied things up 1-1. They went ahead not long after when the Leafs found themselves in penalty trouble again with Ryan Rupert in the box (surprise!). It was a bit of a jam play that Leafs' goalie Gibson didn't have much of a chance on.
By the end of the period, the Leafs were behind 12-4 on the shot clock. Too many penalties.
I really liked Tom Nilsson's game yesterday, but tonight he got running around a bit much. Like Loov, he loves to hit, but took himself out of position a few times to make plays, causing odd-man rushes in the process. I still like his first passes out of the zone, his shot is a good one (he got an assist this evening) and I think that he has a good chance of seeing some NHL action before too long, but tonight was not his finest of nights. As the game wore on, his lapses began to pile up.
Brett Findlay tied things up for the Leafs at 2 less than five minutes into the second, and the Leafs would wind up going into the third period in decent shape.
A note here on Connor Brown: his skating looks good, and can create rushes through the neutral zone. He is shifty enough to dodge checks, and still maintain possession of the puck. He distributes it very well, setting up great plays in the offensive zone. He'll be a player to watch this season with the Marlies, but you already knew that.
I hate to pick on Matt Finn, but he had another rough night, defensively speaking. Although he picked up an assist on Brown's power play goal, Finn has problems reading plays quickly enough. He was caught flat-footed many times tonight because he had to throw on the brakes before skating the other direction. I'm not all that down on him as a prospect, but this has not been his best showing.
It's worth mentioning that Tyler Biggs did not take a penalty tonight and instead was quite effective on the PK. He's still a bit slower than I'd like, but he had an active stick all game and broke up a lot of plays.
It wasn't until halfway through the 3rd that the wheels began to fall off for the Leafs. The Sens added another 4 goals to make the final score 6-2, and when you consider that the shot totals were 41-23 in favour of the bad guys, the amount of time the Leafs spent in the box really obviously added up.
Christopher Gibson looked quite good until that point, though I'll say that I'm not a huge fan of his catching style, which seems to be to bat the puck down and cover it. I'm aware that this is now something of a style (and something James Reimer is accused of being too reliant upon) but I'd still like to see the puck caught more often. Overall, this was not the goalie's fault, though.
The game ended with the Rupert twins (who were far less effective tonight when separated and/or away from Biggs) getting into simultaneous fights, getting ejected from the game, and then drawing an extra minor penalty on which the Sens scored. A Leafs' defender tried to clear the puck off the glass behind the net, got a bad bounce, and a Sens player capitalized. Tough to blame Gibson for that or the 2-on-1 goals.
Oh, and one last note:
Frederick Gauthier was forced to leave the game with an injury. Details shortly. #tmltalk— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 15, 2014