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Pre-season game #3 recap: Maple Leafs shutout the Sabres as the defensemen fight for a spot.

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The power play went 1-9 and really needs some work.

NHL: Preseason-Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This pre-season has seen a lot of Maple Leafs take the ice in these games. It’s not much of a try-out, but the players who are really fighting for a job this pre-season are the defenders.

Tonight’s line up for forwards was only Miro Aaltonen looking for a shot to stay up, and Josh Leivo trying to stay out of the press box this year. The bottom six however, aside from Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey, were guys fighting for for the 6/7 D spot.

The game was nothing to write home about but a couple stand out items occured:

Curtis McElhinney was outstanding tonight on the few shots he faced. Diving all over the crease to block pucks, he never suffered from too few shots, never got cold, and was able to get the shutout for his two periods making 14 saves.

Garret Sparks took over in the third period and continued to keep the Sabres off the scoreboard when they got only FOUR SHOTS.

Katya had a very good observation: ‘Guys Matt Martin just created a scoring chance. The Sabres are bad.”

Morgan Rielly scored the only goal while on the powerplay:

It was the bright spot on the Leafs power play, which went 1-9 during this game. With all of these penalties that are getting called in the pre-season the Leafs will have plenty of times to practice.

The Leafs penalty kill was excellent however, with the players keeping the shots to the outside, and the Sabres at 0-4.

My focus was on the defence tonight, and here’s what I observed about the ones fighting for a spot.

Travis Dermott

Dermott was the star on defense tonight. He heard all of the rumours over the summer of him being the guy to make the Leafs out of camp this year and played like the guy everyone built up. He was a wall on the point, and played a big role in keeping the Sabres shotless for almost half the first period. He played both periods, not letting in a goal and making

Andrew Nielsen

As expected of us here at PPP, I have to say Nielsen was fine, but not impressive tonight. Really nothing in this game aside from Dermott was to me but Katya says I’m just a curmudgeon. His biggest highlight was getting a boarding penalty in the third. He got some PP time, and thats good but the PP was bad most of the night (1-9, rah)

Justin Holl

I often forgot about Holl. He was there, doing his duty to fill time, and preparing to be the Marlies captain probably.

Andreas Borgman

Borgman was paired with Dermott tonight and the two played really well together. Borgman was generally on top of his assignments, but was receiving guidance from Dermott throughout the game. He delivered a big hit to Rodrigues on the Sabres that sent him to the quiet room.

This was a good game for the Leafs and it’s always great to see them get a win, even if it’s against a team that was mostly Rochester Americans and the score was only 1-0 with two empty net goals.

Pre-season game 4 is tomorrow night in Buffalo and you can watch it on Sportsnet.

Poll

Based on tonight’s game which defender should start the year on the Maple Leafs

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Justin Holl
    (8 votes)
  • 21%
    Andreas Borgman
    (261 votes)
  • 75%
    Travis Dermott
    (916 votes)
  • 1%
    Andrew Nielsen
    (21 votes)
1206 votes total Vote Now