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Maple Leafs Preseason Game vs Buffalo Sabres

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This is your all purpose game day thread, liveblog and recap for this crucial game three of the preseason.

NHL: SEP 24 Preseason - Canadiens at Maple Leafs Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good evening, Leafs fans, I hope you’re settled in on a Friday night to watch this amazing hockey exhibition match.

The lines for tonight will be made up of this roster:

And the lines should be:

I’m filled with total disinterest about who is playing for the Sabres, but that should be interesting having Marincin with Sandin, and Marincin can play both sides with ease, so Sandin might be a part-time righty in this game.

For tonight’s game, I’ll load this post up with goal videos, a little bit of stats if it’s amusing enough, and some very limited observations. But come and chat if you’re watching or even if you’re not.


Oh, fine, here’s the Sabres lines:

You could tell me that’s Dougie on the second pair, and I’d believe you.

First Sportsnet game, will it be unbearable?

First Period

Mikheyev with a shot off his foot and he looked sore there.

It’s all stretch pass all the time tonight. Sometimes they connect.

I like this Tyler Gaudet guy who was in on the Nylander rush chance. He’s going to the AHL, but he’s going to be excellent there.

Rich Clune deking around off a pass from Kristians Rubins. Yeah, this is that sort of game.

Sandin stood up at centre ice by Kyle Okposo, and ... you know, he passed the puck up ice, and didn’t land on his ass. What more do you want?

Mo, Mo, Mo. That was a bad shift. Blame it on your D partner.

Sandin with a quick pass to Nylander in the offensive zone. God help me, I’m turning into a Sandin could stick believer. You might like his skating. I like his brain.

Buffalo takes a hooking call when they haul down Agostino, who was sprung by a great play from Timashov to get the puck and transition the play. It’s PP time.

Ha! Kenny Agostino had to jump on for Alexander Kerfoot had helmet issues, and he set up the net-front man, Johnsson, who is great at this, and it’s 1-0 Leafs, and OMG the Leafs are ahead??? Is that allowed?

The Kerfoot line is picking their game up offensively, but wow are they getting spun in the d-zone.

Reality check time: Rubins, an ECHL star D, is digging out pucks effectively, and helping with zone exits. This is a shitty team the Leafs are facing.

Timashov with another good shift playing with Mikheyev a little.

Please don’t listen to the wrong, wrong, oh so very wrong ideas about cap management from this broadcast. Wow, that’s bad. Why is the colour guy even talking about that? Where is the Sportsnet producer’s head at producing junk like that?

/rant over

/period over, and it’s still 1-0 Leafs.

Thoughts

Eyetest thoughts: Agostino, Timashov, Andersen and Sandin were good shading to fun to watch. Mo and Ceci got spun, twisted and looked like they were competing to see who could be worse. Kerfoot is getting there.

We’ve got the Leafs giving up a long stretch of shot dominance to the Amerks and then scoring on the power play. The Leafs started to play more with the puck after that, but they are making Freddie work for it. There’s more shots in this first period than in the first two on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s game was all point shots from the D, and tonight it’s real offence at the net-front, so that’s good.

Alexander Kerfoot with a 21% Cosi. He’s had a rough time getting out of his own zone, and he is not getting a lick of help from his defenders. Matthews isn’t much better.

Second Period

Andersen turned the puck over himself, just to have another save to make.

I think Aberg and Timashov have been swapped. That puts Timashov (who speaks Russian) out with Mikheyev and Kerfoot.

Whoa, great Ullmark save on Nylander.

Ten bell save by Andersen on some guy who I’ve never heard of, because the Leafs cannot find their way out of their own zone with a map and GPS.

And another great Andersen save. The Leafs outplayed Ottawa twice and lost and now they deserve to be down by three and aren’t. Hockey!

I’m not feeling Timashov on the Kerfoot line.

As much a Millen was really wrong about the salary cap, he’s very right about how on his game Andersen has been in preseason.

Nylander v Ullmark and the win goes to Ullmark again.

Another great shift by the Gaudet line, which now features Aberg. Agostino is the sparkle there, though.

Whooo. Can’t score? No worries, set up Matthews instead.

2-0 Leafs

MarMar! Don’t do interference five seconds after you were key to a goal. Honestly he’s the king of self sabotage.

Amerks to the PP.

Mo on the PK, yikes. I don’t like.

Mikheyev doing more PK as well, and he looks okay. Nothing like Kappy or Marner.

That was the worst PP I’ve seen in this preseason, and the Leafs were not good on the PK either.

Curtis Lazar (did you know he was on the Sabres?) gets a kneeing call on Liljegren, which as far as I’m concerned, Rich Clune should sort out right now.

Here’s a thing I’m not really clear about. You know how you watch a player have a terrible game? And then they go out and do one part of it excellently. That’s Mo on the PP even when he looks like defence is something he just learned this morning. I’ve seen Matt Duchene be amazing at faceoffs while having a horrible year, and Nylander drove play like whoa last year, when he couldn’t buy a goal. I personally find a bad day is bad in all aspects. The way these guys compartmentalize is fascinating to watch.

Matthews nearly scores, but Ullmark is trying to outplay Andersen tonight.

Leafs epically pinned in with Sandin and Liljegren as the D pair after the PP is over.

They finally escape and Shore gets a shot off to end the period 2-0 Leafs.

Thoughts

Aberg is giving way to Agostino in the race for an open winger spot. Shore has already lost the race for 4C, I think. But there’s five more games to play yet.

Liljegren is having a rough game, and Ullmark is spectacular.

Leafs getting pinned for extensive stretches and executing offensively only in short bursts. Kerfoot down to 17% CF. That switch to Timashov did not help anyone.

Third Period

Michael Hutchinson takes over in net, and hey, guys? Try some zone exits now, okay? Ullmark also gives way to his backup Andrew Hammond.

We’re starting to get more fourth line by my eye, as Nick Shore is getting his chance to impress. Clune takes a heap of abuse in front of the net, but no one gets a shot off while he’s got everyone distracted.

Mikheyev with some nice moves in this game, even as his line has struggled with shot share, and he goes end-to-end through people with ease.

Aberg with another giveaway under gentle pressure. He’s really shooting himself in the foot tonight.

Sandin with a sweet poke at the puck in centre ice causes a transition that leads to a PTO goal. Matt Read makes it 3-0 Leafs.

Everyone Loves Rasmus.

Mikheyev with some nice, nice moves to set up Kerfoot, and Timashov can’t bury the rebound, but Mickey is looking like a KHL sniper in this game.

Leafs are playing a much better game in front of Hutchinson, and the Sabres are looking outclassed now. Which makes this an inverse score effects game, which I’ve seen from Sabres teams before.

Note the difference in the regular and score adjusted lines there. Maybe this new Sabres coach hasn’t quite solved all his culture problems overnight.

Nylander still trying to buy a goal. He’s upping the price every shift too. Seriously, though, he’s been great, dominating like he should be against this team while Johnsson, who has a goal, has looked a little like a guy with a guaranteed roster spot.

And that’s the ballgame, Leafs win 3-0.

Thoughts

Mickey’s getting his groove on. I’m alarmed by Kerfoot so far, and I’ve seen nothing from him that’s really very good. Sandin was really something tonight, and I really want to see him in more than one game (preseason is fine) against a real NHL roster. How about the technically sound Detroit Red Wings?

Don’t count out PTO man Matt Read for winning a thankless depth role like the guy who sits in the press box.

And that’s all for tonight. Tomorrow’s preview will be up when I get to it, with longer thoughts on the roster. The game is going to be a fun one in Buffalo.