It’s the 7th game of the preseason, with one more to go after this. Tonight’s roster for the Toronto Maple Leafs is similar to the all-AHL lineup that beat Montreal (lol) 3-0 last week, but this one features more guys who figure to be competing for an NHL spot.

Specifically, Babcock has said they’re going to be giving a lot of minutes and a long look at the currently favoured third pairing of Sandin and Big Safety (aka Martin Marincin). So that should be fun.

Let’s see how they did!

Or, let’s read how they did. Omar isn’t giffing tonight so in place of his usual gifs, I will use whatever tweet I find that seems the most relevant.


The Leafs “top” line tonight had a great series of chances right off the bat, with Petan putting a good shot on net that led to a scramble. Right after, Matt Read had another chance off a rush after Elynuik sprung him with a clever little chip pass. Not long after Brooks missed his winger in behind the Wings’ defense in front of the net, also on a rush.

Good fast start for the pseudo-Leafs, outshooting the Wings 6-0.

So of course the Wings get the first goal on their first shot. Liljegren, Kivihalme, and Bracco get caught scrambling in front and the lesser Svechnikov puts home the loose puck.

Leafs get a good chance off an aggressive forecheck led by Clune. A big hit behind the net led to a pass in front to Engvall that Bernier stopped. Not long after, the Leafs drew a penalty after Kivihalme was tackled to the ice.

Their PP starts with Schmaltz, Bracco, Petan, Agostino, and Archibald. Some nice passing led a chance off an Agostino shot and scramble, but Petan whiffed on the rebound chance. Another scramble not long after, a good looking PP for The Replacements.

Now we have Sandin, Kivihalme, Brooks, Gaudet, and Aberg. They god a great chance in front off some more good passing: Sandin from the point, down to Gaudet in the corner, across the front of the net to a waiting Aberg who got a good clean shot in close but couldn’t capitalize. Leafs are now out shooting the Wings 14-3.

The Wings line with Svechnikov almost made it 2-0, fighting for the puck behind the net lead to a chance that Hutchinson had to make a good save on.

1-0 Wings Score

Leafs keep generating shots and chances. Matt Read has looked real good. Unfortunately, Ben Harpur who hadn’t looked BAD took a real late, real dumb, real unnecessary interference penalty to send the Wings to the PP.

Leafs start the PK with Elynuik, Read, Sandin, Big Safety. they kill off the first 1:30 of the penalty to end the first period.

First Period Thoughts

Process over results?

Process over results. Period ends with the Leafs leading 17-7 in shot attempts at even strength, and 25-8 all strengths.

I liked the looks of Matt Read, Adam Brooks, and the Sandman - Big Safety pairing. Petan has looked fast at times. No one who has looked bad, but no one else is really standing out.


Leafs start the period with 30 seconds left on the PK, but they kill it off with little time spent in their own end.

Leafs Tied 1-1

The Archibald - Brooks - Bracco line had some solid forechecking to keep them from clearing the zone, and they create an odd man mini-rush from the blueline. Bracco with the pass to Brooks who tipped it, Archibald cleaned up the rebound. Tied 1-1.

The Svechnikov line for the Wings continues to give the Leafs fits, and are pretty much the only ones to get anything going for them.

Petan with a real smart play drew a penalty. Petan saw Timashov gaining speed wide and dumped the puck into the corner, which could have been icing but with a head of steam Timashov got there first to negate it. He subsequently drew a penalty chasing down the puck.

Leafs start with Petan, Archibald, Schmaltz, Bracco, and Agostino. Agostino had a good point shot that Archibald tipped but Bernier saved. Not much else going for that unit, so Brooks, Sandin, Aberg, Kivihalme and Guadet jump on. They get one point shot on net of their own, but that’s it. That was a more frustrating powerplay to watch.

Oh man not long after the PP ended, the Wings had a turnover and a bad chance that led to Elynuik and Aberg on a 2 on 0. Aberg was set up with a glorious chance put rung it off the post. Still tied 1-1.

2-1 Wings Score

And of course the Wings come back the other way and score. The swarmed the Leafs in the defensive end and got a friendly bounce off a point shot rebounding off the boards right onto Chris Terry’s stick, and he had a wide open net for the goal.

2-2 Leafs Tie It Again

The Leafs get one right back! A bit of a bizarre sequence led to the puck being pinned on the boards in the Wings’ end for what seemed like a full 30 seconds. The refs let the play go (sigh, preseason) and meanwhile the Leafs smartly changed wingers. When the puck finally got free the Leafs were fresh and the Wings were not, having been on the ice for an actual 3 minute shift. The fresh Leafs caused a turnover that led to Agostino setting up Matt Read for the tying goal. Matt Read has been the best forward for the Leafs this game, by far.

Oh no, the Svechnikov line caused more chaos in the Leafs end, and it led to Svechnikov accidentally headbutting Marincin in the chin. Big Safety looks shook, hope he’s okay. I’d have thought since it’s preseason it would be good to be cautious, but MarMar is back out there right away...

Leafs get a flurry of chances from Read and Elynuik but time runs out with the game tied 2-2.

Second Period Thoughts

That was a better period results-wise, with the same possession dominance. Matt Read has looked fantastic all game, and the Brooks line caused some havoc for the Wings as well. The one problem the Leafs have is the Wings’ Svechnikov line. They’ve been getting it all done.

They led the period 20-8 in shot attempts at even strength, and have a hardy 70% in total shot attempts for the game. Schmaltz, Harpur, Agostino, Elynuik and Read are leading the way all with 80%+ in possession. Harpur has been quietly effective and really only has his really stupid penalty as his blemish.


Oh, the Leafs put Woll in net for the third period giving him his first training camp action since he was hurt before Traverse City. Actually, it might be the first time ever he’s ever gotten into real (sort of) game action in a Leafs uniform.

Ben Harpur starts the period by... almost dangling his way to the front of the Wings net? I’ll have to check the tapes later to see if I was hallucinating that. The Read - Elynuik - Agostino line continues to dominate the Wings, as they got another chance or two.

There is a Wing player named Kaski and it’s annoying the hell out of me.

A fight happens that Greg Millen would tell you was caused by Givani Smith going after Sandin, and Guadet jumping in to protect the rookie. What I saw was Sandin cross checking and shoving Smith several times, and by the time Smith turned to look at him Guadet tagged in to handle the actual fight.

Agostino set up a streaking Engvall for a good chance. He passed the defender and drove to the net for a chance, but Bernier stopped it. The Leafs maybe get lucky on a penalty NOT being called on Marincin, and not long after Joe Veleno gets called for a high stick when it was a follow through on a shot... Leafs to the PP.

3-2 Leafs Score

A lucky bounce goes the Leafs’ way. Brooks with the dump in and chased it down to get possession. A pass hit someone’s skate and landed right on the stick of Kivihalme who was sneaking down low, and Elynuik made no mistake on the tap in.

The Wings start putting the pressure on to tie it up, but it leads to an odd man rush with Bracco and Engvall on a 2 on 1. Bracco kept and shot, but fired it off the outside of the post.

3-3 Red Wings Tie It

With 2 minutes to go the Wings pull Bernier, and off a faceoff the Svechnikov line again does the damage. Marincin trips and loses his stick, and can’t recover in time to stop the centering pass to Givani Smith who scored on a quick shot in front. If only Joseph Woll stayed more calm in net, he might have stopped it.

Period ends still tied 3-3, so we’re off to preseason over time. Booooooo.

Leafs start the OT with Sandin, Petan and Gaudet. Petan had a wide open net off a nice feed by Gaudet but he whiffed on the pass. The Leafs put on a lot of pressure late, with Sandin probably playing half of the overtime. He broke someone’s ankles with a little deke, which was cool.

But both teams let this go to a shootout and I’ll never forgive them.

Anyways Leafs won it. Yay.

Final Thoughts

The third was a more boring period. The Wings carried the play more, even if the Leafs had more shots on net. Leafs finished with a big edge in expected goals around 4 - 1 in all situations, but at even strength it was more like 1.5 - 1. The main advantage the Leafs had was having two more power plays, you can see that with the lack of the Leafs’ characteristic blob of death in front of the net. They fired a lot of shots on net, but few were that dangerous.

Sandin played over 30 minutes in all situations. He’ll be a tired kid but likely won’t play again until the start of the regular season. Matt Read was my favourite forward of the bunch that didn’t stand out a lot.

Who impressed you the most?