We had a game today?! Barely anyone noticed the game because everyone was too busy thinking about Phil Kessel and the trade to bring him over to Toronto. The game was a good one for the Leafs as they beat the Stanley cup champions at their house, 4-3. Obviously, the Penguins were playing an extremely weakened team with Malkin being the only superstar on the ice unless you want to count Fleury as well.
The game seemed to be getting out of hand early on as the Leafs kept taking silly penalties which even led to two goals. The penguins seemed to be playing with extreme confidence in that first period but sadly for them they came out flat in the 2nd period. The Leafs cashed in on four power plays and turned the game upside down in a few minutes. There was a little fight back from the Penguins at the end but they really were out and the idea of them making a comeback was not looking promising. They had a few opportunities that were easily denied by Macdonald who seems to be quite a goalie and would have made a fine backup for Toskala if we didn’t have Gustavvson already.
John Mitchell stood out today with his all round game. He did all the little things right and made us appreciate his work ethic and ability to understand the game so well on the ice. He also chipped in with a nice goal that certainly capped off his night with a little style. He was one of my favourite leafs last season and he seems to be heading in the right direction this season as well. Ron Wilson will certainly be looking to put him on the ice quite often due to his ability to do everything with ease.
Jason Blake who was playing in his first game of the preseason came back into action as if he never had gone away for the summer. He was skating with the same intensity as he would in a regular season game and he was all over the Penguins with his speed and agility. They didn’t know how to handle him and he created quite a few chances. Now with Phil Kessel becoming a Leaf many fans will be drooling at the prospects of Blake and Kessel lining up together. The speed of that line will make many opposition defenders cry before and after the game.
Ron Wilson coached a good game and the approach to penalty killing has impressed me this pre season. They are much more attacking in the way they go about killing penalties. Last season, we would all see the Maple Leafs hanging back for the opposition to carry the puck into the zone or to dump it in. In the three games we have seen so far they have jumped right on the puck carrier in the neutral zone which has left the opposing puck carriers confused and in a little shock causing turnovers. The foot speed of some of the Leafs is astonishing and perhaps the new bikes in the gym should be complimented.
Overall , it was a good game and wins are wins no matter what time of the year they come. I hope the Leafs continue developing and become a force to reckon with this season.