The Maple Leafs showed us Leafs fans today that they will be a force to reckon with this season. Obviously, this is pre season and most teams aren’t playing their regular guys but neither were we. This was a fantastic performance and one which will give the guys self confidence and belief that they can win games even when they look down and out.
We saw some of the prettiest displays of skill today by the Leafs. The first goal was an absolutely lovely display of hockey. Kaberle first broke a Flyers’ defenseman’s ankles and nailed Stajan in stride to which turned out to be a sweet goal. After the Leafs started falling apart due to some silly penalties just like yesterday’s game they made a comeback in the third period with one of the best goals I have seen by the Leafs in a few years. Niklas Hagman blew the socks off two Flyers and let a snorter of a wrist shot go that went top shelf past a rightly shocked Brian Boucher.
There is certainly one aspect of the Leafs’ game that will be extremely frightening once November comes and that’s our powerplay. Even without Phil Kessel this team looked downright scary while handling the puck in the opposition’s zone. Some of the passes Kaberle was making seemed to remind me of the old Kaberle from a few years ago. Beauchemin will compliment Kaberle really well due to his ability to make an equally good pass back. Although today Beauchemin didn’t pass instead he displayed the shot no one would want to be in front of as a player. He let an absolute laser beam go that any NHLer would be proud of.
The game winner was a sweet goal as Niklas Hagman iced it with some more top cheese. His wrister is out of this world and one can only wonder how good he could be if someone could set him up all the time. There was a lot of skill on display by the Leafs today but the defensive corps were just as good in keeping the Flyers out when we were down 4-2. Nazem Kadri deserved praise today for his passing ability, he made some lovely passing plays that would have resulted in goals if Kessel was there to receive them.
The only evident weakness from today’s game was Vesa Toskala and that can be somewhat associated to rust as the goals he let in were not due to him not being good instead they occurred to him just not being there at the right time or not anticipating the shots. He will come around as the pre season progresses. This was after all his first full game in a long time.
Overall, this was a sweet game for Leafs’ fans and we all surely will be proud of the talent we have in this team. Nazem Kadri might not be destined for the Leafs this season, but the potential is there for him to be quite dynamite next year. For now we can enjoy the hard working bunch we have right now that really got the Leafs fans going.