Both Toronto Maple Leafs preseason squads clashed blades with the Ottawa Senators squads on Wednesday.
Even though they lost, the Leafs put together another impressive home game performance. Nazem Kadri scored the first goal of the game, dangling the puck past two Senator defensemen and firing it past a sprawling Robin Lehner.
Jack Gardiner scored his first goal of the preseason shortly after. But the Senators did respond with a goal from rookie Shane Prince late in the second period. A shorthanded goal from forward Alex Chiasson allowed the Senators to steal all the momentum and go on to win the game.
Positives and Negatives
The Leafs started strong in this game. Nazem Kadri, James van Reimsdyk and Cody Franson all accumulated points again. Rookie William Nylander had a couple of decent interceptions, protected the puck really well, and ended the game with an assist. However, the 18-year-old was beaten for pace in the neutral zone and as a result the Senators scored a goal.
Regardless, the Leaf players that were expected to perform did very well. A player that deserved a star in this game was forward Troy Brodie.
He did a wonderful job using his size to create effective screens and used his fists to energize the home crowd. Goalie James Reimer looked shaky and nervous in the early stages of the game in my opinion.
He had trouble tracking the puck and almost cost his team a couple of goals. However, he eventually settled down and stopped 18 shots before making way for Christopher Gibson
Star forward Phil Kessel was much more involved in this contest. He used his speed to create chances and helped set up Van Reimsdyk goal. He had two golden opportunities via a breakaway to steal the win late in the game.
But in the end, a careless pass at the blueline and a strong performance by Senators goalie Robin Lehner allowed the Sens to steal the win on the road. Lehner made 24 saves on the night and looked quite good in the shootout.
Senators' forward Alex Chiasson had a fantastic night, scoring a shorthanded goal and a shootout goal as well. Chiasson came over from the Dallas Stars via the Jason Spezza trade.
I really hope this is a sign of things to come from Chiasson. I really like how this kid plays. He keeps things simple. He didn’t try and deke out the goalie in the shootout, he kept his composure, just picked his spot and fired. It won’t take him long to start accumulating points consistently for the Senators in my opinion.
He has the potential to tally at least 30 points this season.
Overall, both teams provided their fans with a very exciting hockey game. There were plenty of goals, saves and hits. I can’t wait to see which team will have the edge in the next game between these two rivals.