February 4, 2023

Deletions on D make Murray work in Maple Leafs’ pre-season win

Deletions on D make Murray work in Maple Leafs’ pre-season win

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Matt Murray needed to be challenged in his first pre-season sport, however not on the expense of Maple Leafs defencemen falling sooner than autumn foliage.

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Toronto’s projected No. 1 goalie performed a piece of his first 40 minutes of Wednesday’s 3-0 win over visiting Montreal with two forwards moved to the blueline. This after Jordie Benn left following simply three shifts with a groin harm and Carl Dahlstrom joined him late within the first interval with a foul shoulder.

Add that duo to Timothy Liljegren (hernia), Jake Muzzin (again) and the contract stalemate of Rasmus Sandin.

“We don’t know the total extent, however each guys will miss time,” stated head coach Sheldon Keefe, who a day earlier was instructed that centre John Tavares will likely be out three weeks with an indirect muscle difficulty. “It sucks to see it occurring as frequent because it has been, but it surely’s a part of the sport.

“Within the meantime, there’s numerous alternative and an amazing displaying from all our guys at present.”

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On that be aware, Keefe known as it a “enjoyable” night, turning forwards Alex Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok into defencemen, whereas Murray debuted with 16 saves, Erik Kallgren accomplished the shutout aas Scotiabank Enviornment held an evening-long love-in for particular friends from Staff Canada ’72.

Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray makes a save against the Montreal Canadiens in the first period at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray makes a save in opposition to the Montreal Canadiens within the first interval at Scotiabank Enviornment on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Photograph by DAN HAMILTON /USA TODAY SPORTS

“I had a blast,” Murray insisted. “Calle and Kerf stepping in, making breakout passes, it’s like they weren’t lacking a beat. Fairly spectacular. I can’t imagine how seamless they had been.

“Guys had been blocking photographs, we had a very good penalty-kill. I needed to take advantage of out of tonight, placing the jersey on the primary time, getting my toes moist. It was some time since I performed in a sport.”

An added thrill was Staff Canada goalie and Corridor of Famer Ken Dryden coming down to speak to him for a few minutes. Murray was additionally credited with an help on Nick Robertson’s opening aim.  

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Keefe didn’t need to tax his remaining 4 defencemen an excessive amount of in a nothing sport, so figuring that Kerfoot and Jarnkrok had been defensively aware centres, he thought they had been perfect candidates.

“They made it look too simple,” chirped Morgan Rielly, who was partnered with the Swede, whereas Kerfoot joined TJ Brodie, leaving Mark Giordano and Victor Mete to skate collectively.

The forwards Keefe did maintain collectively labored properly, notably newcomers and children who wanted a giant night time as Toronto improved its exhibition document to 2-1.

Robertson took a Giordano breakout move and beat Samuel Montembeault quick facet, although he received so revved up in a while that he made some defensive errors which  Keefe needed to deal with.

Pontus Holmberg pulled a puck off the aim line behind Murray within the center interval whereas centring William Nylander and Denis Malgin, who scored on the facility play from Kerfoot and Alex Steeves. In the meantime, Nick Abruzzese tapped in one other within the third with the additional man from Nylander and Malgin.

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Robertson wants a breakout camp with many extra skilled gamers introduced in for a glance.

“It was a extremely good sport for Nick, getting concerned within the aim,” Keefe stated. “Montreal) wasn’t reflective of an NHL roster (Wednesday), however there are NHL gamers over there and we’re nonetheless in search of guys to face out, even AHL guys in an NHL constructing.

“All the pieces is amplified and also you’re nonetheless in search of them to step up and separate themselves. There was Nick, Steeves and I believed Bobby McMann had his greatest sport at present. There was Joey Anderson, but it surely’s a giant roster of men and I don’t need to depart anybody out.”

McMann is barely two years faraway from two of the ECHL’s most distant locations, Newfoundland and Wichita. The second-highest aim scorer on the AHL Marlies final yr, with 24 to Anderson’s 26, he was beneath the intense lights for a nationally televised sport between the league’s two oldest rivals.

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Keefe has been speaking up the 6-foot-1 winger by camp and began him on a prospects line with Abruzzese and Steeves.

“I just like the journey I’ve come on, this group likes you to earn your spot,” McMann, who signed a two-year NHL contract, stated within the morning.

There’ll doubtless be cuts after Friday’s subsequent sport in Belleville in opposition to Ottawa. Although Kallgren has additionally performed properly, Murray and Ilya Samsonov, who is also 16-for-16 in saves, are anticipated to get probably the most work within the 4 remaining video games earlier than opening night time in Montreal.

Neither staff dressed an ‘A’ lineup, although Montreal used No. 1 total draft decide, proper winger Juraj Slafkovsky, who additionally performed Monday in Montreal’s 2-1 loss to New Jersey.

Wednesday additionally kicked off an unplanned audition section for opening night time second-line centre within the wake of Tavares’ three-week absence with a strained indirect (pelvic) muscle.

Kerfoot, who’s began at left wing, and the scratched David Kampf, are the in-house favourites to see a while within the center. Jarnkrok will even get a shot, both now or ought to accidents down the center happen throughout the yr whereas he’s taking part in both wing.

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