Toronto Maple Leafs (26-17-5) at Philadelphia Flyers (23-22-3)
|Date & Time||Wednesday October 2, 2013, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Philadelphia Flyers / Toronto Maple Leafs --- Over/Under:
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All of us can agree that looking too deeply into preseason results isn't the best way to assess a team moving forward. Still, in the case of the Philadelphia Flyers it's hard not to be alarmed. This is a hockey club that has some serious issues on the backend and the preseason didn't do much to settle those fears. Mark Streit was one of their big additions in the offseason but for a team that needed defense more than offense it seemed strange to put the years and money into a player that's known more for his offensive ability than anything else. They've also struggled mightily in goal with Ilya Bryzgalov the past few years, but now that he's gone it's not like their problems are solved. Steve Mason played well after being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets last year but let's remember this is a kid who really crumbled mentally in an obscure location and now has to deal with playing in Philadelphia. The change of scenery must have been nice but if he gets any consistent playing time and doesn't perform it's not going to be pretty for him at the Wells Fargo Center. Ray Emery is a solid addition and played great last year, but that was in front of a hockey team that eventually won the Stanley Cup and hardly ever lost during the regular season. We'll see how Emery looks in front of a team that's no where near as strong defensively.
Toronto has questions of their own in goal but that's got more to do with which goaltender is going to solidfy himself as the No. 1 for the Maple Leafs moving forward. James Reimer has played well during the preseason but it's hard to imagine that Toronto went out and acquired Jonathan Bernier to be the No. 2 this season. The tandem should take some time to sort itself out but either way the Leafs have two young goalies with a lot of potential. Their upgrades up front should also help them take things to the next level this season although they will miss David Clarkson for the first 10 games after his dumb decision to leave the bench during a preseason brawl. If the kids like Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, and James van Riemsdyk take another step up this year the Leafs could really be a team that surprises a lot of people during the regular season and should be looking at their second consecutive post season berth.
Despite being on the road in this one and facing the second game of a back-to-back I like the Leafs in this one.