The first lesson is the obvious one, we need to question our life choices that we watched a game like that. But it is true you can glean a little information from this kind of game.
Leafs dropped Game 1 to the Senators with a final score of 3-2. A slow PK-filled first period gave way to some heavy Leafs domination on the shot clock, but the goal battle went to the Sens.
Keith Petruzzelli played to his level for two periods, and no one should have expected more. He was hung out to dry on a couple of the goals against.
Dennis Hildeby had one highlight save (after one made by the post):
Hildeby follows the cross-ice pass pic.twitter.com/0sgqvPAL82— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) September 24, 2023
Hey, let's talk defence next...
The glib way to phrase it is that, if Timothy Liljegren thought Conor Timmins was a looming threat, he should have been watching for William Lagesson. But the truth is that Timmins looks like he should be in the AHL, and Lagesson looked like the guy who was going to pressure Liljegren to prove he's got something significant to offer as an NHL defender.
Long before he scored a goal, Lagesson was moving the puck well, handling his position with calm focus and looked like the number one choice of recall if the Leafs need a defender.
Timmins looked like he should spend a few minutes on CapFriendly and think things over.
Liljegren showed his transition skills in peak form, but looked out of place on a power play. His defensive positioning was routinely someone else's problem to solve, but his on-ice shotshare was excellent. His usual mixed bag of results. Depending on when you noticed him, he was either glorious or a disaster.
William Villeneuve should not play again.
The "new" power play, which has been advertised as a little tweak on the old one, has an obvious drop pass to start it off, and looked otherwise like guys playing the PP for the first time.
Max Domi had some moments as a setup man for his line, and his line was very good. If he's to play with Nylander a lot, that might be enough to get him some points. As the game went on, I liked his offensive play more and more and the fit with Nylander is obvious.
Nylander, as he always does, looks ready for October.
Roni Hirvonen plays the game from his skates up and is fun to watch, and you can easily imagine him as an offensive powerhouse in the AHL.
Fraser Minten got a lesson in playing the fourth line with an aim to add some points, and if he is making the NHL, that might be how he'll do it because he caught on fast. He got promoted in the third period to play with Matt Knies and Sam Lafferty. I think he's been given something to think about in junior, but he belongs in the AHL now. Which can't happen unfortunately, but I was impressed with the youngest player on the team.
Matt Knies was the best player on his line most of the time, which is not how you use him, and he doesn't look very good when this happens. At the end of the game with the goalie pulled, he was with Domi and Nylander, and suddenly he was himself.
William Lagesson looked like a sneaky good depth signing in the summer, and he's backing that up with an game that's got no big highs or lows to it. Coaches love that.
Fraser Minten was everything he needed to be at this stage, and I have some small blossoming of hope that Max Domi might be a net positive on the team.
No one, it should be said, was pressured very hard defensively, so how these players will perform when faced with more than one good line is anyone's guess.