The Toronto Maple Leafs began their 2014 preseason schedule with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.
David Booth scored in the shootout to give Toronto the victory in the first of eight exhibition games in the next 12 days.
Nazem Kadri and rookie Tom Nilsson scored for Toronto, while Matt Read and Michael Raffl tallied for Philadelphia.
Both clubs dressed rosters consisting mostly with prospects from their respective AHL clubs, as Toronto used minor leaguer Christopher Gibson and former Flyer farmhand Cal Heeter in goal, while Philadelphia went with former London Knights netminder Anthony Stolarz for the entire game.
After a scoreless first, the Flyers took a 2-0 lead on goals from Read and Raffl. Toronto responded late in the middle frame, as Kadri found the loose puck in the crease and shoveled it past Stolarz to make it 2-1.
The game saw a number of physical confrontations, with enforcers Frazer McLaren and Zack Stortini squaring off and Flyers veteran Wayne Simmonds being ejected for a heated confrontation with Leafs defenseman Korbinian Holzer early in the third period.
The subsequent man-advantage led to Toronto tying the game in the third, as Kadri fed a cross-ice pass to Nilsson, who moved in from the point and deftly fired a one-timer past the Flyers goalie. Neither team scored in overtime and the first five attempts during the shootout were denied until Booth’s game-winner.
The two teams will play once again at Air Canada Center on Tuesday, with Toronto expected to play most of the projected defensive starters, 2014 top pick William Nylander and top scorers Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul.
After four weekend scrimmages, the Maple Leafs subtracted 10 players off their training camp roster on Monday prior to their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Flyers at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON.
Forwards Stefan Della Rovere, Brett Findlay, Spencer Machacek, Ryan Rupert, Francis Wathier and Patrick Watling, and defenceman Matt Finn have all been assigned to the AHL Toronto Marlies, while Matt Rupert (London – OHL), Carter Verhaeghe (Niagara – OHL) and defenseman Cody Donaghey (Quebec – QMJHL) have all been sent to their respective junior clubs.
The club’s roster is now at 54 players and will likely make another sizable reduction later this week after split squad games against Philadelphia and Ottawa over the next three days. Forwards(32)
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
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