The Toronto Maple Leafs had a difficult opening to their regular season schedule, but that hasn’t seemed to faze them.
The Leafs won their second consecutive game in a back-to-back set on the road, thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
- Goaltending controversy? Jonathan Bernier got the start in goal for the Leafs and was solid all throughout the night. He made 31 saves, including a penalty shot stop on Wayne Simmonds late in the second period. So, now who does Toronto’s coach Randy Carlyle turn to for the Leafs’ home opener on Saturday? James Reimer was solid Tuesday in Montreal, making 34 saves for the win.
- Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser injured his knee in the third period. According to TSN’s Mark Masters, Fraser was seen outside the Wells Fargo Center on crutches.
- If there was any reservation about fighting on behalf of the players, it didn’t really show Wednesday. Brayden Schenn of the Flyers dropped the gloves for a scrap Joffrey Lupul of the Leafs in the first period, roughly 24 hours after Canadiens enforcer George Parros was knocked out when he hit the ice face-first at the end of a fight.
- Dave Bolland’s first goal as a Maple Leaf turned out to be the winner. He then added the insurance, scoring on a late power play with 23 seconds remaining in regulation and the Flyers trailing by a goal.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.