Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-1 pre-season loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday at Bell Centre:
Andersen rebounds from lukewarm start to keep Habs' advantage within reach in the early-going. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen was making his second start with his new team, and he began the showdown against the Canadiens by surrendering two goals in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the opening period. However, Andersen stabilized after that and robbed Habs centre Andrew Shaw with a tremendous glove save that prevented the home side from blowing this game open in the early moments. His resolve and ability to put aside tough goals and continue battling is one of the attributes that made Andersen attractive to Leafs management, and that's what we saw from him Thursday in Montreal.
Matthews' first goal as a Leaf a thing of beauty. Rookie centre Auston Matthews cut Montreal's lead in half at the 14:27 mark of the first by scoring his first NHL goal - and what a goal it was: playing on the power play, Matthews took a pass from blueliner Jake Gardiner, skated a few strides and used Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber as a screen while beating star goalie Carey Price with a wrist shot on the short side. The quickness of Matthews' shot release is something to behold, and not even the guy who many believe is the best goalie on the planet could do anything about it.
Shaw scores early in first and second frames to aid Canadiens' cause. Shaw's acquisition was one of Montreal's more notable changes this summer, and he made his presence felt Thursday by scoring two goals - both of which came in the first two minutes of the first and second periods. Shaw's second of the night restored the Habs' two-goal lead at the 1:24 mark of the second, and his energy and anticipation of the play had him front and center in the Canadiens' win.
Not Toronto's best night in their own zone. While it's true Andersen wasn't at his absolute best throughout the evening, he didn't receive much in the way of assistance from his teammates. The Leafs were late to pucks frequently and Montreal was dominant in puck battles for long stretches of the game. Consequently, the Habs built their lead to three goals on Shea Weber's goal (the first of his career for Montreal) at 4:38 of the middle frame; to four goals at the 6:20 mark of the third on a pretty goal by Alex Galchenyuk; and to five goals on Artturi Lehkonen's first NHL goal at 10:59 of the third. The Buds' defence was scattershot and intermittent at best, and must be significantly better when the regular season begins.
One of those nights. Yes, this is still pre-season and all teams are working out the kinks, but on this night, Toronto had far too many kinks. There are a number of players who are acclimating to a large amount of new teammates, and the bumps in the road in the acclimation process were on full display against the Habs. But one of the hallmarks of head coach Mike Babcock's first season behind the Leafs' bench last year was correcting problem areas, and you can be sure he and his staff will address the ones arising from this game prior to the next exhibition tilt - Friday in Hamilton, Ont., against the Detroit Red Wings.