Mikheyev makes case for spot on Tavares line in Leafs pre-season win

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The spot to captain John Tavares’ left is open.


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That was the considering of Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe on Tuesday morning when he was requested to ponder how the left wing on the Tavares line may be crammed when the common season begins subsequent week.

“That’s nonetheless a query of mine, one thing I’m ,” Keefe mentioned following an non-compulsory morning skate. “I don’t know, to be sincere, if we’ll have a constant participant there. We’ve obtained competitors and we’ve obtained totally different choices.”

Ilya Mikheyev wish to change Keefe’s considering. Mikheyev obtained the chance to try this on Tuesday evening in a pre-season sport in opposition to the Montreal Canadiens and didn’t let it go to waste.

Mikheyev scored late within the first interval, snapping a go from Tavares previous Canadiens goalie Samuel Montembeault to assist put the Leafs on the way in which to a convincing 6-2 victory at Scotiabank Area.


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Not solely would the purpose have served as a confidence increase for Mikheyev, whose knack for locating the again of the web is a battle with consistency, however the third-year Leaf additionally obtained a glance on the highest power-play unit within the place of Auston Matthews.

“He’s had a extremely good camp and he’s an enormous man that skates extraordinarily nicely, has the puck so much, will get to the offensive zone,” Keefe mentioned. “You need him to create alternatives, need him to complete his possibilities when he will get these possibilities.

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“He has performed with (Tavares and William Nylander) previously, so it’s not totally new for him, however it’s a great likelihood to proceed with what has been a great camp.”

One other viable choice for Keefe on the Tavares line is Michael Bunting, who has loved a strong camp as nicely.


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After which there’s Nick Ritchie, who continues to develop chemistry with Mitch Marner.

Ritchie scored a pair of targets within the first interval, together with one on the ability play.

Matthews needed to be nodding in approval someplace when Marner discovered Ritchie for the Leafs’ first purpose at 8:18. Working off the sideboards, Marner eluded a few Canadiens and fed Ritchie, who was alone in entrance of Montembeault and re-directed the go into the web. Marner’s imaginative and prescient doesn’t want the pre-season to get into gear for the common season.

Ritchie’s smooth palms have been evident once more when he popped a feed from Nikita Gusev house two minutes later.


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Petr Mrazek didn’t have a lot to do within the Leafs web, making 20 saves. A Joel Armia shot bounced previous him within the first and he was crushed by Alex Belzile on a display later within the interval … Tavares was buzzing all evening and had seven pictures on purpose. He was 11-4 within the faceoff circle … Mikheyev is a person of many nicknames within the Leafs dressing room — Mickey, Soup and the Cobra. The snake reference, believed by Justin Holl to have been coined by Jake Muzzin, comes from the way in which Mikheyev needed to maintain his wrist as he recovered from a nasty harm a few seasons in the past. Mentioned Mikheyev: “I’m petrified of snakes. I don’t prefer it. Sorry.” … Nylander noticed a while (two minutes 9 seconds) killing penalties. He had 41 seconds on the kill all of final season … The Leafs may have one thing in centre Kirill Semyonov, signed final Might to a one-year contract. Not solely did he ably fill in for Matthews between Ritchie and Marner, he helped kill penalties. The KHL veteran turns 27 later in October, and his expertise may change into a boon for the Leafs, even when Semyonov begins with the Marlies … Toronto put 24 pictures on Montembeault within the first interval. Tavares had a team-high six … Must consider Gusev, with the Leafs on knowledgeable tryout, will get a contract someplace, if not Toronto. He’s too nifty within the offensive zone to play within the American Hockey League … Sure, it’s solely pre-season, and no, the opponents don’t have full lineups. However the method by which the Leafs are shifting the puck on the ability play — with authority and confidence — ought to bleed into the common season. Assistant coach Spencer Carbery shouldn’t be in search of a elevate simply but, although the early outcomes are encouraging … It wasn’t out of the odd for Brennan Menell to return in from the purpose and deposit a Tavares go into the web throughout a Leafs energy play within the second, making it 4-2. Menell final season had 38 factors in 47 video games for Minsk Dinamo, sufficient for second in scoring amongst KHL defencemen … A strong pre-season continued for Semyon Der-Arguchintsev when he ripped a shot over Montembeault’s left shoulder late within the second … Brett Seney scored the Leafs’ sixth purpose early within the third, shortly after serving a minor and after getting the puck from Semyonov … There received’t be spots for each bubble-Leaf who has confirmed nicely the previous couple of weeks. Forwards Michael Amadio and Kurtis Gabriel may fall into that class … Arduous to place into phrases how nice it’s to have followers again within the constructing. Apologies, canned noise, however you don’t examine to the true factor.



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