You have to be careful reading too much into any preseason game, given the number of non-NHL players on the ice (and there were many in this one).
But one thing that was clearly evident from Tuesday night's ugly outing by the Toronto Maple Leafs was that their top unit of Joffrey Lupul, Tim Connolly and Phil Kessel has some work to do if they're going to be the so-called first line this season.
The Leafs lost 4-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers in a game in which Toronto had more than a few issues throughout the lineup, but it was hard not to pick out the team's 0-for-8 showing on the power play in 12:15 minutes of play with the man advantage.
Leading the way among the forwards in PP ice time, meanwhile, was those three, with Kessel playing 7:33, Connolly 6:26 and Lupul 4:51 and obviously coming up empty.
The chemistry simply wasn't there - not that that's a huge surprise this early in the proceedings.
"They struggled a bit tonight," coach Ron Wilson said. "That's going to take some time to get some chemistry and find the timing out there. The other issue's getting the puck [from the defence] ... Tonight, we didn't move the puck well out of our end so then it kind of hindered the forwards from ever looking really good."
As for the man advantage as a whole, Wilson didn't like what he saw there, either.
"In fairness, those guys only practised for 10 minutes today the power play," Wilson said of his team. "We've got to get a little more out of some of our veterans, a little more focus and attention on the details. It'll work if they apply themselves. Tonight, we didn't really get that."
"We were not very good tonight," added Luke Schenn. "Even though it is preseason, there's no excuses. They didn't have their best lineup in and they were still the way better team."
A few other notes from the night:
- Nazem Kadri was one of the better Leafs on the night, again earning praise from Wilson: "I'm quite pleased with what he's doing. He's making pretty good, smart decisions with the puck. He's a bit of a pest at times ... And on the power play, really distributes the puck well. I don't know if he'll find a spot on that one unit ... but in this evaluation period, he's done what he needs to do."
At this point, it seems incredibly unlikely Kadri doesn't make the team. Even if he's only going to contribute 40-45 points on the third line, that's 40-45 points Toronto needs this season (and that no one else below him on the depth chart can likely give them).
- Schenn, who will likely play again Wednesday, enjoyed the experience of playing against his brother, Brayden: "I thought he played pretty well ... I tried to get his attention, get him to look over a few times and he was all business. Obviously you want your own team to be on top, but at the same time, you want him to do well."
- Wilson offered some kudos for defenceman Mike Komisarek, who was on a pairing with Cody Franson and is desperately fighting to remain in the team's top six. "Komo I thought played really well. It's good for his confidence going forward. I think we're deep on defence and these games are about evaluation."
- The coach also said he feels Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin are still struggling to deal with the deaths of some of their friends back home in Russia. Both attended the funeral of former Leaf Igor Korolev on the weekend and knew several others killed in the plane crash in Yaroslavl earlier this month.
- The Leafs get right back into things with their third game in three nights on Wednesday, this time in a rematch with Philadelphia in Philadelphia.