AVALANCHE (10-15-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (11-10-5)
7:00 pm (SN)
This is a game that shall decide the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs and it’s legion of fans for all eternity !!!
Ok, pump the brakes. I get that it is a huge game to see if the Leafs can somehow jump back into the NHL Playoffs race but let us be honest, this is still all about growth and learning to play ‘the right way’.
Coming off an emotional victory on the road versus a dreaded nemesis in Boston, the Maple Leafs will start none other than Antoine Bibeau in net for this evenings contest. Sorry, what?
Yes he of the up and down performances in the AHL, started out damn hot and then cooled off again before the call up, is about to be judged by the entire Leafs Nation on this one start. Big framed, and a solid blocking style goalie, he is certainly not of the pedigree that is our normal #1 (Frederik Andersen) but quite honestly he is the best we have in the system right now.
Coming off of a massive effort against the Bruins last night, Coach Mike Babcock told the media post game that Antoine Bibeau would be his starter versus the Avs.
The same Avalanche team took it on the yap last night against the hated Canadiens losing the game 10-1. Now any hockey fan will tell you, a team that loses that badly in a previous game is a group that should be feared. I will not argue this logic because Professional hockey players hate losing, but even worst they hate being EMBARRASSED and that is exactly what happened to the Avalanche.
Goaltending and opposition mindset aside, there were a few outstanding efforts last night in Boston by the men dressed in Blue and White.
First, William Nylander answered the challenged issued by Coach Babcock and turned in one of his best games of the season and certainly since his October–Rookie of the Month days. Only registering a single assist, the young Leafer displayed the type of effort and attention to detail that is expected of him in his career going forward. It was one game, I hope he can continue this one for a much longer stretch.
Secondly, Matt Hunwick put on a very solid effort in his own end of the rink last night in Beantown. The much maligned blueliner has taken his fair share of criticism but answered the bell registering two assists and leading the team in ice-time with 25:35 against the best the Bruins could put out against him. ‘Huns’ started off the season slowly but is certainly playing better of late and having another REAL player in the Top 4 D would be a massive bonus to Babcock and the rest of the team as the season rolls along.
So there we have it Leafs fans. Game night in the Tdot.
Personally, I am cheering for another Leafs victory this evening. Tonite it is time for a team to rally around a Rookie Goaltender and steal one for him, just like the Veteran goalie did for the team last night.
Go Leafs Go !!
Projected Line Combinations
Toronto Maple Leafs
Komarov — Kadri — Nylander
Hyman — Matthews — Brown
van Riemsdyk– Bozak — Marner
Martin — Smith — Soshnikov
Reilly — Zaitsev
Gardiner — Carrick
Bourque — Mackinnon — Comeau
Landeskog — Soderberg — Grigorenko
Duchene — Mitchell — Rantanen
Martinsen — Colborne — Iginla
Zadorov — Barrie
Wiercioch — Tyutin
Beauchemin — Goloubef
Mike Babcock — Morning Skate — 12/11/2016