BRUINS(1-0-0) at MAPLE LEAFS(0-0-1)
Your undefeated Toronto Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins tonight at the ACC.
This is HOW the Game Day Report should have started, but alas overtime is our nemesis when you cannot keep the puck out of your net.
After an incredible debut in the Blue and White uniform, Auston Matthews and his teammates take on the repugnant savages from Boston in the home opener of the Centennial season for our team.
Matthews, 19 years young, scored a historic four (yes 4) goals in the opening game versus the Senators in Ottawa. Sadly, while Superman was doing his thing the veterans of the team (Aquaman Bozak and Robin Kadri) were not producing on their lines to contribute to a victory.
There will be a massive pre-game ceremony at the ACC to honour the history of this storied franchise, and the great players that have donned our uniform over that period of time. Ensure you plan accordingly for all of these wonderful memories, and quite possibly a delay in puck drop. Please don’t make us suffer for too long.
If the young Leafs club (youngest in the NHL this season according to mathlete Mirtle) want to win two points on this fall Saturday evening, we will have to cover a few points.
First, Goaltending. Giving up five goals to the Ottawa Senators is NEVER acceptable. I don’t care if both goalies get the flu and Marner puts on the goalie gear. Fredrik Andersen is still getting into game shape after suffering an early summer shoulder injury. He looks slow to get into proper positions and appears to drop early into his butterfly. I have nothing but the utmost confidence in the 6’5 monster (different monster, trust me) and fully expect him to have a bounce back performance.
Secondly, the veterans of the club must step up. When you have the Rookies of this team leading the way in the opening game of the season, to me this speaks volumes. Players like (fresh contract) Kadri, Bozak and JVR absolutely must be better than they were versus the Sens. Their games looked pathetic in comparison to the kids of this team, and hopefully those guys can step up to be true leaders. I have some reservations about those three in particular moving forward, but let me be wrong. Just once.
Next is the continued stellar play of the kids. While Matthews has been discussed ad nauseum (and with just cause), a player who didn’t get many accolades but should was William Nylander. Solid performance along side his young American linemate, the Calgary born Swede, looked strong in his skating and his shot is heavy to say the least. I look for Nylander to get his first of the year vs the Bruins. I truly believe that Mitch Marner will also score his first goal of the season. Coach Mike Babcock commented that Marner was the best player on the ice in the first half of the game in Ottawa. I agree wholeheartedly. That is exactly the type of debut I was hoping for by another 19 year old, but was nervous to see if he could actually pull it off. Fear not. He can and he will continue to get better.
Finally, you cannot keep the puck out of your net when the defencemen were as terrible as they were in game #1. Poor turnovers, poor decision making and poor overall play would be the synopsis of that group against the Senators. In order for this team to move to a .500 record, guys like Marty Marincin and Jake ‘just needs more time’ Gardiner will have to step up their game. Handling the puck like a grenade with the pin pulled isn’t allowing the forwards any opportunities to clear the zone, especially when the puck never makes it into their general vicinity.
Need a win to get the confidence going, and I believe there is no better way to start our Centennial season at home with a win versus the Bruins.
Go get us two points, boys.
Toronto Maple Leafs
van Riemsdyk — Bozak — Marner
Michalek — Kadri — Komarov
Hyman — Matthews — Nylander
Martin — Holland — Brown
Marincin — Rielly
Gardiner — Carrick
Hunwick — Zaitsev
Marchand — Backes — Pastrnak
Spooner — Krejci — Heinen
Beleskey — Czarnik — Hayes
Moore — Nash — Acciari
Chara — Carlo
Krug — O’Gara
Liles — Miller