MAPLE LEAFS (21-28-10) @ CANADIENS (29-27-5)
7:00 pm (HNIC)
Imagine you’re in a movie theatre waiting to see a movie that, in your opinion, is going to be the movie of the year. You show up early, get to your seat, look up, and see the little trivia game on the screen. So you play along. It’s not amazing, but it’s SOMEthing to help pass the time until you get to see what you really want.
Tonight’s game is just that. The thing you watch to help pass the time until the big event on Monday.
Don’t get me wrong. Most (if not all) of us love the age-old rivalry of the Leafs/Habs but this one is definitely different, isn’t it? Something about the combination of the time of year, and a game between two basement-dwelling rivals doesn’t really peak the interest that it normally would.
Now, with the big changes this past year, Leafs fans have become somewhat accustomed to the team dominating the headlines more than usual. However, one brief glimpse into the headlines lately will show you a different sort of story: the dumpster fire that is the Montreal Canadiens.
The Habs are a team that is seemingly past being able to do much more than just flounder, and the awkward divide between players and coach is akin to two ex-lovers that have both been forced into the wedding party of a mutual friend. The team is riddled with situations they are unable to make the best of. They’ve gone from buyers to sellers, they can’t seem to catch a break (the puck hit a baby? ‘Course it did because bad luck), and the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing (let’s re-call Bartley!). Habs fans are left with a team that is truly on a downward spiral, and they’re calling for blood (#FireTherrien!).
While the vast majority of Leafs fans are sitting there smiling at their misfortunes like the cat that ate the canary, one can’t help but feel a slight tinge of pity for the fans that were so hopeful for the playoffs at the beginning of the season, only to be left feeling helpless as they watched their team sink lower and lower into oblivion. We know those feels, bro’s. We’ve been there.
And while the Scrivens/Condon tandem are doing their best between the pipes in the absence of Price, the rest of the team have fallen short both offensively and defensively in trying to compensate.
The Leafs on the other hand have been doing exactly what they should be. Working hard, showing improvement and progressing where able, and hanging out in the basement ‘That 70’s Show’ style, waiting for their buddy Auston. This reference would have been a slam dunk had his name been Ashton Matthews, but I digress.
With roster moves, injuries galore, and mysterious disappearances (seriously, where IS Robidas?), the plethora of Marlies call-ups have recently provided us with the chance to glimpse into what eventually will be. Hold on to that positive, excited feeling however, because this isn’t a Marlies game. It’s a Leafs game, it might be a stinker, and probably one that on the whole, is abysmal offensively.
With much of Montreal’s top defense corps out (Petry now out for the season, and Beaulieu out 2-3 weeks), and after trading two-time 20-goal scorer Tomas Fleischmann, and winger Dale Weise to Chicago yesterday, I could almost see Toronto squeaking out a win here – and with the return of Uncle Leo…they just might. But for those of you that are on-board TankNation, don’t fret because I wouldn’t count Montreal out just yet. They’re still plucky, it’s the day after a trade, they always bring their best when it comes to Toronto, and they’re at home. I’m taking the Habs to win (just the home, not the home+), and also going with the under (o/u set at 5.0).
That said, hold onto your hats boys and girls, the boys in blue are headed to the ol’ PQ, for what promises to be an interesting game. And hey, Trade Deadline Day is only 2 days away!
.@MapleLeafs acquire G Alex Stalock, F Ben Smith & conditional 2018 4th-round pick from San Jose Sharks for G James Reimer & F Jeremy Morin.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 27, 2016
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 27, 2016
After 10 years with the Leafs organization Thank You to Leafs Nation for your love and support Xoxo Excited for a new adventure in San Jose!
— April Reimer (@april_reimer) February 27, 2016
Leafs Hub Staff Writer Peter Baracchini breaks down the news here
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Michael Grabner – Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov
Josh Leivo – Mark Arcobello – PA Parenteau
Colin Greening – Peter Holland – Daniel Winnik
Brendan Leipsic – Byron Froese – Brad Boyes
Matt Hunwick – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Martin Marincin
Stuart Percy – Frank Corrado
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Michael McCarron
Paul Byron – Jacob De La Rose – Devante Smith-Pelly
Sven Andrighetto – Phillip Danault – Torrey Mitchell
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Greg Pateryn
Victor Bartley – Mark Barberio