MAPLE LEAFS (8-8-3) at DEVILS (9-6-3)
7:00 pm (SN)
November 23rd is not a day that will be remembered by many in a historical sense- there are no great battles, no infamous deaths..in fact the handful of facts I did find were enough to lull me to sleep (hey, in 1248 The city of Seville, Spain, surrenders to Ferdinand III of Castile after a two-year siege, wow!!).
The Leafs-Devils match-up tonight does not promise to change the tone of this historically boring day. I’m not sure that anyone has ever looked at the calendar and said “Oh, we’re playing the Devils tonight, I can’t wait! It’s going to be an exciting game!” Even when we played them in an elimination playoff game in 2000, we couldn’t even get excited enough to shoot on net more than 6 times. In past years, the most exciting thing about playing the Devils was maybe Scott Stevens would hit someone and/or Marty Brodeur would make your best players look like amateurs.
The modern day Devils are a respectable 2nd place for the Wild Card slot in the East with a 9-6-3, so even their record is a boring math nerd equation. They were spanked on Monday night by the Sharks in a lackluster 4-0 performance, their third loss in a row after a promising 5-game win streak. They are showing the ups and downs of a team who hasn’t quite hit their stride, sound familiar Toronto fans?
New Jersey is feeling the pinch of losing their top scorer, Taylor Hall, to a knee injury; expected out up to 4 weeks, putting some added pressure on guys like Zajac, Parenteau and Cammalleri to fill in that scoring gap. The Devils will, however be playing at home, which is where they seem to be hiding their lucky clover; they have yet to lose a game in regulation on home ice this season so far; throw in the fact that the Leafs have been struggling heavily on the road, with only 1 regulation win so far and you’ve got a pretty good idea of where the odds makers are leaning prior to puck drop.
So, we have a Devils team who is strong on home ice, missing their star scorer and eager to bounce back after a nasty shutout loss and a Leafs team who can’t get it together on the road, balanced rookie scoring and just played a total Tuesday snooze-fest against the Carolina Hurricanes aka Xanax on skates. Tonight’s matchup is not exactly the Thrilla in Manilla and is not promising to be a fast paced scoring fest of a nice rivalry game like Montreal, Ottawa or Boston.
So, to liven things up for this mid-week nap, I shall put on my swami hat (it’s a towel with cat hair on it) and I shall make my mystical predictions for the game; each time I get one right, you have to do a shot (must be over 19 year of age, please drink responsibly):
- One of the commentators will refer to New Jersey as “The Swamp”
- Auston Matthews will have 1.37 billion amazing chances that are foiled by, what can only be described as, acts of god (or acts of dog for my dyslexic fans out there).
- Due to an audio malfunction during the game, Chris Cuthbert will hear his own commentary and immediately punch himself in the trachea.
- Mitch Marner, upon taking the ice for the anthem, will be asked to leave by the ref, who mistakes him for a pee wee hockey player who won a contest to skate with an NHL team during warm-up.
- The affiliates will show the same 3 commercials every single break. The Leafs have one of the biggest, consistent viewership bases, yet they only ever seem to have 2-3 sponsors at any given game.
- The Leafs will take an annoying penalty behind the play in the first period that nobody noticed until the replay.
- The commentators will try to pretend as though anybody gives a crap about the Grey Cup.
- Cory Schneider will be forced to sit on the bench for the entire game when it is revealed that he is secretly 4 ferrets in a hockey jersey.
- Elliot Friedman’s increasingly flamboyant suits and haircuts will cause half-man/half-ape Nick Kypreos to have a mental meltdown whereby he kidnaps Kelly Hrudy and absconds to his tree house with his new jungle bride.
- William Nylander will realize that his Abba-tribute-band good looks enables him to block shots by looking at the pucks with Zoolander’s signature “Magnum” look.
This is where most people would post the projected lineups for the game, however I’ve never really found this information all that useful. Instead, here are my projected plot lines for Game of Thrones:
- Khaleesi and Jon Snow meet and discover their true backgrounds
- Jamie kills Cersei
- Sansa totally bones Littlefinger….(can I say ‘bones’..?)
- Samwell finds a way to defeat the whitewalkers
- Tyrion drinks a lot.
- People continue not to care what is happening in Dorne.
Projected Line Combinations
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs are also not expected to switch much up from last night
Hyman (hee hee) — Matthews — Nylander
Van Riemsdyk — Bozak — A bottle of Nivea shampoo — Marner
Komarov — Kadri — Brown (not Connor, James Brown)
Martin — Smith — Soshnikov
Reilly — Zaitsev
Hunlak — Niklas Lidstrom (don’t ya wish?)
Gardiner — Carrick
Freddy Andersen (aka Mister Andersen…he’s Neo)
Not in the line up
Lupul (who the hell cares)
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
OK fine…New Jersey is not projecting any changes from Monday
Bennett — Zajac — Parenteau — A Giant Rabbit
Boucher — Henrique — Lappin
Josefson — Zacha — Smith-Pelly
Kalinin — Fiddler — Pietila
Greene — Severson
Lovejoy — Gandalf — Merrill
Quincey — Moore
Cory Schneider (until the ferrets come out)
Not in the line up
Palmieri (upper body)
GAME ON WAYNE! GAME ON GARTH!
Mike Babcock — Post Game — 11/22/2016