Toronto Maple Leafs vs Columbus Blue Jackets
7:00pm – Nationwide Arena (TSN 4)
It’s Been Way Too Long
The Leafs have not been in action for what seemed like an eternity. During that time, the boys of summer stole our hearts and made some noise. Some players saw the atmosphere across town, and now the boys of winter want to try and get the city’s attention.
What a week it has been for Toronto sports. First the Blue Jays win an emotional Game 5 in the ALDS on Wednesday to complete the dramatic comeback, and then the TFC made the MLS playoffs for the first time ever.
And through it all, the Maple Leafs did not play a single game and were forced to watch from the sidelines a charged up city not rooting for them. Maybe that’s for the best though, because now they can focus on the task at hand, which is to play a sound game under the Babcock system.
Playing under this new system to perfection won’t happen overnight, and the early results prove that. Throughout the first three games of the season, we have seen two completely different teams and glimpses of what this season may have in store for us fans.
The first team was the strong overall effort put forth in games 1 and 3, which showcased a solid defensive team that takes a ton of shots while controlling the play most of the time.
The second team was the lackluster performance from last Friday against the Detroit Red Wings, where the team was in panic mode throughout and could not spend more than thirty seconds in the offensive zone before turning it over and leaving the goalies to defend themselves.
It has essentially been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of season so far, and one can only hope that we see a Dr. Jekyll type performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets while maintaining the play demonstrated against the Ottawa Senators last Saturday.
These Blue Jackets cannot be taken lightly, as they have started the season 0-4-0 and just came off an embarrassing 7-3 loss this Wednesday. The Leafs will meet a team with zero confidence and desperate for something good to happen to them in the early going. If the Leafs don’t come the rink focused and prepared for the battle ahead, the game could quickly get out of hand on the score sheet and will put the team in a sour mood when they head to Pittsburgh Saturday night. As long as they play to the system and can keep the pressure on early, the Leafs will have a good chance to win.
With James Reimer being the expected starter in this one, it is yet another opportunity for him to prove to coach Babcock that he is worthy of claiming the number one job in net. In the early going, it seems he has the edge over Jonathan Bernier and has played a stronger game between the pipes in his two appearances thus far (Statistically and mentally). While Bernier has let in some sloppy goals in his last two appearances, Reimer has held the fort down and kept his team in the game (despite allowing 5 goals total so far). Consistently strong efforts have been shown by Reimer game in and game out. If Reims gets the nod tonight, and does well, it could put Bernier’s future with the team in doubt.
Satisfying all of these two task won’t matter if the Leafs can’t find offense from their go-to guys. Nazem Kadri (Who almost caught Jose Bautista’s historic home-run on Wednesday), James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul, and Brad Boyes among others will be looked upon to fill the basket with apples, as it has only been filled with 5 of them up to this point. While many knew the Leafs would have a hard time producing now that Phil Kessel is gone, there are more than enough solid options to score and that need to come to light in this game if the Leafs want to stay in it.
Shawn Matthius will return to the lineup from his injury tonight after missing out last Saturday on a day-to-day shoulder injury. Martin Marincin will likely sit in favour of Scott Harrington, but still no word as to when Frank Corrado will make his Leafs debut.
The Maple Leafs will be over shadowed by the Blue Jays magical playoff run these next two games, tonight and Saturday should be fun for Toronto sports fans everywhere. I know my “Back” button on my remote will get quite the work out tonight.
as per @HennyTweets
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Bozak – Komarov
Mathias – Kadri – Boyes
Grabner – Holland – Parenteau
Winnik – Spaling – Lupul
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Rielly – Hunwick
Harrington – Polak
Columbus Blue Jackets
Saad – Johansen – Foligno
Jenner – Dubinsky – Bourque
Hartnell – Karlsson – Atkinson
Calvert – Campbell – Clarkson
Johnson – Savard
Tyutin – Prout
Murray – Goloubef
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1904 – Left-winger Stew Adams was born in Calgary, Alberta. He played 19 games for the Buds during the 1932-1933 season.
- 1947 – Winger Tom Martin was born in Toronto. He played his whole NHL career with the Leafs, finishing with one goal through three games during the 1967-1968 season.
- 1955 – Former Leafs winger Wilf Paiement was born in Earlton, Ontario. He is the only player in club history to sport the #99. Paiement still holds a club record for most points by a right-winger in a season as he tallied up 97 points during the 1980-1981 campaign. #PhilKesselWho
- 1968 – Leafs rookie defenseman Jim Dorey sets a club record in his NHL debut as he picked up nine separate penalties in one game! This record still stands to this day.
- 1971 – Hall of Famer Norm Ullman picked up his 1000th career point in a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers. He is the first player (fourth player in NHL history) in Leafs history to reach that milestone.
- 1974 – Leafs ship Garry Monahan and John Grisdale to Vancouver in exchange for defenseman Dave Dunn.
- 1976 – In a 5-5 draw with the Flyers, Lanny MacDonald set a club record as he scored three goals within 2 minutes and 54 seconds.
- 1981 – Leafs send forward Pat Hickey to the New York Rangers in exchange for a 5th round draft pick (Sylvain Charland) in the 1982 draft.
- 1989 – Leafs acquire defenseman Tom Kurvers from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a first round draft pick in 1991. This pick would be used to select future Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. Current Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello still hasn’t stopped smiling over that deal.
- 2001 – Leafs roll into Edmonton and walk away with a 4-1 victory. Corson, Tucker and Hoglund would pick up a goal and an assist each!
- 2003 – Leafs pick up a point in a 2-2 tie with the New Jersey Devils. Surprisingly, this was the last time the Leafs played a game on October 16th!
We could listen to this man talk all day….