MAPLE LEAFS (1-3-2) at CANADIENS (8-0-0)
7:00pm – Bell Centre (CBC, TVA Sports)
Well, here we go again, already!
Toronto/Montreal games are almost always exciting from the perspective of those that appreciate the intense rivalry. It promises to be gritty, hard-hitting, and rife with bitterness between the players and fan bases alike.
Match-ups between these two teams used to be called a “clash of the Titans,” and with Montreal’s momentum in full swing, they are certainly worthy of that title. With the Leafs off to an expected/anticipated slow start, they’re more like David, in “David vs Goliath.” Either way, this game promises to be nothing short of a difficult one for the Buds, and they have their work cut out for them.
Toronto has dropped 8 of their last 10 regular season starts vs Montreal and with Carey Price expected as the starter, it promises to be a low scoring game – at least on our end. If you’re a betting man/woman, I’d recommend taking the H+ for this game, or at the very least, the under.
That’s not to say that I’m being a defeatist and that the Leafs will lie down for this game. As a fan, you can always tell. You can watch and notice a lackluster performance where it’s easily identifiable that their hearts aren’t in it, or that they truly don’t seem to be trying. This is never the case against Montreal. Even if the Leafs are handed the L, even if it’s a blowout, it’s never for lack of trying, and that’s why these games are so exciting to watch.
For the realistic yet hopeful group of Leafs fans clamoring for SOMEthing, a game like this usually DOES mean an expected loss, but if we can somehow manage to show some improvement and potentially squeeze a point out of it, we’re relatively happy.
Now, news is great. New things to talk about are fantastic.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with a rebuild is that there is nothing that’s REALLY “new” in terms of what we need. We know what pieces are missing, we know what needs to be done and we know the areas that we need to improve in.
“Goalies still haven’t found their groove!”
“Defense aren’t working as a team!””
“Forwards/core/no one is producing like they should!”
This is about being patient and waiting to watch the hard work that’s being put in, that leads to the improvement we’re hoping/looking for.
So with patience in mind, I’d like to defer from pointing out fault after fault, and instead offer one of each of my likes and dislikes – both of which can be applied this Saturday.
Dropping close games.
It’s early in the season, so there’s time to get in front of this. This is something that is EXTREMELY important to address, and we’ve seen a one-goal loss already vs Ottawa and Buffalo. Games where we’re down by one goal are must-wins, and the Leafs need to hunker down and find a way to pull out all of the stops and get it done. While it’s easier to stomach the OTL (“hey, at least we got a point!”) it isn’t easy to stomach a situation like oh, let’s say…Islanders/Devils…1 point…playoff miss.
That’s all I’ll say about that.
I liken Uncle Leo to the movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” A cult favorite that seemingly came out of nowhere that you fell in love with. And if you didn’t love it, you found it to be at the very least entertaining in its own way. Although it is early, Corporal Komarov is certainly someone I would go into battle with. As a Jack of all trades, not only is he currently leading the team in goals, he drives possession and had a game-high seven hits vs Pittsburgh last Saturday.
Yes, it’s early in the season, and yes I do expect a loss against the Habs. Like many of us have said already, what we’re really only looking for is improvement, maybe some entertainment and good, gritty hockey – which I guarantee we will see this game.
Toronto Maple Leafs
GF (5v5) – 10
GA (5v5) – 10
CF% (5v5) – 51.6
PP% – 12.5
PK% – 79.2
GF (5v5) – 19
GA (5v5) – 5
CF% (5v5) – 51.5
PP% – 19.4
PK% – 89.3
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov
Mathias – Froese – Boyes
Winnik – Spaling – Lupul
Grabner – Arcobello – Parenteau
Hunwick – Phaneuf
Harrington – Rielly
Marincin – Polak
Pacioretti – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Semin
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1948 – Hap Day’s Leafs get off to a rocky start as they drop their third of four contests to begin the 1948-1949 season. On this night, the Red Wings featuring a young Gordie Howe outworked the Leafs to a 2-1 victory in Detroit.
- 1974 – Right-winger Jamal Mayers was born in Toronto. He tallied 24 points through 115 games with his hometown Leafs.
- 1976 – Centre Clarke Wilm was born in Central Butte, Saskatchewan. He recorded 8 points throughout 70 games in his Maple Leafs career.
- 1984 – Former Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson was born in Danderyd, Sweden.
- 1984 – Leafs hammer the Red Wings 6-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens to end a four game losing streak. Funny that the only two NHL teams Gustavsson has played for, played on the day he was born!
- 2005 – Leafs pick up their first ever shootout victory as they downed the Bruins 5-4 at the ACC. Bryan McCabe led the offense with a goal and an assist, while Ed Belfour stopped 49 of 53 shots…not bad for a 40 year old!
- 2009 – Leafs go winless through their first eight contests of the season as the Canucks thump the Buds 3-1 in Vancouver. Niklas Hagman scored the lone Leaf goal while future Leafs players Mason Raymond (2 goals) and Michael Grabner (2 assists) led the Vancouver offense.
Babcock on Froese: “Got a good opportunity, playing in Montreal, they’re 8-0, it’s yout 1st game in the NHL, I think it’s a good deal.”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 24, 2015