Ottawa Senators vs Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00pm – ACC (CBC)
So, unless you live under a rock or for some reason haven’t bothered to watch the first two games of the Toronto Maple Leafs 2015-16 season, you know that the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde team has returned to town.
In the opening night of the season, the Leafs, despite losing to the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 and lacking a scoring touch, were buzzing all night dominating play in all 3 zones and controlling the momentum for the better part of the night.
In last night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, the ‘other’ team showed up to play. There was lack of interest from the veterans for the majority of the night as well as a pretty nonchalant effort from just about everyone on the ice in a blue uniform. As far as the goaltending goes, I would say Bernier was lackluster in his play before getting pulled, but that would be giving him too much credit.
That takes me to tonight’s match-up and what is known as the “Battle of Ontario”. Funny thing is that, for the last 7 or 8 seasons, it hasn’t really been much of a battle on the ice as much as it has been a battle for the fans’ eyelids to stay open until the final buzzer. What a shame really if you consider the great rivalry these teams had in the early 2000’s when both teams were both a lock for the playoffs every year and always ended up giving both fan bases a great round of playoff hockey.
J. Reimer gets the nod tonight for the Maple Leafs as originally planned, but could end up getting more starts going forward depending on his play tonight and due to Bernier’s pretty awful first couple of games. In goal for the Senators will be C. Anderson who looked fantastic in his first outing of the season against Buffalo where he looked almost unbeatable except for the lone goal by J. Eichel which was a thing of beauty. Hey Bernier, if you’re reading this, go watch that Ott/Buff game and take notes; that’s how the number one goalie is expected to play every night.
The Blue and White will have a tough go tonight as the Senators top players K. Turris and B. Ryan have both looked solid throughout camp and against the Sabres in game one. Seeing that Babcock and Co. have given the starting spot to Bernier to start the season despite him not looking good at all in his first couple of games including last night’s stinker where he allowed 3 goals on 9 shots, it will be Reimer’s opportunity to shine and steal the number one spot right from under Bernier’s nose tonight, and he has to make this game count because if he comes out flat tonight, I can’t really see him getting another look for a while. I know that seems crazy considering how bad Bernier’s been playing, but we have to keep in mind Reimer is playing on an expiring contract and his rope has a lot less slack at the end of it as his counterpart who’s got a fresh 2 year deal.
The Leafs really need their ‘top’ guys Nazem Kadri, Dion Phaneuf, James Van Reemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul to wake up and get going here in game 3. There has been much talk about these guys getting into better shape, being ready for a new season, giving it their all and being leaders on and off the ice. They’ve had 2 games to shake off the cobwebs of a long summer (which is their own fault might I add). Now it’s go time.
There’s been confirmation from Mike Babcock that both Michael Grabner and Roman Polak will make their season debuts tonight, but there’s been no word yet as to the possibly of Frankie Corrado getting into tonight’s game.
Mike Hoffman – Kyle Turris – Mark Stone
Curtis Lazar – Mika Zibanejad – Bobby Ryan
Clarke MacArthur – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Milan Michalek
Alex Chiasson – Zack Smith – Chris Neil
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Patrick Wiercioch – Cody Ceci
Jared Cowen – Mark Borowiecki
Toronto Maple Leafs
James van Riemsdyk – Nazem Kadri – Brad Boyes
Shawn Matthias – Tyler Bozak – Joffrey Lupul
Leo Komarov – Peter Holland – Michael Grabner
Daniel Winnik – Nick Spaling – PA Parenteau
Matt Hunwick – Dion Phaneuf
Roman Polak – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Scott Harrington
Today in Leafs History…..
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1930 – Leafs acquire future legend King Clancy from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Art Smith, Eric Pettinger and $35, 000. The Leafs’ Board of Directors would only pitch in $25, 000 and GM Conn Smythe was responsible for paying the remaining $10, 000. Luckily for ol’ Connie and Leafs Nation, he was able to obtain the funds through a longshot bet on his racehorse named “Rare Jewel.”
- 1962 – Leafs open the 1962-1963 season with a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. This was the last season in Leafs history in which the team finished 1st overall in the NHL.
- 1964 – Leafs host the 18th NHL All-Star game at Maple Leaf Gardens. As the reigning cup champions, the Buds would take on an all-star team composed of players from the other five NHL clubs. Unfortunately, the Leafs would lose a close game 3-2. Habs’ goalie Charlie Hodge would become the first ever goaltender to be handed a penalty during an All-Star game as he intentionally held the puck for too long.
- 1973 – Legendary Leaf Borje Salming makes his NHL debut in a 7-4 thrashing over the Buffalo Sabres. Salming would collect his first ever NHL assist on this night.
- 1981 – Borje Salming nets his first career hat trick in a thrilling 9-8 victory over Chicago. This was the Leafs’ home opener for the 1981-1982 season.
- 1996 – Leafs acquire centre Darby Hendrickson from the New York Islanders in exchange for a 5th round pick (Jiri Dopita) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
- 2002 – Leafs open the 2002-2003 season off with a bang as they crushed the Penguins 6-0 at the ACC. Mats Sundin picked up four points while Ed Belfour became the first Leafs goaltender to record a shutout in his club debut.
- 2013 – Leafs roll into Nashville and blank the Preds 4-0. Phil Kessel led the offense with three points while Jonathan Bernier stopped 36 shots for the shutout.