Leafs vs Habs: Game Day Preview

Steve Dangle
January 19 2013 12:29PM

 

 It's back!

Howdy, folks! Cam locked himself out of his house (I suspect Bettman did it) so I'll be giving you your Leafs pre-game blog. Here's a quick run-down of the essentials.

First off, here is tonight's opening night lineup (via twitter.com/jonasTSN1050).

Forwards

Lupul-Bozak-Kessel

MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin

van Riemsdyk-Kadri-Komarov

Brown-McClement-Orr

Steckel

Defence

Phaneuf-Kostka

Liles-Franson

Gunnarsson-Komisarek

Goalie

Scrivens (starting)

There's a few things that jump out right off the bat. There are no real surprises in the Leafs' top two lines. Those lines have been intact (barring injury or crippling losing streak) for a long time now.

The Leafs' third line however is a mish-mash of new faces. James van Riemsdyk makes his Leafs debut on the third line on the left wing. Remember when people thought he'd be Kessel and Lupul's centre? Kadri not only makes the Leafs' lineup, but he starts down the middle. Joining them is KHL-import Leo Komarov. After a solid showing with the Marlies earlier this season, Komarov played about a month in the KHL playing on a line with Ovechkin and Backstrom.

The Leafs' fourth line is strange. Jay McClement is supposed to be the Leafs' new defensive forward specialist, but he's playing with these guys. I would assume he won't be playing much 5-on-5 and be used as a PK specialist.

On defence, Mike Kostka is making his NHL debut on a pairing with Dion Phaneuf. Welcome to the league! In defence of the decision, Kostka has played a lot of hockey in the last calendar year, more importantly this season, and most who have followed him in the AHL seem to think the sun shines out of his butt.

And of course, Ben Scrivens gets the start. Let the ongoing goaltending comtroversy continue! While stronger performances in training camp likely helped Scrivens, this tweet sums up the decision the best.

Here is the starting lineup for the Habs, via JohnLuTSNMtl

Forwards

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole

Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Gionta

Moen-Eller-Bourque

Prust-White-Armstrong 

Defence

Markov-Emelin

Kaberle-Gorges

Bouillon-Diaz

Goalie

Price

Noteables in the Habs lineup include the obvious absense of PK Subban, who is still negociating his contract. 2012 third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk will make his NHL debut. On the Habs' fourth line in Colby Armstrong, who will be getting paid by both teams tonight thanks to his buyout.

Predicitions? Thoughts? Whatever. The Leafs are back!

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Steve Dangle has a YouTube channel with over 3 million views and is the co-host of the Steve Dangle Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud. Steve has also worked for CBC, the NHL Network, Leafs TV, Nike, the KHL, and most of all, the Toronto Zoo. stevedangle.com
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#1 Francesco Conforti
January 19 2013, 12:46PM
Trash it!
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How could I pick any other team but the Leafs in this one. The first two lines for both teams are about even, but the third line is where the Leafs take the strong advantage. I'd put Steckel in for Orr to get a faceoff specialist in there and we got the edge. The defense don't even compare, all the Habs have is Gorges. Goaltending is Montreal's only edge but don't expect a bad start from Scrivens either. Leafs win 4-2! Go Leafs Gooooo

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