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).
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.
Scrivens was clearly the sharper goalie at camp; he’s played 47 games, including 4 in the NHL, since Reimer last played 302 days ago
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 19, 2013
Here is the starting lineup for the Habs, via JohnLuTSNMtl
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!