LGD – Game 27: Leafs @ Canadiens – Rearview Mirror

Just about everything that can go wrong did go wrong in November, so I guess it’s good news that the Maple Leafs finally wrap up November. They’re still 14-9-3 (or 14-12 in real life) and can be no lower than the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after tonight. I think that as much as their success last season was overstated, I think that determining the Maple Leafs have already hit their demise at the end of November is premature.

The Leafs end their month, and this three-game road trip, with a game in Montreal tonight against Le Club Hockey. I have no interest in re-hashing the Leafs issues, so today’s LGD is just going to be fun.

KEY STATISTICS

  Canadiens Leafs
Corsi Close % 49.9% (15th) 42.8% (29th)
5v5 GF/60 1.85 (24th) 2.13 (19th)
5v5 GA/60 1.70 (3rd) 1.98 (9th)
PDO 100.8 (9th) 102.8 (2nd)
     
  Canadiens Leafs
5v4 GF/60 7.78 (7th) 8.49 (4th)
5v4 SF/60 57.2 (10th) 59.9 (5th)
4v5 GA/60 5.29 (7th) 6.45 (16th)
4v5 SA/60 49.2 (12th) 62.4 (26th)
Penalty Differential +7 (7th) -23 (29th)

via ExtraSkater and NHL

Gotta post these. The Canadiens are one of the few teams that allow fewer goals than the Maple Leafs, and while the Leafs have fallen off recently, they’re still 9th in the NHL in goals against per 60 minutes. The Leafs big issue has been giving up goals on the PK, and they’ve fallen all the way down to 16th, getting some absurdly bad luck on the PK recently. That, combined with the stopping of good luck, has made the Leafs recent PK issues look way worse than they are.

You may be wondering “how the heck is there a team in the NHL that has a worse penalty differential than Toronto?” I don’t have an answer for this, but Ottawa is at -25.

LEAFS LINES

via DailyFaceoff:

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Mason Raymond – Nazem Kadri – David Clarkson
Carter Ashton – Jay McClement – Nikolai Kulemin
Frazer McLaren – Jerred Smithson – Colt Knorr

Dion Phaneuf – Carl Gunnarsson
Mark Fraser – Cody Franson
Paul Ranger – Morgan Rielly

Chris Johnston suggested that the lines could look different tonight. Also, wasn’t Fraser-Franson the *third* pairing last seas—mmphh [/is dragged off by hired goons]

CANADIENS LINES

Also per DailyFaceoff:

Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Brandon Prust
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Danny Briere – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Michael Bournival – Ryan White – George Parros

Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Josh Gorges
Douglas Murray – Raphael Diaz

Subban is a good defenceman. Very, very good. His defence is remarkably underrated. As a whole, he is underrated, because not every hockey person thinks PK Subban is the best.

Subban is however, offset because Douglas Murray may be as bad as Subban is good.

RIVALRY NOTE

I’d known that Ambrose O’Brien was the original owner of the Montreal Canadiens, but Stephen Harper in his book has a real interesting theory about the Habs and Leafs histories in his book:

How incomprehensible it would be to the average fan of the Leafs or the Habs to discover that these seemingly eternal adversaries are descended from a common ancestor.

Certainly, nobody mentioned this when the Montreal Canadiens proudly celebrated the centennial of their 1909 birth a few years ago. Long glossed over is the fact that the original les Canadiens franchise became dormant in 1910 and was then sold by the O’Briens in 1911. Nevertheless it is, in strict legal terms, a fact.

More awkward yet is that, while a new Canadiens team was established in 1910, the original entity went to, of all places, Toronto. In other words, the Canadiens were created by the Renfrew family, awarded first to Montreal and then sold to Toronto. It is easy to see why the Habs stick to a simple story—that the are the original Canadiens even if, strictly speaking, they really are not.

[edited for style]

This is heresy to mention, yes?

STARTING GOALIES

(and a paragraph as useful as most goalie statistics)

Jonathan Bernier James Reimer Somebody versus Carey Price. The World Juniors were in Vancouver in 2005-06, so there was a lot of buzz about the roster. The rumour was that Carey Price, picked 5th overall by the Canadiens the previous summer, was cut because he was the only goalie to miss an optional practice during camp. The Canadiens instead went with Devan Dubnyk and Justin Pogge.

Of course, it’s also speculated that Pogge’s performance at that tournament is what inspired John Ferguson Jr. to determine that Pogge was a better “goalie of the future” than Tuukka Rask, and traded Rask for Andrew Raycroft.

Friggin Price. Why didn’t he just go to that practice?

The Leafs and the Canadiens play at 7 on CBC, as is tradition. Don’t forget to Streakcred.