LGD: Leafs Travel to Detroit for Red Wings Season Opener

In Toronto’s opening season loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, we saw what looked like a completely different Maple Leafs team than we watched last year. A strong possession game, an abandon of the dump-and-chase… A noticeable lack of skill and finish. We don’t expect this team to win a lot of games this season, but it’ll still be worth tuning in if this Mike Babcock team can but in the same consistent effort on a daily basis. 

Tonight, the Leafs travel to Detroit. While Babcock already returned to his longtime NHL home, this will be the first time the new Leafs coach visits during the regular season. The Red Wings are the better team, but not quite the same playoff juggernaut they’ve been in years past. Expect a good game.

The Leafs

Babcock is reportedly going with the same lineup he used in Wednesday night’s tilt, which means that a few new and familiar faces will have to wait a little longer to make their season debut. Michael Grabner, Frank Corrado, and Roman Polak will be in the press box tonight.

Lineups provided by DailyFaceoff.com

leafslineup

The Red Wings

You may have already seen him play in the preseason, but if you haven’t you really need to keep a close eye on Dylan Larkin. The 19-year old University of Michigan standout will make his NHL debut this evening on the top line on Henrik Zetterberg’s wing, and he’s seriously skilled. In fact, Toronto was thought to be very interested in Larkin at the 2014 Entry Draft but instead opted for William Nylander with the eighth overall pick.

On the injury front, you’ll notice that Pavel Datsyuk from the lineup below. Bad news for the Magician, good news for the Leafs.

Lineups provided by DailyFaceoff.com

redwingslineup

Starting Goalies

What to Watch For…

  • While Tyler Bozak led all Leafs forwards in ice time last game, Nazem Kadri was still the de facto number one centre. Anyone who lines up with Toronto’s most gifted offensive winger, James van Riemsdyk, is the top guy. It’s a big season for Kadri, so it’s good to see him playing with talented linemates. 
  • Jonathan Bernier wasn’t horrible last game, but he wasn’t terribly impressive either and gave up a soft goal on Montreal’s first shot. He’s the team’s starting goaltender, but if he falters tonight and James Reimer puts in a convincing performance tomorrow against Ottawa, that could all change.
  • Winnik-Spaling-Parenteau. Heck of a fourth line, considering what the Leafs have trotted out in recent seasons.
  • jasken

    Nice read and interesting opinions so Kadri is number 1 center because he plays with JVR and for that reason alone he is number 1.

    That’s like hoping Reimer is going to magically take Bernier’s starting job by winning 1 game and performing well.

    Those are some nice opinions but totally closed minded and untrue on both accounts. I dont mean to offend you but you need a better understanding on what it means to be the number 1 center and how a goalie is given a starting position.

    Number 1 centers are defined by their skills, and abilities not who the play with or where they play in the lineup. If a coach puts the number 1 center on the second line its to increase offensive scoring opportunities.

    If a coach says my starter is this goalie a couple bad games and a good performance by another will not change it will take alot more than that.

    • Gary Empey

      OK – sometimes the truth can really hurt..so here we go..

      This may very well be the worst Leaf team ever – not since 67 ..I mean ever! at least since the Busher Jackson days..Why you may ask..here is a quick anatomy..

      – no scoring ..NONE
      – no stars ..NONE
      – no Defense ..NONE
      – goal tending is mediocre at best

      Yes the Leafs may have acquired one of the best coaches in hockey – but simply put – coaches don’t score. So how many games will the Leafs win..

      MAYBE 25. And I am being generous..

      Maybe dig up ‘Busher…

  • Gary Empey

    Are those broadcasters being paid by Detoit. I have just listened to 2 periods of verbal garbage about the life story of every Redwing player. It is irritating enough being down 4-0 without having these guys telling me what superstars Detroit players are. I didn’t know Detroit’s new coach was found by Babcock in a manger in Bethlehem.

    Instead of reminding us just how brilliant Detroit is, why don’t they remind us how when they ran into a real team in the first round of last year’s playoffs, they folded up their tents and quietly slipped out of Motor City in the middle of the night?

  • jasken

    Sadly Bender this indeed will rank as one of the worst leaf teams of all time certainly as bad as the leaf teams of the mid 1950’s when I first became a leaf fan.

    But we knew this was coming. Phaneuf would be a year slower. Gardiner would skate miles but have trouble playing defence as he got schooled by the 19 year old kid Larkin. A typical great Detroit draft pick. Why the anger management kids would continue to debate two goalies who won’t be here in a couple of years is beyond me. I would suggest that 70% of this current roster will not be on the team in 3 or 4 years. So simply accept the bad hockey and hope and pray that unlike Edmonton the leafs with their gazillion management brain trusts can actually turn this sad sack franchise around.

    Rogers, Bell and Larry are going to take a financial bath just as they did in the second half of last season.

    I some times wonder if there is a massive curse against Toronto so called professional sports teams as the clubs have only had 4 playoff rounds in the past decade, the Raptors twice and the Jays and Leafs once. Boston in contrast in the same decade had 43 playoff rounds between the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox. Plus they have all won the championship of their sport.

    Now those 4 playoff rounds has resulted in 12 home games for Toronto sports fans. The grand total of home victories is a freaking pathetic 3 games.

  • jasken

    @ Bender

    Truth does hurt and if you think this team is the worst in Leafs history than getting ready for some serious pain. You have no idea on how bad this team was to begin with. If you had some hopes for this season you obviously have hearing problems or missed out on the pressers on what they were saying.

    You want the end results to bad they are at the beginning the definition of a rebuild is tearing everything down to the root and rebuild it.

    I would be glad with 25 wins in a rebuild thank you. In the 80s Leafs had multiple seasons where they only won 20 games and 5 times they were 25 or less win seasons prior to 92-93. So take those tears and whining your doing shed them to someone who has not been through it before.