7Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Bost them around

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The Toronto Maple Leafs head to Toronto-Dominion Garden to take on the Boston Bruins. Yes, I know that rink still gives you nightmares. Heck, there are still a few players wearing Blue and White who can probably say the same. But tonight’s game has nothing to do with the past, so let’s talk about what’s going on in the near future, shall we?

The Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs lines courtesy of Paul Hendrick of LeafsTV

 

 

Free Frank Corrado. Free Connor Carrick. Please put a stop to Hunlak before their on-ice Save Percentage tumbles. Also, neat that Nylander is back on the wing, but not as nice that Soshnikov is back in matchup purgatory.

The Bruins

Boston Bruins lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

When I was a retail job haver, my boss opened up a full staff meeting by stressing the importance of Adam McQuaid to the Boston Bruins. Specifically, the fact that he got a hefty extension after a one goal season was an example of being rewarded for being a team player.

I saw where he was coming from, but that didn’t make it any less painful. Cool boss, though.

Starting Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen is great. The Leafs are losing games that he plays despite the fact that he’s playing great. This is a travesty that I’m sure they’d like to turn around, but in the meantime, he gets to face the team who shot into him on route to his first strong performance of the season.

Tuukka Rask is Tuukka Rask. I’ll save you the trouble. Please don’t make me think more about the 2006/07 Leafs.

What To Watch Out For

The Leafs need to take this game extremely seriously. I’m not kidding; there’s big implications here. The gas is starting to fall out in both Tampa Bay and Detroit, and Florida, as much as I believe they’ll turn things around, is still in the “turning things around” phase.

Despite being last in the Conference, Toronto has the fewest games played in the Atlantic Division; everybody else has two or three more in hand. Boston is one of the teams with three, and they’re the ones with that third seed that the Leafs are going to need to get if they have any real chance at a playoff spot this year.

Winning tonight would put them five points back of the Bruins while still remaining three games in hand; a very attainable gap to close with 56 games left in the season. Seven still isn’t horrible, but every point matters and to close in a bit would be great; especially when you consider that Boston is more likely to go on a legitimate run than Ottawa. Stealing points away from them now means more than it would for just about anybody, and if the home opener showed anything, it’s that they’re capable of it.

Puck drop for this one is at 7PM. Catch it on Hockey Night in Canada.

  • buddha hat

    Man, Leafs-Boston, TFC-Sounders, Bluewater Hawks-Sarnia Lady Sting Bantam hockey. Big night in sports and it’s all at the same damn time.

    Let’s have a Kadri/Marchand tilt tonight just for giggles in a 3-0 Leaf win.

  • Stan Smith

    You keep complaining about Hunwick and Polak getting ice time over Corrado, Marincin and Carrick but yet they do, and they keep leading the leafs in goals against per 60, and anchor an excellent penalty kill.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      It certainly is becoming a broken record, or should I say endless loop for those who are too young to remember vinyl records. When you see Martin Marincin, a left hand shot replacing Carrick one should realize Babcock rates Corrado 8th on the depth chart.

      If Jeff’s campaign to free Corrado finally gets him into the lineup, are we going to be forced to say?

      ” Well Jeffery, that’s another fine mess you gotten us into”

  • BarelyComments

    Is it just me or have the Leafs abandoned their “break out the middle” mentality from last year… Seems like the last little while every single time they try and shove up the boards and inevitably turn it over at the blue line.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      I noticed as well. The big problem with up the middle is, the middle is a much more dangerous place, to turn it over. The downside is as you say the “shove up the boards” most often leads to a turn over. Opposing coaches are well aware we have 7 rookies in the lineup. Their obvious ploy is to Blitzkrieg the forecheck. Sometime in the near future our forwards will be given the respect they deserve and coaches will be hesitant to go with the full Blitz.

      On a slightly different point at the start of the season we were getting more goals, but at the same time, in our defensive end we were forcing Andersen to make games saving stops far too often. A lot of those game savers he was unable to make.

      As Babcock has been coaching/teaching the whole team to be more defensively responsible, it has come at the cost of some goal scoring. My understanding is that a some point the defensive aspect of the game will eventually become second nature. At that point the goal scoring will return. I can see some of it developing now. It does take time.