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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

LGD: Hot n’ Ready

What a bag of trash last night was.

Over the last month, every single person in Leaf Land who possesses even the smallest grasp of predictive analytics has become Chicken Little, desperately warning the oblivious villagers of the skies impending collapse.

Well, last night it happened.

Facing Minnesota, The Leafs put forth their worst game of the entire regular season up to this point. So mind-numbing was their performance, they even failed to put one past world-renowned puck stopper Alex Stalock. And by “world-renowned” I, of course, mean that only a mere two years ago, Stalock was deemed not serviceable enough to be The Marlies third goalie.

However, tonight’s contest presents a chance at redemption.

The Leafs invade Motor City to take on the Red Wings, inside a building that I assume to be a converted pizza joint? Aside from the fact that “Little Ceasars Arena” is without a doubt the worst named sports venue in North America, let’s break down the pros and cons of tonight’s matchup.

Pros and Cons

CON: The Leafs don’t even have the opportunity to go home, get a good nights sleep, and regroup from last night’s turd of a game. No, tonight will serve as their third game played in four nights, all on the road.

And to make matters worse, they have to go to Detroit. The last stop on their gruelling road trip could at least have been somewhere nice. Typical NHL working against Toronto.

CON: Auston Matthews is set to miss his third straight game tonight, as he continues to nurse an upper-body injury. Remember when Matthews turned every Leaf game into a can’t-miss viewing experience? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

PRO: The Red Wings are really really bad. They currently sit 5th in The Atlantic with an 11-13-7 record, having lost their last three straight.

If any team can gift The Buds a “W”, it’s The Wings.

Leaf Lines

LW C RW
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN
Patrick Marleau
PATRICK MARLEAU
Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER
Leo Komarov
LEO KOMAROV
Nazem Kadri
NAZEM KADRI
William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER
James van Riemsdyk
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
Tyler Bozak
TYLER BOZAK
Connor Brown
CONNOR BROWN
Matt Martin
MATT MARTIN
Dominic Moore
DOMINIC MOORE
Josh Leivo
JOSH LEIVO

 

Leaf Defence Pairings

Oh, for the love of God.

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY
Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY
Jake Gardiner
JAKE GARDINER
Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV
Andreas Borgman
ANDREAS BORGMAN
Roman Polak
ROMAN POLAK

 

Red Wings Lines

LW C RW
Gustav Nyquist
GUSTAV NYQUIST
Henrik Zetterberg
HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Justin Abdelkader
JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR
Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN
Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA
Darren Helm
DARREN HELM
Frans Nielsen
FRANS NIELSEN
Luke Glendening
LUKE GLENDENING
Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI
Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU
Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK

 

Red Wings Defence Pairings

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Dan DeKeyser
DAN DEKEYSER
Mike Green
MIKE GREEN
Jonathan Ericsson
JONATHAN ERICSSON
Trevor Daley
TREVOR DALEY
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL
Nick Jensen

 

Starting Goaltenders

We’re in for a treat tonight, folks.

Curtis “Better than McDavid” McElhinney is set to be between the pipes for the blue and white. Anything less than a 41-save shutout would be simply unacceptable.

In all seriousness, McElhinney has been tapped to man the crease tonight, meaning this one will at least be entertaining. If you happen to get your kicks from watching dudes flop around for three hours, tonight’s game is appointment viewing.

Curtis currently boasts a win-loss record of 3-2-0, a GAA (essential stat alert) of 2.44, as well as a save percentage of .925%. Something tells me that last one might be padded by his shutout versus The Oilers. I guess we’ll never know. (It was)

At the other end, Jimmy Howard and his .906% save percentage projects to be tending goal, thus giving The Buds a fighting chance. If there were ever a time for Marner and Nylander to snap their offensive slumps, tonight would certainly be it.

OR Babcock could just play them 13 minutes each and quadruple shift Leo Komarov. Hooray for Saskatchewan Science!

Notes

  • When Mike Babcock was hired as head coach in the summer of 2015, I would have gladly run through a brick wall for him. And yet, lately, the moves he’s been making have led me to bash my head against that same wall repeatedly. It frankly baffles me that he’s able to watch last night’s game with his own two eyes, digest it overnight, and STILL conclude that Roman Polak should stay in the lineup. At a certain point, the highest paid coach in the league NEEDS to know better.
  • Man, The Leafs sure seemed to lack both speed and aggression against The Wild. Good thing the fastest player on their entire roster hasn’t repeatedly been healthy scratched, right? Right?! There is simply no logical explanation as to why Kasperi Kapanen shouldn’t be playing tonight. His legs are fresh, he’ll boost the penalty kill, and immediately turns the 4th line (assuming they don’t scratch Leivo over him) into one of the best in the entire league. It’s a no-brainer. And yet, here we are.
  • On a positive note, we’re at least one game closer to Auston Matthews’ triumphant return! Remember when the team went 5-0 without him and Howard Berger wrote a blog about how The Leafs should actually trade Matthews because they proved they don’t need him to win? Follow your dreams, kids.

LGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE PINT

Make the Pint your home for all things game day. We give away a free pound of wings during every game either home or away. 4.40$ mugs of Bud and Bud Lights.

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  • lukewarmwater

    Mike each season a team submits what they think would work as a schedule. Now the M.L.S.E. blue suits and bean counters view their teams as MONEY, which when you are indeed a business is the NAME OF THE GAME. That being the case, M.L.S.E. will book anything, and I mean anything into their barn to collect the rent and other benefits.
    Should the huge organisation, the Yellow sap sucker bird watching society approach M.L.S.E. about booking the about to be named Scotia bank center for 10 days in December 2018. The blue suits and bean counters reply will be SUREEEE. To hell with the leafs let them play 5 games in 7 days. The Raptors heh they can start 16 of their first 26 games on the road. Bring in the moolah, the loot, the Benjamins, fill those loomis trucks to the brim. Who cares if a guy further injures a nagging problem, who cares that the fans are treated to absolute bullbleep like last night. These silly sap sucker fans, yes some of them wear yellow, are simply that suckers to fill our coffers. So the lesson today as a young journalist Mike is that it ain’t the N.H.L. screwing the leafs and Raptors but their own ownership.
    Now I’ve told a true story in here that happened during the Liberal party eternal fight between Chretien and Martin that led to a leadership convention. M.L.S.E. that November had already booked in an Ice Capade show for 10 days. The liberals phone the head honchos of M.L.S.E. and said we would like to have 10 days for a leadership convention in the Air Canada center. M.L.S.E. said SUREEEEE. The leafs played one freaking home game in the whole month of November that year. Now they were not a good club but trust me that schedule finished any hope of a playoff run.
    So always, always, always remember that M.L.S.E. is truly a business and when it comes to the leafs or Raptors ITS STRICTLY BUSINESS.

  • Andrew71

    I never want to see a player get injured, but I honestly feel that is the ONLY way we are gonna see a 4th line without Martin and no more Polak. I am not looking forward to Polak taking a stupid penalty after Larkin or AA zip past him and he has to trip them up. Would love to see a Kap – Marleau – Leivo “4th line” when Matthews gets back but thats just wishful thinking.

  • jimithy

    Something worth noting is that the team and the coaches could not look any more pathetic.
    And for an enduring adoring fan base that’s a good thing.
    It’s pretty neat that there’s no limit on the number of times the Leafs can ice the puck in one game eh.
    And another thing, it’s pretty neat that everyone believes the Leafs are fast eh.
    Anyway, the Leafs are kind of lazy though.

  • Capt.Jay

    The fact Babcock came out and said he was happy with the teams game against Minni is another concern. That was a horrible game. Whats happening Mike???!!!

    I think for me it’s the notion that this team is capable of so much more but has been so mis directed with its assets that I am worried about its leadership. If you know what the problem is you can fix it. But if you’re delusional and think last nights game was a good team effort then you can’t fix that because you obviously don’t know what the problem is.

  • lukewarmwater

    Obviously the bag of trash was carried on the team charter to Motown as once again the leafs could only manage one goal and now have 9 goals in 7 games. But if you are a fan of all major league teams in the big smoke. Sorry other Canadian cities you are a one trick pony sports village. The Raptors kicked the Nets sorry asses back over the Brooklyn bridge 120 to 87. NOW THAT WAS ENTERTAINMENT. Coach Casey looking like what a $50 million dollar coach should look like.