Tonight the Leafs start off their final weekend of the preseason at home against the Detroit Red Wings.
After a surprising win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday – where the Leafs were outshot 36-26 – they have to now face off against the undefeated preseason Detroit Red Wings. The ultimate “it’s only preseason” team.
The Red Wings still have a lot of their young players around. Mike Green, Danny Dekeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, and Trevor Daley are four of their veteran defencemen that have been out with injuries for most of the preseason. Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, Joe Hicketts and Libor Sulak – at an average age of 21.5-years-old – are taking most of the defensive responsibilities for this team.
#Leafs lines at morning skate:
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 28, 2018
I haven’t seen any Red Wings beat writers tweet about the lineup, so this is my best and will most likely be completely wrong:
The Red Wings are going to be so, so bad this season. So maybe we can be nice and let them win and give their fans empty hope if they go undefeated all preseason long.
But then again, the Leafs put out their “we’re actually going to try” lineup, so the Wings might ultimately be screwed.
The Leafs are coming from a game that they should not have walked away from as the winners, so I am sure Babcock and the coaching staff completely tore into this team and trying to fix them for the upcoming season.
Besides Ennis and Gauthier, this could realistically be the lineup next Wednesday for the season opener. Kapanen on the first line with Tavares and Marner is going to be a treat and management might just fall in love with that line enough to keep them together for the first week or so. But we can predict that once Hyman is back to full health, he’ll claim his place in the top-6 forward group.
The game tonight will be on the NHL Network and TSN. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.