It’s a Leafs game day! Nature is Healing!

Allow me to pull back the curtain on the glamorous world of hockey blogging. It’s not a lot of fun writing pregames or post games. That being said, when we’ve been waiting to watch hockey since the middle of March and get some closure on the season, today it’s feeling pretty darn good.

While the Leafs season was riddled with injuries, controversy, and Cody Ceci, the reboot has the potential to at least give us a fresh start on two out of three of those things. The Leafs are healthy, to the point where Mikheyev was dominant in training camp, and Johnsson is close to returning. The Leafs have had a chance to get in a training camp under Sheldon Keefe now, allowing him to adjust the Leafs further away from the Babcock philosophy that has plagued the team in the past couple of years. And as for Cody Ceci, heck, if there is a time of year that we learn to appreciate defensive defensemen, it’s the post season, so we might even warm up to him a little too.

Tonight is an exhibition game, but a game against the Canadiens is never just a game. In a situation where there is only one shake down game before going directly into elimination hockey, there’s a case to be made that this game is probably more important than the games the Leafs were playing in February and March anyway.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Going up against players like Gallagher, Weber, and facing a goaltender like Price will be good for the Leafs as well. A win will matter because the Leafs need to do more than just loosen up, they need to demonstrate that they are clicking as a team, so don’t expect a light affair tonight.

Jake Muzzin
Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly
Cody Ceci
Travis Dermott
Tyson Barrie

Additionally for the Leafs they do have the ability to dress 13 forwards and 7 defensemen for the game, so both Freddie Gauthier and Martin Marincin are in the lineup as well. That’s right. The Leafs decided to go with Martin Marincin over Rasmus Sandin. Plan your outrage accordingly.

Who to watch for?

When it comes to the Leafs, there is no doubt that all eyes will be on Nick Robertson as he makes his unofficial NHL debut. He’s penciled in on the third line, and I think the Leafs would like to see him stay there. Earlier today Nick Barden broke down the importance of the game for Robertson and what the Leafs are hoping to get from him.

As for the Habs, well, if Max Domi is putting on a show, that’s the best case for the Habs pulling off an upset against Pittsburgh. They’ll want to see him at his best before they go back to dangling him as trade bait in a few weeks.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Starting Goaltenders

Freddie Andersen and Carey Price will be the starting goaltenders tonight, and from the sounds of things, the expectation is that both goaltenders will be playing the full sixty minutes rather than giving time to their backups. Which is fair as any hope of playoff success usually requires your starting goaltender to be playing if not at their best, at least a very high level.

The Sportsnet One broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET tonight, with puck drop around 8pm ET. Call me crazy, but I think they’ll get good ratings.

Also, please check out our Leafs Swear Jar initiative. A fun way to give back to the community while complaining about the lack of ice time for your favourite player.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below