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O’Reilly & Acciari set for debuts as Leafs host Canadiens on Hockey Night in Canada: Leafs Tailgate

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Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 month ago
This is not a dream, Leafs Nation.
If you had trouble sleeping last night, you’re not alone.
Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari are expected to make their Maple Leafs debuts tonight at home against the Montreal Canadiens on Hockey Night in Canada.
The hockey world is still buzzing after Friday night’s blockbuster trade between Toronto and St. Louis that saw St. Louis’ captain land in the Big Smoke. I have to say, Brandon Pridham remains the true M.V.P. of the entire organization. If cap gymnastics were a real sport, he’d be a gold medallist.
At any rate, maybe the new guys can help Toronto finally beat Montreal. They’re winless in two (0-1-1) so far —both took place at the Bell Centre. They fell 4-3 in the season opener, and back on January 21st, Rem Pitlick potted the OT winner to give the Canadiens a come from behind 3-2 victory.
Meantime, Ilya Samsonov, who was present at the morning skate following a bout with the flu, will get the night off. Joseph Woll will make hiss second start of the season.
The Leafs are coming off a 5-2 beatdown of Chicago on Wednesday night. Meantime, Montreal kicked off their four-game road trip on Thursday night in Raleigh with a 6-2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.
 
TIME: 7 PM ET (CBC, Sportsnet)
 
STARTING GOALIES:
MTL Jake Allen – CONFIRMED (12-17-2, 3.42, 0.895, 1 SO)
@
TOR Joseph Woll – CONFIRMED (0-1-0, 4.22, 0.900)
 
PROJECTED LINEUPS:
 
THREE STORYLINES:
THE NEW GUYS
Plain and simple, there hasn’t been this much excitement over an in-season trade in Toronto since maybe that time they acquired Brian Leetch all those years ago. All in all, Kyle Dubas should be commended for pulling off a stealth move, one that indisputably improves this team in the long haul. And lucky for all, we won’t have to wait long to see the new pieces of the puzzle in action as both players are expected to be available for tonight’s game. Obviously, O’Reilly’s the flashier name of the two. I’m curious to see where they play him; third line centre or left wing with Tavares and Marner? Options. So many options.
CAN THE LEAFS FINALLY BEAT MONTREAL?
I feel like this is a broken record at this point. I hate to bring it up again, but the Leafs have really struggled against Montreal this season. What else is new? That last game in late January was tough. That was the day the Canadiens shut Cole Caufield down for the season. And Toronto still lost. Bottom line: Take care of business. The Leafs are a much better team. Don’t give them hope. Montreal’s been playing some inspired hockey lately, so Sheldon Keefe’s squad better be ready. I would hope they’ll be able to get up for this one, especially with the big trade and all.
WILL THE REAL JUSTIN HOLL PLEASE STAND UP?
Fresh off a healthy scratch on Wednesday night, Justin Holl will return to the Leafs lineup tonight. While I don’t agree with sitting Conor Timmins, I’m all for healthy competition, so whatever. Generally speaking, I’m always curious to see how a player responds following a health bomb. Holl’s been fighting it lately. Let’s see how it goes.
 
BETTING:
Courtesy our friends at PointsBet Canada, here’s tonight’s lines & odds:
(As of Noon EDT)
 
PROP PLAY:
Ryan O’Reilly Anytime Goal

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