We finally know when we’re going to see the Leafs play again after tomorrow night, and it appears they will be treated to almost a full week without a game. I’m reluctant to say week off, because I hope like hell they’ll be working most of the time (especially on the powerplay) but nearly a week without a game anyway. Here’s the schedule…
7:30 pm ET
7:00 pm ET
So, a few things of note here. First up, the schedule was set up to make sure that both Saturdays during the first round will feature the Montreal and Toronto game instead of forcing Canada to spend their prime hockey night watching the Jets play the Oilers. Classy move by the league. The next thing of note is the back to back in series falls in Montreal on Games 3 and 4. I’m not sure this favours either side in any way, and it was one of the two opportunities to have the back to back fall in the same city and avoid travel. It also means we’ll probably see Freddie Andersen in the playoffs after all. It might make it a bit harder for either team (but most likely the Leafs) to pull off a series sweep, but this seems like the superior approach to putting the back to back later in the round and impacting one of the more critical deciding games. Personally I’d also like to thank the NHL schedule maker for not scheduling a game on my daughter’s birthday.
One of the other interesting takeaways is that with the series set to go until May 31st, the Leafs just need to beat the Habs in order finally play some hockey in June. It’s getting close to other fanbases having to retire the joke about months the Leafs don’t play in because I’m pretty sure this is the last one on the list.
The times haven’t been set beyond the first two games, nor have the networks, but given that Sportsnet has the exclusive rights to the playoffs in Canada, it’s much more likely the American cable partner that needs to be figured out, not the Canadian one. It’s also a safe bet that start times are going to fall within that 7-8 window, so if you just assume the game starts at 7 you’ll safely never miss a minute.
If you are looking for the complete listing of first round schedules, they can be found in the link below.