Don’t get me wrong, the 5-2 win against Philadelphia on Wednesday night was sweet, but rest assured, business is about to pick up for the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-4-2)
Tonight, in the front end of a back-to-back, they’ll host the red-hot Boston Bruins (10-1-0). And my goodness, the B’s are hotter than Auston Matthews on King Street West on a Friday night right now.
After a 4-4-2 October, Toronto started November in style; John Tavares notched his 11th career hat trick and added an assist. Meantime, Matthews tickled the twine for the third time in his past four outings. He’s starting to cook, just ask Travis Konecny.
Any way you slice it, the big boys will need to rise once again tonight if Toronto has any shot of grabbing two points. Jim Montgomery has Boston buzzing, they’ve won seven straight contests.
Believe it or not, Toronto OWNED last year’s season series with the B’s. They won all three meetings outscoring them 16-8.
Time: 7 PM EDT (CBC, Sportsnet)
BOS Linus Ullmark – CONFIRMED (8-0-0, 2.17, 0.929)
TOR Ilya Samsonov – CONFIRMED (5-2-0, 2.30, 0.920)
BUILD OFF WEDNESDAY
Let’s go now, it’s time to get on a bit of a roll here. I know the opponent’s tough, but Boston is due for a stinker, and as mentioned above, Toronto has actually played them really well in recent memory. Again, it’s all about the start. On Wednesday, the Leafs played with pace, speed, desperation and even a bit of edge. If they can somehow bottle that up and transfer it over to tonight’s game, they’ll be in good shape. If not, I’ll be turning my TV off early. Plain and simple.
WELCOME BACK, TIMOTHY LILJEGREN!
Make no mistake about it, especially with Jake Muzzin out, Liljegren will be given every opportunity to play a prolific role on the back end for the Leafs moving forward. Having said that, it’s important to temper expectations. He’s just working his way back from offseason hernia surgery, and on top of that, consistency issues have plagued him early on in his career. At any rate, it’ll be fascinating to watch and document the Rielly/Liljegren pairing, they’ll have their hands full tonight.
PUT THE D in DEFENCE
Entering tonight, the Bruins lead the entire NHL in goals per game with 4.45. I know it’s tough, but attention to detail defensively will be a massive key to success in this one. That’s unless the Leafs want to engage in a full-blown track meet with Boston, that’s an option too. At the very least, Toronto needs to limit the turnovers, especially in its own zone. If those Marner/Holl/Engvall etc. muffins persist, it’s going to be a long night at the office for Sheldon Keefe’s squad.
(As of Noon EDT)
TOR John Tavares Over 2.5 SOG