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Leafs (5-5-1) vs Capitals (7-4-1)
The Leafs will play their first game ever without Captain Dion Phaneuf tonight and as luck would have it, they play Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Playing their second game in as many nights will not help their cause either, after losing 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators yesterday. The Leafs were on their way to being shutout for a third straight game until 5 minutes into the 3rd Period when Nikolai Kulemin scored. That ended the Leafs’ franchise-record goal-less streak at 167 minutes and 39 seconds. The Leafs’ secondary scoring has to show up for them to post a W against the Caps.
*Orr and Komi made those pink skates look more masculine than Clint Eastwood.
*The Leafs attempted 92 shots last night. Only 36 hit the net. The Leafs defense fired 17 shots from the point that were blocked. And even when they got through several of them missed the net. A lot of these missed shots came on the powerplay. The Leafs Powerplay percentage ranks 24th in the league at 11.9%. The Leafs need to hit the net if that number is to improve.
Versteeg in. He will slot in on the Leafs’2nd Line with Grabovski and MacArthur.
Christian Hanson gets the call to play on the 4th line between Orr and Brown.
Gunnarsson in. Lebda out.
Look for Orr to drop the gloves with Boogaard again.
Rangers (4-4-1) vs Leafs (5-3-1)
The Leafs need to get used to the fact that every game has critical implications for their playoff hopes.
Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Boston have 4 seeds in the East almost locked in. Then there’s Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Montreal, Buffalo and Carolina. Ottawa, NYR, NYI and Atlanta aren’t too far behind. Let’s not kid ourselves. The only team in the East that the Leafs SHOULD be ahead of in the standings come April is Florida.
Come April, 6 to 8 points will separate seeds 7 through 11, as has been the case since the lockout. So when the Leafs take on the Rangers tonight at the Air Canada Centre, they need to remember one thing: every game they play is a 4-Point game.
If Steven Stamkos were a Maple Leaf, this wouldn’t be happening.
In 9 games this season, Stamkos has a stat line of 8 goals and 18 points. The next closest player is Ryan Getzlaf with 13 points in 10 games.
Yet somehow, if we polled the intelligent portion of the hockey universe today, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin would be the runaway favourites in a conversation about the best forwards in the game right now.
Yes, the season is young. And yes, Crosby and Ovechkin are off to “slower” starts than usual. But Stamkos is out-producing them nonetheless (by a sizable margin).
To put it into perspective, Leaf Nation is buzzing about Kessel’s 7 goals in the first 8 games of the season. Some say he is a legitimate contender for the Rocket. The more mentally unstable ones have even gone as far as to suggest the possibility of Kessel winning the Hart.
Can you imagine what would happen if Kessel had Stamkos’ stat line?
Let me be clear. I am not here saying that Stamkos is better than Crosby and Ovechkin. I am simply saying that Stamkos deserves to be in the conversation.
Leafs (5-2-1) vs Bruins (4-2-0)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are actually ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bruins do have 2 games in hand, however, making this the proverbial 4-point game in the battle for division rank.
The Leafs put an end to their 3-game skid on Tuesday against Florida, thanks to a missed Goalie Interference call on Colton Orr and yet another Phil Kessel goal. The Leafs hope to retain that top spot in the Northeast Division with a win against the same team who traded them Kessel a little more than a year ago.
Tyler Seguin (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) forward on the planet.
Tuuka Rask also (profanity) sucks. He is the worst (profanity) goalie on the planet.
Jared Knight sucks so (profanity) much that he couldn’t make a team that has Tyler Seguin on it.
Oh and even if we finish 29th-30th again this year, Adam Larsson and Sean Couturier are the worst (profanity) prospects in the history of the game.
I (profanity) hate the Boston Bruins.
Give us a win tonight boys.
Caputi has been called up by the Leafs to skate in place of Colby Armstrong, who left last night’s game with an injury after being slashed by Chris Higgins on his hand.
Keep an eye on Caputi to make the most of this opportunity after a strong preseason. He will slot in with Brent and Sjostrom on the Leafs’ 3rd line.
Everyone is up in arms.
The Florida Panthers. Colton Orr just trampled over their back-up goalie. The ref was standing right there. RIGHT THERE. Yet somehow he only noticed the puck go in. Not the 220 pound guy who obviously took the goalie out of the play.
The Media. Everyone is calling it 100% goalie interference. Asking why the referee didn’t blow the play, why the call didn’t go upstairs, why NHL coaches aren’t given challenges like in the NFL.
The Toronto Maple Leafs. Even Ron Wilson and Colton Orr admitted it was goalie interference when talking to the media. Wilson even went as far as to say that Orr should have gotten a penalty.
Here’s what Leaf Nation thinks: We’ll take ‘em however we can get ‘em. We know it wasn’t a goal. We know it was a penalty. We don’t care. We’ll take it.
Phil Kessel scored (again) to make it 3-1 anyway.
Go Leafs Go.
Brian Burke, on the AM640 yesterday, talks two trade offers, Phaneuf and Nazem Kadri.
Listen to Brian Burke on AM640.
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