January 19th Pregame TOR @ MT
New Season, New Faces, New Results?
Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0-0) at Montreal Canadians (0-0-0)
Arena: Bell Center
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM
TV: CBC Radio: TSN 1050
Record against each other Last Season: (3-3-0)
It seems like every year, no matter which players are on either team, Montreal and Toronto play some entertaining hockey. Expect this year to be no different with a hyped playoff feel to every game in this short 48 game season. While it is early to say what games are must wins, starting the season off with a victory against our archrival would be a great start to the season, needless to say.
Who will be the goalie? Will Reimer play as he did two seasons and push the Leafs towards a playoff position? Reimer hasn’t looked great in camp, but the hope is that will change when the puck drops on the season. Something I’ll be paying attention to is Reimer’s positioning, in particular that of his glove hand to see if St. Croix has had an early impact on the young net minder. Here’s hoping he won’t be beaten every time the opposition shoots high glove. Scrivens had a much sharper camp, and having played in some quality hockey games with the Marlies will no doubt give him an edge over Reimer who hasn’t played a game in months. Ben has shown his ability to steal a game in a brief stint last year and with the Marlies, and Carlyle’s desire to run with the hot goalie should give both tenders plenty of incentive to play at their best.
Improved Team Defense:
Preached all training camp, will this Leafs team show signs of defensive competency or are they just too offensively minded to care? Both Nonis and Carlyle have said that an unwillingness to play hard at both ends of the rink is unacceptable, and that the team will bring in players that show a desire to do so. Does that mean players like Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul change their play and become more responsible in their own end? With a short training camp it’s nearly impossible that the Leafs play a perfect hockey game, but hopefully there are some positive signs of a new found commitment to the system.
Debut of JvR:
How will the Leafs’ biggest off-season acquisition fare in his debut? Slated to play on a line with Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov, van Riemsdyk has plenty of skill and grit at his disposal. This will be the fans’ first look at van Riemsdyk and hopefully we get a glance of that power forward skill that appealed so much to Brian Burke.
Check out the postgame shortly after the conclusion of the tilt.
Go Leafs Go!