The Toronto Maple Leafs desperately need one of those big impact games that can suddenly rejuvenate a team’s season. I can think of no better way to get one than by beating the St. Louis Blues at the Air Canada Centre tonight.
Montreal had such a game against Ottawa earlier this month, storming back late in the game to beat the Senators 5-4 after all hope seemed lost. Now they’re red hot. Toronto is due such a game.
If the Leafs are looking for help, they might get it in the return of regular starter Jonathan Bernier. James Reimer has struggled in relief of the injured Bernier and while there’s no guarantee that Bernier will be ready to play today, he did participate in practice yesterday and said he was feeling better.
With or without Bernier, however, the Leafs will have a tall task in beating the Blues. It can be done – St. Louis has lost two of its last three games while surrendering nine goals over that span – but they also spanked the Leafs 6-3 when the two clubs met in December.
Hopefully, the Air Canada Centre will serve as an advantage for the Leafs. The team is currently 22-13-1 at home. In contrast, they’re 14-16-7 on the road (they played St. Louis on the road earlier this season).
Leafs fans will want to keep an eye on the scoreboard. Columbus, Detroit and Washington – teams sitting just above or below the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings – play tonight as well.
If we’re lucky, they’ll all falter just as the Leafs regain their balance.
After tonight, Toronto will get two days of rest before returning to action Friday night in the first part of back-to-back games. The first of these games will see the Leafs play the Flyers in Philadelphia, then head back home to host the Red Wings the next night.
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