You hear pundits say it all the time “This is a must win game”. This cliche will ring loud and clear as the Toronto Maple Leafs meet up on home ice against the Montreal Canadiens on CBC Hockey Night in Canada. The game for the Toronto Maple Leafs must be used to build momentum and find a away to stay in the Playoff race ahead of a long week. Dropping the last 3 games has the Toronto Maple Leafs on the verge of being outside the playoff race. If you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you will accept nothing less than a 2 point regulation victory tonight at home. Hockey Night in Canada in Toronto with Montreal on the ice should have the feel of playoff hockey all over it. Enjoy the game tonight as a fan, however look ahead at the games the Leafs face this week.
The Toronto Maple Leafs – The Week Ahead
Saturday March 22 vs Habs
Sunday March 23 at Devils
Tuesday, March 25 vs. Blues
Friday, March 28 at Flyers
Saturday, March 29 vs. Red Wings
Where will the Toronto Maple Leafs pick up points?
New Jersey Devils – Sunday
The back to back game in New Jersey will not help the point collecting in any terms. Home and Away advantage not in Leafs favor as the divisional match up with Montreal on Saturday night should drain a ton of energy from the players. New Jersey Devils are at home to the New York Rangers Saturday before the Leafs match up. If you are a Leafs fan you are hoping that Rangers and Devils tilt does not go to overtime and the game is as emotional as the one in the Air Canada Center Saturday night. The Rangers and Flyers may slip down into that Wild Card spot and scoreboard watching Leafs fans will be hoping for losing streaks from more than a few teams in the Eastern Conference. I don’t expect much from this game in fact a loss wouldn’t be a surprise.
St.Louis Blues – Tuesday
Toronto Maple Leafs return to the Air Canada Center to face the hottest team in the NHL and most exciting to watch as of late with a goal differential of +70. The St.Louis Blues will be fresh from two days rest as they travel into Toronto and complete their season series against Toronto. Goalie James Reimer will be reminded by media and sports analysts as the week arrives how he got yanked from the loss vs St.Louis back in December. When the Leafs faced St.Louis earlier in the season they had been in the midst of a slump that had Coach Randy Carlyle shaking his head. During that stretch the Leafs had just one regulation win in 12 games.
A quote from Carlyle that night in St.Louis -
“Our hockey club looked like we were brain-dead in a lot of areas, I don’t know any other way to describe it. Our concern has been high for a while now.”
Some things don’t change. Hope that the Leafs can compete Tuesday night and steal a point in overtime.
Philadelphia Flyers – Friday
Flyers have been the little team that could. On the verge of complete collapse at the beginning of the year they have played with that cheshire grin all year since that 1-7-0 start to the season. The last Leafs and Flyers match up had the game sent to overtime with a Leafs win. More compete level from all four Leaf lines is required as the Flyers are able to roll the entire line up out throughout the game and create energy. At a time when Wayne Simmonds is finding the back of the net and Brayden Schenn is hitting everything on the ice the Leafs will need to slow down the Philadelphia train to punch their own ticket to the post season.
Detroit Red Wings – Saturday
Leading into this game a hopeful 5 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs should already be on the table before they face newly created conference rivals the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings could be the Leafs killers this year. Every time I check Rogers Sportsnet the Red Wings are finding a way to pick up points in this heated standings race The Red Wings are riddled with injuries yet the “next guy up” mentality under the watchful eye of Mike Babcock continues to be successful. Toronto Maple Leafs fans are not going to like this – Daniel Alfredsson looks like a new man out there on the ice with the young talent. The Swede has 5 points in 5 games. Wings are a scary team at the moment that might shut the lights off to the Toronto Maple Leafs post season hopes. With two games in hand watch for them to be the team that wins in the last few days of the Season in order to clinch.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Seven Points in Seven Nights
Follow me @projectsmith for tons of game day chatter