Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montréal Canadiens
07:00 PM at Centre Bell
Watch on: NHLN, RDS, TSN2, TSN4
Fresh off a game against Montréal in Centre Bell, broadcast on TSN, called by Gord Miller and Mike Johnson, the Leafs are doing all that all over again.
To be fair, this game will be different guys in Leafs jerseys playing different guys in Habs jerseys.
The practice group from Friday morning set to play tonight is very different to last night's team. In that game, the Canadiens started fast but ineffective and then started to just plod through the game. The Leafs hot junior centre, Fraser Minten, had no trouble matching up against a line of NHLers. Matt Knies looked like he was the top player on the ice, and the Leafs depth lines kept the puck on their sticks for what seemed like endless cycles (where they can't score because they aren't those kind of guys).
The Canadiens have something to prove tonight in terms of their interest level in playing NHL hockey even with a different set of players on the ice.
The Canadiens are putting out a whole new crew today, excepting the backup goalie. From Mark Masters:
Caufield - Suzuki - Newhook
Harvey-Pinard - Dach - Slafkovský
Heineman - Kidney - Andersson
Pezzetta - Maillet - Farrell
Guhle - Reinbacher
Trudeau - Kovacevic
Norlinder - Barron
The Leafs played a line light on NHLers yesterday, and today's squad has a lot of repeat appearances. Minten and Knies are back, so are Gregor, Holmberg and Robertson. Easton Cowan gets to play today in what might his and Fraser Minten's last appearance.
Simon Benoit makes his debut, and the Leafs top pair of defenders gets a chance to face the Canadiens.
Let's make some lines. First note that every forward on the roster shoots left except for Tverberg. The repeat players in their spots from last night are:
??? - Holmberg - Gregor
Knies - Minten - ???
Robertson - ??? - ???
Abruzzese - ??? - ???
So the choice to put with Holmberg is likely Robertson. Knies and Minten need a winger, and they might get Tverberg or Easton Cowan, but Cowan is more likely to centre a fourth line with Clifford and Slavin, Steeves or Abruzzese. That leaves a third line of Hirvonen and whoever is left.
The defence is easy:
Brodie - Rielly
Benoit - McCabe
Rifai - Niemelä
I just want the Knies and Minten show again, and I want Cowan to have fun. Not much else matters in this last of the games drawn from the big roster.
We should expect a round of substantial cuts tomorrow to setup the AHL camp for next week, and the last three games of preseason will start to feature some of the actual Leafs regular season lines.
Note the game is on TSN tonight, and if you've forgotten what that means for a game in Montréal, TSN2 will be blacked out in the Leafs region for streaming (I don't know if TV works the same, who even has TV?) so you need TSN4 to watch the game. Yes, that is silly.
Go Leafs Go!