Tuesday night game? Check.
At the ACC? Check.
Against a South East opponent? Check.
Leafs guranteed to lose tonight? ……………
Had this been last season, that last question would have most certainly gotten a check but the numbers after 49 games this year suggest that Tuesday is just another day of the week and no longer warrants excessive fear. In the 2009-10 season the Leafs played 17 games on a Tuesday night, the majority of those coming against South Eastern Division opponents. Their record in those games? A horrible 5-11-1. Maybe they were too preoccupied with the latest episode of NCIS to focus on the games? This season however, it looks like Ron Wilson bought every member a TiVO because so far the Leafs are 4-3-1 on Tuesday night games. (Side note: 2 of those losses and the OT loss are all to Tampa Bay.) Tuesday is no longer the most feared day of the week for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Follow me after the jump for most "insight" into tonight’s game.
The whole Phil Kessel picked last thing aside, hopefully the All Star break has been good to the Leafs in terms of clearing their heads because they were playing some pretty terrible hockey before it. Dropping 6 of 7 before the break and being outscored 27 to 12 in that same span is just the sort of thing you want to distance yourself from. The Leafs have begun to do just that by making goaltender Jonas Gustavsson a healthy scratch for the first time in his career tonight. His play has been atrocious and his confidence never shakier. Rumors are Wilson and Burke are considering sending him to the Marlies on a conditioning stint for two weeks to see if he’ll get back whatever remains of his mojo. So who gets the start in net tonight? Well obviously Wilson is going with the hot hand between the pipes in James Reimer…..what’s that? J.S. Giguere is getting the start tonight? RAGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Although once you step back and look at this move big picture wise it makes a lot of sense. Wilson and Burke have stated that Giguere can no longer handle starting two games in a row. So he’ll go tonight, and Reimer will play the Hurricanes on Thursday and the Sabres on Saturday. I suspect Giguere will back him up on Thursday and Gustavsson on Saturday if he’s still with the team come Saturday. Then Giguere goes again on Monday, rinse and repeat. It’s not the best case scenario but at least they’re trying everything they can to keep this Titanic afloat.
180 feet away the Leafs have caught a break because Tomas Vokoun in getting a rare night off so that Scott Clemmenson can get the start. In his last start agains the Buds, he got roughed up by Colton Orr and the Leafs won 3-1. Unfortunately for the Leafs though, Colton Orr is on the IR and will not be playing tonight. Fortunately though, neither will Brett Lebda or Freddy Sjostrom as Jay "Strip Club Lover" Rosehill is the 12th forward tonight. The full lineups for both teams can be found here courtesy of James Mirtle. Out for the Panthers is former Leafs Bryan McCabe who busted his jaw and is out for a month so the former Leafs player lighting it up curse is not in effect tonight. I’m saying it’s going to be a 4-2 win for the Leafs. GO LEAFS GO!