Tonight Leafs fans join Sabres fans in rooting for a Toronto
win. The Sabres with their league worst goal differential (-18) are coming off
an upset of the Sharks and the Leafs are doing their best to forget a shelling
at the hands of the Chara-less (but still very good) Bruins.

The Leafs have made some significant changes by shuffling
their right wingers around. Kessel moves to the Kadri line, Winnik joins
Santorelli and Komarov, while Clarkson will be playing with Bozak. If the Leafs
could pull Ryan Hollweg out of retirement to play with Bozak and Clarkson that
might be the most hated Leafs line of all time, but somehow I remain optimistic
about the changes. I think it’s because James van Riemsdyk is a very good
hockey player.

The Leafs

The line changes and the fallout from the Bruins game are
the big story for the Leafs, as is the demotion of Stuart Percy, who didn’t
look out of place on the Leafs, but for his own good, has been given more time
to play significant minutes with the Marlies. With the Leafs now dressing a
full fourth line, their usage will again be worth monitoring, and against
Buffalo you’d hope that Carlyle would have some comfort in playing them.

Projected Lines via
Daily Faceoff
Lupul – Kadri – Kessel
van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Clarkson
Komarov – Santorelli – Winnik
Ashton – Holland – Frattin

Phaneuf – Franson
Gardiner –Polak
Rielly – Robidas

Initially I have to say I’m really excited for these lines,
and hope they won’t be reverted to Leafs Classic 10 minutes into the game. As
much as I’d like to make fun of the Bozak/Clarkson pairing, I think that van
Riemsdyk and Bozak are players that could potentially help Clarkson generate
some additional offense and like the idea of the two wingers crowding the net.
Ideally Bozak’s role on this line would be to move the puck to the point and
set up a shot that JvR and Clarkson can pounce on in front.

The Santorelli line looks like a very reasonable line to
control opposition scoring lines, and it’s also nice to see defensive pairings
that have the potential to stay intact.

The Sabres

So far the Sabres have been shut out 3 times in 9 games, so
they really are spectacularly bad. This doesn’t bode well for the Leafs who
should not be thrilled about having Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid in their
division for the next 20 years. Buffalo has a few young players worth watching tonight
in Sam Reinhart, Zegmus Girgensons, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cody Hodgson, but
you can bet that Ted Nolan is doing everything he can to not actually give them
ice time. All things considered a loss to the Sabres would be unforgivable.

Projected Lines via Daily

Moulson – Ennis –
Hodgson – Mitchell – Stafford
Foligno – Girgensons- SmurfSkate
Deslauriers – Reinhart – McCormick

Gorges – Myers
Weber – Meszaros
Benoit – Ristolainen

Starting Goaltenders




What to Watch For

  • Randy Carlyle going up against someone he can
    actually out coach
  • How many times you check to see if there is a
    better game on another channel
  • Will the new lines stick or will we see Kessel
    and Bozak reunited before the end of the first
  • Brian Gionta still plays in the NHL?
  • Look at how awful Josh Gorges is and be thankful
    that bullet was dodged.
  • Speaking of awful, keep a close eye on Chris
    Stewart and realize that every Chris Stewart trade proposal you’ve ever read was
  • The “big game from the Toronto area raised
    player” narrative being attached to Matt Moulson
      • BubbaLou

        Well guess what it’s all going to come back and haunt them, because he’s not all that…

        I recall all this same crap a few years back when Reimer was the hot ticket here in Toronto, and look where that got him…..

        This should have been Reimers game, and once again it looks like last year over again….

        But as far as I am concerned, this was the easiest win this team will get this year it was no contest, and as far as \i am corncerned it proved nothing regarding Berneir,,I mean 10 SOG big deal, he had nothing really thrown at him, maybe RC felt sorry for him, and decided to give Bernier a boost(unlike reims last year) and give him the game tonight knowing that it was a no contet game and he should be able to handle it fine,,,,

        Yeah right put this team and Bernier up agaisnt a real team like the Kings and Blackhawks and this whole gamw would have been a different sorty…

        Berniers win tonight was a joke…..his stats and his play this whole season so far is below par and Reims has been better….seems like were going to see alot more like last year regarding RC and his bed buddy Bernier….

        I mean lets let Bernier play every game as much as we can, I mean soorer or later hes gotta win right? than were back in the game….

        Shame on you RC and whoever else is making the call because it sucks…Reims replaced Bernier and play well again and in return they give the game to Bernier..that sucks.