It’s been cold and miserable in Toronto this week – and the weather hasn’t been so great either. The Leafs played two of their worst games ever, and then played one of their better games because they finally competed, which kind of makes sense if you think about it – the only thing consistent about this team is its inconsistency.
Now, the Leafs welcome the Red Wings, a team who continue to be very good year in and year out. They have a great coach that educates his players, they’re great at puck possession, they pull fantastic players out of late draft picks, and they have not just one but two top line centres. The Red Wings are literally the anti-Leafs.
The Leafs are 0-2 so far against Detroit, with the first loss against them being bulletin board material for how embarrassing it was. Or was that the game against Pittsburgh? Or was it against Boston? Or Buffalo? Or Nashville? There have been a lot of embarrassing games it’s almost like those games are more likely closer to the norm than the very good games this team plays.
Carlyle continues with his bizarre line combinations that I can’t begin to understand. Why he won’t go back to Winnik-Kadri-Kessel would make a really great Twilight Zone episode in my opinion.
Good news injury-wise – Joffrey Lupul should be back for Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh and David Booth should make his Leafs debut as well.
Bad news injury-wise – Joffrey Lupul and David Booth are scheduled to be out 4-6 weeks each following Wednesday’s game.
van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel
Komarov – Kadri – Santorelli
Winnik – Holland – Clarkson
Panik – Smith – Leivo
Phaneuf – Franson
Gardiner – Polak
Rielly – Robidas
Even without Datsyuk, there is a lot to like up front for Detroit. A great mix of skill, speed, youth, and veterans. I don’t get how this team is competitive every year but hey I guess that’s what competent management and coaching can give you.
Oh and Detroit is 9th in CF% so don’t expect Toronto to get the puck very much unless they’ve changed their game plan up a little bit. Which they haven’t. It’s been three years.
Lineups via DailyFaceoff.com
Nyquist – Zetterberg – Franzen
Tatar – Sheahan – Abdelkader
Cleary – Helm – Jurco
Miller – Glendening – Andersson
Kronwall – Ericsson
Quincey – DeKeyser
Lashoff – Ouellet
Jonathan “Heart Eyes Emoji” Bernier
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
- Lots of fights
- Pretty passing between Nyquist and Zetterberg
- If the Leafs win – the tidal change to “this team is great”
- If the Leafs lose – quotes from players and management about how they know they are good because they beat Tampa and Boston, using those games as the rule and not the exceptions.