Tonight is not just any ordinary game. It's a rivalry game with the Montreal Canadiens which is always a spirited affair. It's also the latest PPPPub Night: Drunkulence Strikes Back. If you are already coming then we'll see you there. If not, what are you waiting for?
The Habs lead this year's season series on the back of how they usually do things: outstanding goaltending, excellent special teams, atrocious even strength play, and some luck. Another year the Leafs might be looking to push their record to 5-0 against the Habs but alas they are not. What they will be trying to do is reward us for watching so many crap games in person. Particularly, that last game against the Habs when they lost because they didn't bother starting the game until they were down 2-0.
Update: Luca Caputi might miss the game tonight for a pretty funny reason:
"They said it's a tummy ache," coach Ron Wilson said of the medical report he received. "We're so young, they call it a tummy ache. They sent him home. Hopefully he'll be able to play."
Montreal is on a six game win streak which does not feature something that has figured prominently in their season: luck. They've only won two games in the shootout. Now, the supposed irony of a Leafs fan suggesting that the Habs are overly lucky this season is not lost on me. However, I'll freely acknowledge that Toronto's four extra session wins are luck. Of course, considering that the Leafs were 1-12 after regulation at one point. Hawerchuk's done some good work showing just how much luck plays into winning after regulation.
Every game the Leafs play from now until the end of the year is a must win. Every point they earn can possibly help them sneak out of the basement of the Eastern Conference and the league. The Leafs' 6-3-1 record since the Olympics has barely made a dent in the standings. They've made up points but not nearly enough and the problem is that which is highlighted in that Toronto Star article. A lof of the teams ahead of them are playing against each other which increases the odds of three point games. Here are the standings as of tonight:
The good news is that despite the Habs' string of good play their coach is still showing the confidence which has made him such a beloved figure among Leafs fans. As a final note, check out the Four Habs Fans re-working of a Canadian classic.