NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 19: Colby Armstrong #9 of the Toronto Maple Leafs is flipped in the crease by Steve Eminger #44 of the New York Rangers in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 at Madison Square Garden on January 19 2011 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Leafs 7-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Leafs have beaten (or at least garnered a point) from each of the (expected) playoff bubble teams they've played so far. That's great news, and it definitely takes the sting off losing to both the Bruins and Flyers, who they'll never remain ahead of in the standings, anyway.
What's more is that the Leafs stand a good chance of closing out the month of October with a playoff record. Facing the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Ottawa Senators, it should be easy to pick up two or three points to remain in good position to compete for the big show in April.
Tonight, however, they'll be facing the Rangers, who are probably the most likely of all the teams they've played so far to finish 7th or 8th in the East. This is a team against which they need to win the season series, and it's not going to be easy, with King Henrik playing the way he has been.
All that said, James Mirtle notes that the pressure is even greater than we thought. It's the Rangers home opener and they're playing for the first time in a newly revamped building? Groan.
"We’re expecting a lively, loud building," Phaneuf said. "Home-opener, new building. It’s an exciting game to play in. There’s going to be lots of atmosphere. We’re expecting a big effort from them."
I have a lot of links on your breakfast plate for you today, and no leaving the table until you're finished.
Seven Thoughts On Six Goalies
Justin Goldman thinks we've been to harsh on Jonas Gustavsson. He wasn't the reason we lost against Philly, but I do think that he's running out of time to prove himself.
This is where the wheels came off
Jon S at Puckin' Eh hopes that the Leafs can avoid a skid similar to last season's.
Trade rumours keep Leafland ever interesting
Mike at VLM ponders Burke's media interaction strategies with regards to trades.
10/26: Marlies This Week
Alec Brownscombe with a recap of the Marlies' play, and a video with a Dallas Eakins interview. From MLHS.
Liles wasting no time making contributions in Toronto
Dave Lozo has an interview up at NHL.com where John-Michael Liles talks about the differences between playing in Toronto and Denver, as well as a few comments about playing with Phil the Thrill.
Other Hockey Links:
New York Rangers Need To Pick Up Their Play
No they don't. From Rob L at Blueshirt Banter.
How are assists handed out on the scoresheet?
Kerry Fraser responds to a silly question, but in so doing, gives some more interesting information regarding the way a game is monitored by NHL timekeepers.
OHL Week 6 Preview
Andrew Sykes at the Hockey Writers sets things up.
Puck Previews: Oilers’ arena deal passes; Modano Halloween costume
Don't click this link if you don't want to see Mike Modano in a speedo. You've been warned. From Sean Leahy at PD.
Reeling Habs fire assistant coach
"Perry Pearn, you have a silly name and we're firing you." That's that they said, honest. From the CP at the Globe.
In A Land Where Panic Is As Plentiful As Oxygen
Lowetide seriously doubts that Perry Pearn was the source of Montreal's problems.
Manitoba hockey league won't talk about media reports of naked hazing
Players were reportedly forced to walk naked around their locker room with water bottles tied to their genitals. From the CP at the Globe.
No one’s praising poor Nikolai Khabibulin
Let's see another 30 games of these kinds of numbers. Then, we'll talk praise. From Ryan Lambert at Backhand Shelf.
Jonas Hiller’s Special "Movember" Mask
Justin Goldman at The Goalie Guild has photos of this gem.
The 3 different types of shootout shooters
Seems like an odd way of sorting "shooter types", but Justin Bourne at Backhand Shelf has some examples to show.