Puck Drop: 7:30 p.m. EST
TSN, RIS (HD), MSG Plus, AM980 (Radio)
I just don't know what to expect.
Martin Brodeur is back in action tonight for the first time in six games (he had a bum shoulder), but it's hard to know what to expect from him, these days. The Leafs could very well wind up being stonewalled, but could also be pleasantly surprised.
So far this year, he's only played two games (or, more accurately, 80 minutes), and sits at a 3.00 GAA, and a .900 SV%. I'd be pretty happy if those are the kind of numbers he winds up posting this evening.
Of course, there are even more questions about what kind of goaltending we'll see tonight in the Leafs' zone. Jonas Gustavsson has been confirmed as the starter (as per Jonas Siegel), and it's hard to tell what that means, anymore. He has looked very solid through certain stretches, but has been plagued buy inconsistency.
Look for Joey Crabb to make his debut on the third line tonight with Tyler Bozak and Matthew Lombardi, as Matt Frattin was sent to the AHL to sharpen his offensive skills against some weaker competition. Fortunately for the Leafs, Crabb doesn't have to clear waivers, because he only makes $105,000 - the maximum a player can earn before being waiver eligible.
There were questions about whether or not Jake Gardiner would be available tonight, since he blocked two hard shots in the game against Ottawa, but he has been cleared, and will play. He missed a practice with a sore foot, but took the morning skate today, and felt fine.
Apparently, future-Leaf Zach Parise has been playing at center for the last three games, and has one goal to show for it. Let's hope this isn't the game where he figures it all out.
As a final note, this game holds extra meaning for the Leafs' playoff hopes, since the Devils are definitely one of the teams they'll have to fight for the final playoff rung. I know it's early to think about the playoffs, but every point matters, no matter what month it's earned in.