After a pair of overall strong performances against the defending Eastern Conference champions the Leafs return home to face a team that they consistently dominated last year. It's a little worrying that they were only able to score twice on 43 shots Thursday night as poor finishing was the reason that the Habs were able to avoid a Battle of Ontario-like result in last season's series. As it played out the Leafs went 4-1-3 against the Habs last year which on the balance of play probably should have been 7-1-0.
The Habs lost their best weapon and liability in Sheldon Souray and have, if you listen to their fans, added the best young players on the planet to a team that was already amazing but don't forget to ignore their ineptitude at 5 on 5 hockey.
As will presumably be the case all year the Leafs' starter won't be announced until just prior to the game. The media is already trying to make this a distraction with TSN even going as far as getting Marty Biron to label it as such. The truth of the matter is that I like this move. It sends the team the message that it doesn't matter who is back there. They still have to give a complete effort every night. One goalie that won't be getting the start is the Habs' most recent reincarnation of Patrick Roy, Carey Price, a Guy Carbonneau has labelled the ACC 'too scary' for the rookie to make his debut.
One final note on the Leafs, The Star has a good piece detailing the summer regimen of Matt Stajan and how it has helped him get off to a good start. Now if only he improved his faceoff skills.
For Habs fans reactions to their loss check out Drive to 25. To read about how crushed they are to lose to the old enemy check out the bittingly funny Four Habs Fans. Last but not least, to read about how it doesn't matter that the Habs lost and have been by far the worst of the two teams since the fall of 1993 since their future is clearly brighter check out the prolific and talented Robert at Eyes on the Prize.
Here is a visual reminder of last season's last meeting when the Leafs knocked the Habs out of the playoffs.
As always, your thoughts throughout the game are much appreciated in the comments. Each period and overtime/shootout gets their own section so just reply to the relevant section's main post. You need to set up an account to comment so register and share your thoughts.