If the guest of today's 5 Questions didn't tip you off before the Leafs will be visiting the Sc'ank in Kanata to take on hockey's version of the Patriots minus the titles, the large fan base, the brilliant coach, the rehabilitated superstar, and their Catholic stud quarterback (Go Papists!). Although they might be able to pick up a record with a win.
Speaking of rehabilitated athletes, Mark Bell will be making his debut after serving his 15 game suspension. I am predicting something akin to Randy Moss's revival (924 yards, 12 TDs, 9 demoralized defences) so I expect 3 goals, two assists, and a beating of Chris Neil tonight. Just kidding, Chris Neil doesn't fight Maple Leafs. Kyle Wellwood is also looking set to return after a long recovery from his delayed hernia surgery and he'll immediately have the burden of revitalizing the Leafs' moribund powerplay placed on his little shoulders. The healthy duo will be partnering John Pohl on the fourth line which by my guess means that Bates will be a healthy scratch as will either Simon Gamache or Jiri Tlusty although the latter decision will likely be made after the pre-game skate.
Checking out the NHL's stats page revealed a few interesting things. The first is that Mats Sundin, while 4th in the league in scoring, has not exactly been marching in lock-step with his teammates. While they are all terrible at the ACC Mats has 17 points at home but on the road when the Leafs resemble a good hockey team he has only picked up 4 points.
The other involves the team's +/- leaders. I know that the stat is an almost universally reviled counting stat but it isn't completely devoid of value. After Nik Antropov and Mats Sundin whom you would expect to see at the top considering their excellent starts to the season the next two players are Matt Stajan and Pavel Kubina. Both have 10 points, are plus 8, and are logging big minutes (18:43 and 24:54 respectively. Not bad for two much maligned players that most fans were eager to dispose of by any means necessary. Seems a couple of people mentioned something about those two in a preview on this site:
- Kubina will prove critics wrong. Stajan will prove critics wrong. Editor's Note: I knew I wasn't the only one who thinks these two will have good seasons.
Vesa Toskala's 32 save performance against the Habs won him Player of the Game honours to tie him with Mats and Antro. Remember to put your guesses for who will score take the first shot, get the first penalty, and score the first goal in the comments. I'll keep a running tally of the results in the right sidebar. For the Habs' game the winning predictions were: Shot - Blake, Penalty - Wozniewski, and Goal - Kaberle. This is also getting tracked in the sidebar.
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.