This will be the Leafs' first visit to HSBC since the now infamous Own Goal by Bryan McCabe. It will actually mark the return of McCabe to the Leafs' lineup which provides a nice bit of symmetry and gives me an excuse to play this tribute video to the defensive stylings of Mr. Bryan McCabe.
His return to the lineup from a groin injury also means that the Leafs are now heavy one defender. Rookie Anton Stralman is the one to make way for McCabe but somehow Andy Wozniewski keeps his place despite The Forechecker showing that he leads the league in penalties drawn/taken differential...in the sense that he is the worst in the league. He has drawn 0 penalties and taken 11. Kubina also features in the list at minus 8 (1 drawn vs. 9 taken) but he also averages nine minutes of ice-time more per game.
Buffalo favourite Darcy Tucker will also make his return from a knee injury that will have him playing with a brace which can only mean that the Leafs' medical gurus are trying to see how much he can play without surgery since the approach has worked so well in the past. It also means that for the first time since before Christmas last year the Leafs # 1 powerplay unit will be reunited. For a team with a powerplay ranked 28th going up against the 11th best penalty kill this is welcome news. Hopefully the top unit's return will also coincide with fewer shorthanded goals against. Baby steps I guess. I will predict at least one tap in on the PP by Darcy Tucker and Buffalo bursting into flames although the latter will have nothing to do with the hockey game but is just a comment on the general crappiness of the city.
That same Mark Zwolinski article had the following as the lines at practice yesterday:
Ponikarovsky - Sundin - Blake
Kilger - Bell - Tucker
Wellwood - Antropov - Tlusty
Devereaux - Stajan - Steen
No one made a case for a player of the game so "No One Worthy" steps into the logjam in first place. 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 sens' game the winning predictions were: Shot - Gill, Penalty - Antropov, and Goal - Antropov. 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.