Team vs Team: Game 72
Time: 7:00 PM Eastern
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Broadcast/Streaming: CBC, Sportsnet
Opponent SBNation Site: Habs Eyes on the Prize (which remains the dumbest SBN blog name)
Andreas Johnsson - William Nylander - Zach Hyman
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Dominic Moore - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapanen
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
Travis Dermott - Connor Carrick
Montreal Canadiens (via DailyFaceoff)
Paul Byron - Jonathan Drouin - Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk - Jacob de la Rose - Artturi Lehkonen
Nikita Scherbak - Logan Shaw - Charles Hudon
Nicolas Deslauriers - Michael McCarron - Daniel Carr
Mike Reilly - Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner - Noah Juulsen
Jordie Benn - Brett Lernout
The Habs are heading into this game well into the tanking part of their schedule. They’ve shut down their three best players (Carey Price, Shea Weber, Max Pacioretty) and seem content to play the kids that they have, see who sticks, and maximize their shots at getting Rasmus Dahlin. That said, they won’t roll over and die, and they do still have some talented forwards in their lineup.
Jonathan Drouin isn’t a centre, but he does have immense skill. He’s not put it together, and his stats are always worse than you expect from a player like him, but he is capable of dominating a game. Brendan Gallagher, Artturi Lehkonen, and Charles Hudon can also be scary at times, and possess enough talent to steal a game from a better team.
However, the forward depth on this team is truly awful, especially right now. de la Rose is a 4th line centre who is played vastly over his head. McCarron is probably not even a NHLer. The bottom six on this lineup is putrid, and the defence corps are really nothing to write home about either, without Weber to prop them up. Petry is nice, Juulsen is young and promising, and the rest are varying shades of mediocre.
Niemi has quietly turned around his year, after a putrid start to the season... he’s playing for a contract, and might just get it with how he’s ended the year.
On the Leafs side of things, the health of Auston Matthews, Nikita Zaitsev, and Frederik Andersen is still unclear. With the Leafs locked into their position, there’s no need to rush any of them back. We will update this post with information as we get it.
Mike Babcock updates on #Leafs: Nikita Zaitsev and Frederik Andersen skated today, won’t play. Leo Komarov is day to day, won’t play. Auston Matthews getting close, won’t play.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) March 17, 2018
So it looks like we’re getting close to full health, but not quite there yet.