This is it. The final countdown. The last Leafs game of the regular season. And what a season. What happens tonight cannot change the fact that the Leafs are going to the playoffs next week, though their opponent is amazingly still to be decided based on other games tonight, and possibly Sunday.
However, the last hurdle still must be dealt with, and this is a hurdle the Leafs should want to convincingly clear to punctuate what a great season it has been.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens
7:00PM - Air Canada Centre
Broadcast: CBC Hockey Night in Canada
Opponent’s SB Nation site: Eyes on the Prize
Remember all those years where the season ending game against the Habs featured a defeated and broken shell of a Leafs team mailing it in while their minds were already on a golf course in West Palm? Those days are long gone. Though I do wonder if Andreas Johnsson even knows how to play golf. [Editor’s Note: Could be he does.]
In any case, tonight the Leafs end their regular season playing a defeated and broken shell of a Canadiens team. It’s so bad in Montreal there are serious proposals to make Patrick Roy the General Manager.
No, really. This is real. Someone at a major media organization wrote about that and it was published. That’s how far gone the Habs are.
Can you imagine Roy as a GM? His first act would probably be to go full Lamoriello; fire Julien, which is a good idea, then appoint himself as head coach. Think of how much fun it would be to have Roy behind the bench at every game, screaming at his own players and telling them they would be traded later that night.
Roy for GM. Il est temps.
If only we would be so lucky. Unfortunately, Roy says he doesn’t actually want the job because the team’s culture is too docile or something.
Hopefully they are docile tonight, and our stars get out of this without injury.
Toronto Maple Leafs lines (morning skate)
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Mitch Marner
James van Dreamsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Leo Komarov - Tomas Plekanec - Kasperi Kapanen
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Roman Polak
Andreas Johnsson, Dominic Moore, Josh Leivo, Matt Martin, Connor Carrick
Montreal Canadiens lines (previous game)
Paul Byron - Jonathan Drouin - Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk - Jacob de la Rose - Artturi Lehkonen
Kerby Rychel - Logan Shaw - Nikita Scherbak
Nicolas Deslauriers - Michael McCarron Daniel Carr
Jordie Benn - Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner - Noah Juulsen
Mike Reilly - Brett Lernout
(Habs starting goaltender not confirmed)
The Habs stars are all either injured or ‘injured,’ so they added a bunch of ex-Marlies and players you have never heard of to their roster because “Fallin’ for Dahlin” is in vogue, though the we all know the Oilers will somehow get him and ruin his career too.
It’s the last game of the regular season and the Leafs are going to the playoffs regardless. If you want to watch a real hockey game tonight it will begin at 9:00 PM in Denver where the Blues face the Avalanche. If the Avalanche win in regulation they go to the playoffs, but any other result means the Blues go the playoffs, and the Avalanche go golfing. It’s going to be one hell of a game and you will be forgiven for ducking out early on the Leafs to watch it.