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Preview: Maple Leafs head to Montreal for preseason game against the Canadiens

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There’s first of four games for Mike Babcock and Kyle Dubas to sort out the Leafs lines is tonight.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
“NHL Preseason game action at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.”
Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Preseason Game Five: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
Game time: 7:00 p.m. on TSN4
Opponent Site: Eyes On The Prize

Preseason is coming to a close this week. Tonight’s game is the first of two against the Canadiens before the Leafs wrap things up against the Red Wings on Friday and Saturday.

The Leafs Roster

The Game and The Cuts

You have to expect the final round of cuts is almost here. Tonight’s lineup is almost entirely players who are under consideration to be sent to the AHL, but, yes, they do meet the “veteran rule” with this lineup. You can thank Ben Harpur and his 103 NHL games played. That being said I’m not sure there’s any skater who was a fixture on the Leafs last season there, unless you want to count Justin Holl and his 103 games scratched in the press box in that group.

Most of these players will be sent to the Marlies this season, with a small number having a chance to come back to the NHL under various circumstances later on in the season.

None of this means there won’t be some line combinations worth watching tonight. A potential line of Bracco-Brooks-Korshkov would be fun to see, and Kenny Agostino seems to have emerged as the dark horse everyone wants to somehow make the team. I think it’s do or die night for Pontus Aberg.

The goalies are at an interesting juncture. We are still not clear where Michal Neuvirth will land in the organisation, if at all. I don’t think he will ultimately be signed, but there’s still no confirmation Michael Hutchinson is locked in as the backup. Leafs’ management may want to have one last look at Neuvirth and Hutchinson tonight to make sure they make the correct decision.

Tonight’s lineup also means the home game on Wednesday will likely be a near complete Maple Leafs NHL players lineup. If you have acquired cheap tickets for that game, good for you, you’re in for a show.

The Habs

The Habs are already well into trimming their roster and they will have a lot of their core group out on the ice tonight.

First, yes, the Habs are using Comic Sans as one of the fonts on their roster announcements. Second, there’s nothing comical about Carey Price in net, nor the group they will be putting out against our less than best players. This could be a rough game to watch.

Keep your eye on Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He made his NHL debut last season as an 18 year old and scored 11 goals and 23 assists in 79 games. 2017 NHL Draft first-round pick Ryan Poehling made his NHL debut at the very end of last season, scoring a hat trick against the Leafs, but will sit out tonight after suffering a concussion in a preseason game against the Panthers.


If you want some quick takes on the Habs and more, don’t forget to check out the latest podcast from Arvind, Fulemin, and special guest Alan (@loserpoints) talking about the Atlantic Division.

UPDATE:

No one yet knows who this mystery man is, and Hutchinson might be it for the game tonight. No word yet on Neuvirth.

Ignore that lineup that was here, I had an old tweet. RTers are evil people. Mark Masters gives numbers, he is not evil.