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Preview: Maple Leafs vs Red Wings

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Win this one 3-0 or be cut.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings: 7:30 p.m.

Sportsnet 1, Fox Sports-Detroit, NHL Network

Winging it without any actual players to speak of

The Maple Leafs are going to Detroit for the second last game of preseason. This is game one of a back-to-back home-and-home against the Red Wings. Now, who is even on that team these days...

Val Filppula! The only old guy the Islanders didn’t sign to 7 years last summer, and he’s moved on. Jake De La Rose, he gets around, I guess the Habs figured out he’s not French. Frans Nielsen, Freddie’s old buddy from back home, and I do mean old. Oh, hey, he’d under contract through age 37. That works out well, honest, ask Kyle Dubas how you get out from under that kind of deal.

On defence the Wings have... uh... Mike Green. Wait Trevor Daley is still playing? Good for him. He’s half of the Wings D aged 35.

And in net, the Wings have Jimmy Howard, who was one of the best goalies who got no respect last year. And they also have Jonathan Bernier, and my goodness, I forgot they signed Calvin Pickard. I don’t hold it against him that I said i liked him, and he was bad. But I do want the Leafs to beat him if he’s in net tonight.

But before you get laughing too hard at all of that, the Wings are a team. Never forget that. They will play responsible, boring hockey, mess with the Leafs transition and neutral zone play and just generally annoy the crap out of all of us. But they rarely score goals. They were 10th in goals for last year. From the bottom of course. And they had an amazing -50 goal differential.

The Red Wings, for reasons only they know, are packing in a four-in-four schedule, something you can’t even do in the AHL. (These guys are not spry enough for the AHL.) They’re actually playing six preseason games in seven days, and their equipment staff should go on strike. A few of the young guys from last night’s game are in again.

There’s four Leafs goalies in this game too, and a lot of Red Wings prospects including this year’s interesting draft pick Moritz Seider. Okay, there’s a lot of guys I’ve never heard of too.

Today’s playing rosters will be made up from this one posted by Lance Hornby:

RASMUS SANDIN with the AHL crew? What is happening? OMG. Everyone run in circles.

You know, I don’t know. But I see Kivihalme here too, and of course Marincin. This game absolutely is make or break for all of these guys who want to earn the extremely temporary depth positions on the Leafs. Maybe the idea is to see Sandin without high-end forwards and the low-end forwards with some skill on defence.

Michael Hutchinson gets this game to prove he’s the backup the Leafs should stick with and also that they should not go looking for another option on waivers (or the more probable via trade).

Judging someone on a few preseason games isn’t fair, but the Leafs have to choose, and they have to do it soon. As for Hutchinson, the Leafs should find another goalie better than Kasimir Kaskisuo even if they do think Hutchinson is good enough.

For the skaters on the bubble, if they want a serious shot on the Leafs, they’re going to have to play this game like they belong on the Leafs. It’s interesting that Timashov got shunted over to this game and not Egor Korshkov who looks to be playing with the big boys tomorrow.

That’s all for now, we’ll update you with anything interesting and you’re free to drop by at game time to chat about this penultimate preseason matchup.

Until then, Go Leafs Go!