Puck Drop: 7PM Eastern TV: Leafs TV

Tonight the Leafs travel to the land of Jeff Dunham's core demographic to take on the suddenly punchless Hurricanes in what has the potential to be the worst hockey game any of us will ever watch. Some may point to the fact that Carolina has gone 0-7-3 in their last ten and are without their entire first line of Eric Staal, Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu, to say that this is a game Toronto will win. Update: Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu now expected to play tonight.

I won't say that because Toronto has been a worse team than Carolina so far this season. I will say that if Toronto loses this game for any reason, including but not limited to:

  • Leafs play "really well" but settle for an OTL
  • Leafs play crummy but Gustavsson bails them out.
  • Refs spot Carolina a four goal lead before the first.
  • Meteor hits Toronto locker room giving everyone the space flu/

Then I'm getting ready for next season. It's not hubris, by no means do I think the Leafs have any game in the bag, it's just that if after a stretch of strong play from the Leafs that's seen them lose plenty of games they "deserved to win" I won't have a lot of hope if they can't come out breathing fire tonight. This is the chance for Toronto to put a win on the board and at this point: any game where that's the case becomes a must win. In November.

Professional dipshit Paul Maurice is still inexplicably the coach of the Hurricanes and despite their equally as blowful as Toronto start he had this to say:

"I know you're going to mock me for this but I'm going to give it to you anyway," he said Thursday. "Our feeling is that our goal is to make the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup."

Good to see that Paul Maurice has learned from his mistakes. Let's hope he goes to some of his other bad habits like putting out the wrong line late in the game and conceding lots of late period goals. Almost more than I want a win I want to see Paul Maurice on Leafs TV making clever quips about how bad his team is, except unlike the two years we watched of that I want to see it from the winning team's side.

@jonas640: Looks like Gustavsson will start. Unconfirmed as of yet.

Update 2: Ron Wilson has confirmed Gustavsson's start.

Reminder: Gameday thread starts at 6:30, and don't forget your SPG picks. I'll edit this post with starting goaltenders and lines when I know them.