After 137 days off, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play their first game against another NHL team - the catch is it doesn’t count. The Leafs will play the Montreal Canadiens tonight at 8:00 PM to warm up ahead of the start of the 2020 NHL Playoffs (or qualifying round if you want to be exact). Everyone was excited for this game, but now Leafs fans are getting themselves all worked up because the most exciting prospect the Leafs have drafted since Mitch Marner will play in his first NHL game tonight.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens
8:00 PM - Eastern Hub City Arena
TV: Sportsnet One, TVA Sports, NHL Network
Radio: 680 News
Opponents: Eyes on the Prize
Yes, it’s correct, even though the game is at the Maple Leafs home, Scotiabank Arena, the Montreal Canadiens will play the role of home team. This means they’ll get the last line change before face-offs, their goal horn will sound after they score, and I assume they still play U2’s Vertigo because they have such a hard time letting go of anything past it’s prime in that town.
The big story coming into tonight’s game was the fact there was a game tonight, but last night Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said that Nick Robertson will play in tonight's game.
Sheldon Keefe also confirmed what was obvious, which is that Nick Robertson will play tomorrow night for #Leafs vs. Montreal.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 27, 2020
"He is the one guy we've had eyes on throughout this."
The Leafs sent Robertson back to the OHL’s Peterborough Petes before any exhibition games were played in September, and Kyle Dubas has expressed regret at not giving him a chance then. Now Robertson is getting that chance to show he can beat our Frederik Gauthier, Nic Petan, and Denis Malgin for one of the final forward spots.
Normally teams get way too many pre-season games to warm up and figure things out, but this...year? Section? Mini-Season? Anyway right now all they get is one, so I’m going to assume the line up we’ll see tonight will be the line up we’ll see on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Speaking of those lines, here’s where we’re at for tonight's game (teams are allowed to dress 20 skaters):
Toronto Maple Leafs Lines
From practice yesterday
William Nylander - Auston Matthews - Zach Hyman
Ilya Mikheyev - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson - Alex Kerfoot - Kasperi Kapanen
Kyle Clifford - Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly - Cody Ceci
Travis Dermott - Tyson Barrie
Extras on the official roster are Martin Marincin and Frederik Gauthier, so Rasmus Sandin will not play.
Ilya Mikheyev and Cody Ceci return from injury for tonight’s game, and Mikheyev has been reintroducing himself to Leafs Nation throughout training camp.
Montreal Canadiens lines:
From practice yesterday
Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin - Nick Suzuki - Joel Armia
Paul Byron - Jesper Kotkaniemi - Artturi Lehkonen
Dale Weise - Max Domi - Jordan Weal
Ben Chiarot - Shea Weber
Brent Kulak - Jeff Petry
Maximme Ouellet - Victor Mete
I haven’t looked at the Montreal Canadiens roster in a long, long, time and I have to say, if the Maple Leafs lose this game it’ll be a shame. It’s just a bunch of names thrown together and I think I recognize a couple of them.
The Canadiens should just be happy to be here, coming in to the tournament as the lowest ranked team and having to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
I sound cocky but that was before I looked up the two teams’ records against each other this season and...yikes. The Canadiens won the season series 3-0 - starting with the infamous Kasperi Kapanen thrown stick incident:
Hopefully Kapanen hangs onto his equipment tonight.
This is it folks. The game starts an hour later than usual, the Leafs are visitors in their own home, but we have a Maple Leafs hockey game on TV tonight.
How many goals will Nick Robertson score tonight?
|Just one. He’ll make a nice humble debut
|Two for a great debut!
|A hat trick for the new kid.
|He’s going to pull an Auston Matthews.
|None. I’m a boring realist who has accepted he’ll play 7 minutes tonight