Despite the manner in which the week took such a steep downward turn after the Washington and Boston come-from-behind wins, emerging from a four game set against the Eastern Conference’s top four teams at 2-2 cannot be viewed as a total disaster when looking at the big picture. More concerning, looking at the particulars, is that the four games started out similarly – with the Leafs down more than one goal early – and what transpired in a pitiful last 120 minutes of hockey seemed to be reality bearing out, with the Leafs going quietly into the night with as much conviction as a soggy waffle after a couple of miraculous comebacks.
Tonight is a battle of the best and worst of the Northeast Division between age old rivals Habs and Leafs and in that respective order, unfortunately for Leafs fans. The goal starved Leafs will take on a Montreal outfit that’s allowed only one goal in three of their past four. Carey Price will man the posts for the Habs and is the next in line among the strong goaltenders the Leafs are contending with in the Northeast (Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller). He boasts a .935 save percentage this season, a 17-8-2 record, four shutouts and has been solid against the Leafs in recent times. Update: Word is Alex Auld is getting the call for the Habs, who hasn’t been bad himself in two appearances, posting a .950 SV%. The Habs are a good defensive team.
Ron Wilson will surprisingly stick with Jean Sebastien Giguere, who had among his worst performances of the season on Thursday against Philly. Brett Lebda will also remain in the lineup, making one wonder just how much longer opportunity has to be given to recent FA additions before it’s no longer disrespectful.
A Saturday nighter against the Habs will hopefully bring out the best of the understandably frustrated ACC crowd. With the different trajectories these two teams are traveling this season, the Blue and White sure need any help they can get.