The Maple Leafs will honour Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour and Joe Nieuwendyk prior to puckdrop tonight, as the trio will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. The name Doug Gilmour speaks for itself in this city, and while perhaps better known as a Chicago Blackhawk, Dallas Star, or Calgary Flame respectively, the other two also gave the Toronto faithful some special moments, particularly for the younger generation of Leafs fans whose best playoff memories involve names like Ed Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk. It should be an electric atmosphere in the ACC prior to puck drop; let’s hope the home side can feed off of the energy on this special Hockey Night in Canada.
The Leafs turn back to Ben Scrivens between the pipes after the rookie stole a win in St. Louis with 42 saves and a flawless shootout performance. In Reimer’s absence the Leafs’ goaltending situation has run the gamut from decent enough, to disastrous, to winning them games, so let’s hope we get the Scrivens we saw against Columbus and St. Louis tonight against Ottawa.
This is the third meeting between the provincial rivals in the span of about five weeks, with the season series sitting at 1-1 entering tonight’s tilt. The Senators stole one on October 30 after a softie from sideboards went through on Gustavsson and proved to be the difference. The Leafs’ penalty kill was scored on twice while the Leafs failed to convert on a flurry of third period chances.
The win marked the Senators’ sixth straight victory at the time, but they have since returned to reality with a 0-4-1 record in their last five. So far the Sens look to be an up and down team riding waves of confidence and momentum, characteristic of their youthful makeup. Let’s hope the Leafs kick ’em while they’re down as opposed to pointing them back in the right direction.
Chris Neil, whose moronic antics benefited the Leafs greatly in their first meeting, will be out of the lineup injured. Carkner remains out as well, so the Leafs won’t insert Rosehill or Orr into the lineup. As Wilson put it, the Leafs “will go with the fastest, quickest lineup that we can and try and play our game.”