The young Toronto Maple Leafs look to bounce back from another disappointing effort when they take on the New York Islanders on the island tonight.
There is a lot of talk about the reffing in last nights game against the Canadiens with a terrible call on a Mike Brown hit in the 1st period that saw the Buds down a man for 5 mins, and Brown ejected from the game, as well as an unfair faceoff in the 3rd that was not blown dead and lead to the Habs' go ahead goal. I was at the game last night, and although both of those calls were terrible, so was the Leafs' play considering the stakes in the game. At one point in the second period, I looked at the shot clock to see a 29 to 8 advantage for Montreal. The team was flat, their forecheck was non-existant and instead of getting pucks to the net, they were trying fancy passing plays that just lead to turnovers. They deserved to lose and they did. Definately a missed opportunity to utilize a rowdy crowd at the ACC on Crown Royal night (2 free shots for each adult)!
Moving on, two things this Leafs team has done consistantly this year is bounce back from a bad outing, and play a strong road game. Hopefully this can continue tonight against a team that buried them the last time they met 7 - 3 at the ACC (I was there that night too... maybe I'm the problem?)
Some things that can give the boys in blue some jump tonight are the possible returns of James Reimer and Matt Frattin to the lineup. Carlyle hinted that Optimus Reim could get the start in Long Island, and Frattin has been practicing with the team and has been cleared for contact. The return of Frattin could re-unite the trio of Frattin-Kadri-Kormarov, who have been effective both at the NHL and AHL level this year. I'm sure playing with Orr has made Nazzie feel safe, but it hasn't given him much to work with offensively. Another question has to be if there will be any changes to the defense. With losses in two of the last three and Liles sitting in the press box, does someone come out? Who? Holzer seems to have had a rough couple of games, so he'd be my pick.
Possible Line Combos:
Heres to another bounce back? I hope so!