I'M BACK (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)


Finally, a new post about a Leaf game! It has been quiet some time since I last wrote a blog, just over a week ago. During my time off, the Leafs played good and forgettable hockey. But, their opponent tomorrow night is once again the Chara-less Bruins. Oh boy.

Background Info

Because I missed four games, I will quickly describe them. One Tuesday, they allowed a sub-par Coyotes team to get to them early and the Leafs could not come from behind. Two days later, the Avs battled the Buds hard and made them lose Winnik and Gardiner to injuries, Fortunately, they ended up with a pity point. Then the Leafs made better strides in two back to back wins against the Rangers (as seen above) and the Sens (a game postponed due to the Ottawa shootings). 

By weekends end, Komarov was the hottest news on Twitter, Holland was praised for his improvements, and depth was proven to be a clear strength of this squad. While shots against continues to be a problem, it hasn't truly been an area for concern yet. 

That may be something the Leafs should be concerned with come Wednesday, cause the Bruins are playing pretty good right now. Heading into this one, they are riding a 5 game winning streak (what?) and have proven to the league that they are still an elite Stanley Cup favorite. 

Oh, and this is my 50th blog since the site has been up. So I'm glad we have come this far all thanks to you guys!

Projected Lineups

Forwards

JVR-Bozak-Kessel
Panik-Kadri-Clarkson
Komarov-Holland-Santorelli
Winnik-Smith-Leivo

Defense

Phaneuf-Robidas
Gardiner-Franson
Rielly-Polak

Goalies

Bernier
Reimer

Scratches

Ashton, Percy, Carrick, Kozun (injured), Booth (injured), Lupul (injured)

3 Keys to Victory

1) Take advantage of Rask. Why I say this is because the Bruins Vezina winner is having a slow start to the season. Normally a consistently effective goalie with strong numbers, he currently boosts a disappointing .909 SV% and 2.44 GAA. For a team whose window of opportunity is closing, these are poor numbers that should be get the Leafs excited. This is because this is potentially the only weakness to the Bruins at this time, so getting tons of shots and finding the back of the net will be very helpful in getting the win.

2) Slow down the young guns. While the Bruins may not have Chara working the back end, they are still winning games. How so? Well, the team has young players like Soderberg, Griffith, and Fraser leading the offensive charge. That is a scary sight, considering how balanced the team already is. If the Leafs want any chance of coming away with a win, they will need to step up big time defensively. No if ands or buts. Otherwise, its going to be a repeat of the last match-up.

3) Bernier/Reimer needs to stand tall. Speaking of defense, either one of these goalies will be given the start in manning the pipes. No matter who it will be, both need to be nothing short of spectacular. I get it, goaltending is always the jey to winning games . But this one is especially important. If the Leafs don't give either netminders support, they could be on the wrong end of spectrum in terms of winning and losing (unless the Chicago game dilemma returns).

Predictions

I think that this will be very tight defensively for most of the game. Someone will break through by the third period and win with a two goal advantage. There may be some rough stuff all around, but it should be an exciting game to watch.

#TMLIMO

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