The Toronto Maple Leafs tank-job of a season rolls into Montreal tonight where they square off against the rival Canadiens. If it looked like it couldn’t get any worse for the Leafs this season, management came out and said Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf aren’t in the plans for the future. That is probably what the fan base wanted to hear, and dumping Kessel and Phaneuf will definitely be better for the Leafs in the long run. However, that can’t be good for team moral for the rest of the season. Management has essentially said we are giving up on this season and looking at the future, and guess what, some of the players on the team right now aren’t going to be around for those plans. That cannot be good for what the rest of the year has in store for the Leafs. I can guarantee you the only thing that motivates those two currently is playing out their time in Toronto and looking good for other teams. At this point in their careers, I don’t know if that is enough to make them want to show up every night. Quite a sad state of affairs in Toronto after they looked good earlier. For the rest of the season, expect the Leafs as a whole to be playing for a draft pick.
This looks like the perfect opportunity for the Candiens to mash the Leafs around in Montreal. The Leafs are down on their luck and the Canadiens have a quality team ready to go into the playoffs and compete. The question would be if Montreal is motivated to play the Leafs tonight. But of course they should be looking forward to embarrassing their rivals tonight on Hockey Night in Canada. If the Leafs didn’t come out and basically said we quit on this season they may have cared tonight. However, I am not sure if they are going to be up for this one. Let’s look at this match-up a little closer.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
It was previously just the defense that didn’t do anything for the Leafs, now the uselessness has come full circle. No energy, no fire, or much of anything coming from the Leafs. I thought maybe after they played the Oilers off the ice and competed against the Rangers things would start to pick up for the Leafs. They came back and loss another in their following game against the Islanders. The Leafs are now 1-13 in their last fourteen. Remember when they beat the Kings and Ducks out west on that road trip? People were planning the parade route. Not so fast, soon after that this tailspin began. How quickly emotions change being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs at that time were at the top of the NHL in total offense, they have now slipped to 15th in the league. They’re averaging 2.79 goals per game. In their last ten games they’ve averaged 2 goals a game, a number that is skewed higher due to the 5 goals against the Oilers and 4 against the Rangers. Other than that the offense has been abysmal. Defensively they haven’t been any better and haven’t improved any since the start of the season. They are 25th in total defense in the NHL, and have allowed 3 goals per game in their last ten games.
The Canadiens are sitting mighty comfortably with a record of 35-15-3-1. The Habs have made all the right moves the past few seasons, while the Leafs are still trying to figure it all out. They welcome a Leafs team that is 7-17-2 on the road this year. I really don’t see how Toronto is going to get an offensive attack going tonight. Kessel is on the 4th line and there isn’t much of any offense on any of the other lines. The Canadiens are 1st in the NHL in goals against, allowing only 2.24 goals a game. Additionally, they have been on fire recently. Their last ten games has yielded only 1.70 goals against. The Canadiens lost in pretty bad fashion to the Oilers in OT their last time out, the same team the Leafs destroyed. I am pretty certain that they will come back strong tonight against their rivals who are absolutely down on their luck. We’ll play the Canadiens for plus odds on -1.5.
Pick – CANADIENS -1.5 (+131) 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)