The Canadiens are in Hogtown for a big one tonight. Michael Ryder is off the first line. Guillaume Latendresse takes his place. Carey Price in goal. The Leafs desperately need a win.
With all the hoopla about Guy Lafleur saying the Habs looked like a bunch of fourth-liners on Saturday night, it's easy to forget that maybe they did. That was a brutal showing by the home team. After coming out of the gates strong, they faltered big-time and barely showed up for most of the night.
Saku Koivu replied to #10's barb by saying "I don't think a team of fourth liners would have the best power-play in the NHL."
However, if the Canadiens continue to perform the way they did during Saturday night's game, they can kiss the #1 PP tag goodbye very soon.
Teams are letting the Habs do whatever they want on the perimeter and checking them tightly down low during man-advantage situations. The Habs need to find a way to respond to this and soon. What happened to the one-timer?
If anything can make Canadiens fans feel a bit better about what's been going on with the team in the last few days, it's the State of the Crown Jewel of MLSE, the Smurfs they call a hockey team at the ACC.
Mats Sundin is basically a one-man show this year and life for Paul Maurice, who should never have taken the job in the first place, and John Ferguson Jr, is not getting any easier. The Leafs solutions to their problems have long been veteran free-agents and trading for veteran talent. There are very few homegrown prospects succeeding in the organization. The future looks grim. JFJ will be the first to go, unless he offers up Maurice as a sacrificial lamb. It's not Maurice's fault he's been given shoddy personnel to work with during his tenure in Toronto.
It's a must-win game for both teams, much more so for the Leafs, here's hoping the Habs blow them out of the water and things start to change in the front office of one of the sorriest franchises in the NHL.
Andrei Markov needs to get rolling offensively!! The Habs early success coincided with him averaging basically a point per game. During their recent slide he has been virtually invisible offensively.
A quick NFL note: Safety Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound after a home invasion. How do NFL players always seem to get caught up in this stuff? I will remember Taylor as one of the hardest hitting players I've ever seen, a guy who made receivers think twice before catching a deep ball or a ball across the middle. It's a sad sad story, and one we've heard far too often.