Now we can say it with some real enthusiasm: Hockey is back!
After enduring what seemed to be an endless string of pre-season games, the Montreal Canadiens will finally play their first of the regular season (and first of a 3-game road trip) in Toronto tonight at 7 PM EDT. I've had my calendar marked for this one a couple of months already. It seems surreal at this point in the day that hockey will be back... but it is. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Canadiens continue their campaign for a Stanley Cup.
Although this is a brand new season, the truth of the matter is that the Habs are coming into tonight's game with unfinished business in mind. Two seasons in a row, the Canadiens advanced past the first round of the playoffs, and seemed poised for more than the finishes they ended up with. With all of the core players having gone through the process of playing through the hope and disappointment of strong playoff runs, this is a Canadiens team that is utterly focused on being ready to play every single night, with the ultimate goal of pushing farther than they have as a franchise in over 20 years.
The Leafs, on the other hand, are a team starting from scratch. A team without an identity at the moment (unless you want to attribute the entirety of the team's identity to its coach, Mike Babcock) the Toronto Maple Leafs start their 2015-16 campaign with the goal of playing hockey that means something, and making their organization proud. It would be a good start if the Leafs can take advantage of their home-opener to boost them to a win tonight.
The puck drops at 7PM EDT.
How To Watch:
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
In Canada (French): TVA Sport
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
Some things to watch for tonight:
- This is Max Pacioretty's first official game as the Captain of the Montreal Canadiens. It is also his 400th career NHL game (all played of course with the Habs)
- Tomas Plekanec's next goal or assist will be his 500th NHL point (202G, 292A).
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Lars Eller||Alex Galchenyuk||Alexander Semin|
|Tomas Fleischmann||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Brian Flynn||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, Paul Byron
Injuries: Michael Bournival (post-concussion syndrome)
|James Van Riemsdyk||Nazem Kadri||Brad Boyes|
|Shawn Matthias||Tyler Bozak||Joffrey Lupul|
|Daniel Winnik||Nick Spaling||P.A. Parenteau|
|Leo Komarov||Peter Holland||Mark Arcobello|
|Matt Hunwick||Dion Phaneuf|
|Martin Marincin||Morgan Rielly|
|Jake Gardiner||Scott Harrington|
Injuries: Stephan Robidas (undisclosed)
Check out the enemy over at Pension Plan Puppets.