Okay, tonight should be winnable. SHOULD be.
While the Oilers are riding a small winning streak they are on the final game of a road trip and will be playing their 2nd game in as many nights. When combined with the hope that the Leafs are due for a win and everything should be roses.
Toronto, on the other hand, is well rested and should be not run into trouble with the less than stellar defensive zone coverage and goaltending that Edmonton has had this year. That being said, the Leafs seem to revel in raising a goalies confidence by aiming every shot into the crest or a mile wide of the net.
This, I am sure, is part of a plan to make goalies overconfident so late in the game they will not be ready to extend a limb to stop the puck. Sadly this plan doesn’t always work, so the obvious solution is to take even more shots and maybe even adopt the Jason Blake philosophy of taking weak wristers from the perimeter until the goalie is to tired to continue and collapses in exhaustion.
There is a flaw to this plan of course; you must get upwards of 100 shots on both the starter and the backup who is sure to take over after the first 2 or 3 goals.
Luckily for the Leafs there is a strong chance of lucky goals as the Edmonton Goaltenders Association has what appears to be a strict “Save Cap” requiring goalies to let at least one goal in for every 10 shots, give or take. Surely this will have to be renegotiated when the CBA is up, but for now it should be clear sailing for the Leafs.
One thing I would advise against would be the Leafs spending another 8 games worth of favour from the Hockey Gods, as they did vs. Florida on Oct. 26th of this season. The results were positive short term, but a little less so in the long run. I can’t remember exactly what happened after that fateful night thanks to a lot of practice repressing memories in recent years.
Of course, if things go bad you can always tune into Ottawa vs San Jose for what is sure to be a delight as Danny Heatley returns to his old home. It will be quite enjoyable to see Ottawa fans in pain, knowing what they once had and lost for pretty much nothing.
The best part: The best sniper in franchise history (not that that is saying much) will forever be a black stain on the team, not to mention a fun topic of conversation to bring up with each and every Sens fan.
Maybe even ahead of Yashin… I wonder who will turn on them next, don’t let me down Karlsson.