Here we go - the age old conundrum for Leafs fans. About this time of year, early in the season, when the Leafs have done well, out come the naysayers. The oh-so-easy predictions of crushings. Take tonight's tilt against the Lightning, whose top draft pick (and the league's) is struggling, and what is available to read or watch...? That the Leafs will finally fall apart, especially since their coach has offered some platitudes this past week.
Put away the wishes of Taveres and let's get back to what Coach Wilson has been saying since Day One: that our forwards' speed will cause enough mayhem in the opposing end as to allow for an occasional defensive lapse. It's nice to see a Leafs team that is not constantly back-peddling, on the ice, in fact. The team has been winning not only due to the superb play of Toskala, but because they've been sticking to a plan and having fun while doing so. Ask Moore.
I still say it's time for Blake to break out and deliver a multi-goal game. Lightning players have enjoyed the glory of sipping from the Cup but bask in the sun, which I suppose isn't such a bad thing, and I'm waging the Leafs are tougher than most critics suspect. Hollweg is proving to be an inspiration - and other players are certainly stepping up in the toughness department ... vacated by the departure of Tucker, and previously by Domi.
In the vein of predictions, I think Antropov will continue his shooting from a distance coming in off the wing, and score occasionally, that may or may not rub off on Poni, but it's Hagman who will start producing shortly in the goal department, and that will definitely rub off on Kulemin - one of the few snipers on the team, in my humble opinion.
I'd like to see a few more booming slapshots from the point , however, and especially during powerplays. My guess is that everyone wants to see that as well. Yet Van Ryn is proving valuable indeed in more ways than one. Tonight, though, I'm paying special attention to Finger. I'll assume he was rusty last game, though certainly saved the game at the goal line in the third. Oh well, that's what he's paid for, apparently.
Steen from Moore. Then Antropov from Poni. Blake from Mayers. That's my crystal ball for the first three goals. If the Lightning recover, I'll be surprised.