With the Toronto Maple Leafs opening up the season last night with a shutout win against the Montreal Canadiens, they have gotten the crucial first win out of the way early and hope to build on as the month of October rolls on.
The Leafs have not had that much success in the month of October during the past few seasons. It is one of the reasons that they have not taken part in the playoffs in that time period. This year, if the Leafs want any chance at the playoffs, they will have to improve their record at the start of the season.
The Leafs play 11 games in the month of October, including last night’s game. The next four games are home before the Leafs finally head out on the road. The Leafs need to take advantage of these first five home games and come out with a winning record. A 5-0 record would be nice, but 4-1 would suffice.
After a look at all 29 other NHL teams, I have made a list of teams who they should beat, teams they should lose against, and teams they could win or lose against. Of course, the Leafs will win some of the games they should lose and lose a few of the games they should win, but looking at the season this way could at least give us a clearer picture of how the Leafs will do this season.
With that in mind, here is the Leafs schedule in October and the result that is most likely to happen.
October 6th- vs. Montreal- MAYBE
The Leafs won last night and hopefully continue that trend in the next five games against the Canadiens this season.
October 8th- vs. Ottawa- SHOULD WIN
Without a doubt, the Leafs and almost every other team should have an easy win against Ottawa, but that’s not to say they won’t give a few good teams headaches.
October 15th- vs. Calgary- MAYBE
Toronto and Calgary are very much in the same situation in their respective conferences. Calgary will give the Leafs a fight and hopefully the Leafs home ice advantage will help be up for the challenge.
October 17th- vs. Colorado- SHOULD WIN
The Leafs will have to go up against the Ave’s young guns, and both team’s goalies are under a lot of pressure to succeed this season. The Leafs should be able to beat Colorado if they can stop Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny.
October 19th- vs. Winnipeg- SHOULD WIN
They might be in a new city and go by a new name, but the Winnipeg Jets are still last years Atlanta Thrashers, and until they can prove that they are ready to take the next step, the Leafs are still the better team.
October 20th- @ Boston- SHOULD LOSE
In their first game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Leafs will face their first big challenge of the season. Hopefully the Leafs record before this game is good because this should be a difficult game to win.
What will the Leafs record be at the end of October?
October 22nd- @ Montreal- MAYBE
The Habs will be eager to get back at the Leafs for last night.
October 24th- @ Philadelphia- MAYBE
With the Leafs and Flyers splitting their two preseason games, the Leafs could be on even ground with the Flyers, That’s most likely more bad news for Philly rather than good news for the Leafs.
October 27th- @ New York Rangers- MAYBE
Another team who the Leafs will be fighting for a playoff spot, the Leafs will be looking to make Brad Richards wish he came to Toronto. OK, maybe they won’t, but it would be nice for us Leaf fans.
October 29th- vs. Pittsburgh- SHOULD LOSE
Crosby or no Crosby, the Leafs will face a tough test with Evgeni Malkin back in the line-up.
October 30th- @ Ottawa- SHOULD WIN
There you go, if the Leafs were to win all the games they should win, they will have won five games with the addition of last nights win. With only two games that they should lose, they would be 5-2.
With four more games with results that could go either way, if the Leafs could split those games, they would end the month of October with a 7-4 record and that would be good a good start for the Leafs.