I went to the Leafs game last night. Great game – the Leafs played pretty well, and Mikael Tellqvist was great in net. Brendan Bell made his NHL debut in place of new daddy Wade Belak, and I thought he played very well – some nice hits, a couple of shots on net, he looked pretty comfortable out there. Jeff O’Neill had a pretty good game as well, with two assists, and Jason Allison scored the game winner, though I thought he made a lot of sloppy passes. Mats Sundin was a non-factor once again – in the new higher-scoring NHL, Mats has only 17 goals and 36 assists.
Montreal lost last night, so the Leafs gained 2 points on them and are now only 4 back. Their next 2 games are both against Montreal, so they could be tied by Sunday; however, we also have to hope that Atlanta starts losing as well. Beating Montreal for 9th place while Atlanta takes 8th doesn’t help much.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the worst thing to happen to the Leafs this year would be to make the playoffs, since it would give management the ability to claim that the team just needs a tweak here and there, rather than a complete overhaul. I still believe that, but as a lifelong Leafs fan, it’s awfully hard to hope for them to lose.