Game Day vs The Stanley Cup Champs…

The Leafs are in Washington tonight.  Game time is 7pm on CBC. Here are a few notes:

  • Patrick Marleau has played a whopping 70 games against the Caps.
  • Toronto’s last win over the Caps on the road came on Oct. 17, 2017 when Toronto blanked Washington 2-0.
  • Nikita Zaitsev leads the team in blocked shots.
  • The Leafs are 5-for-9 (55.6%) on the power play the past three games.
  • The Leafs have taken their shots from an average distance of 31.5 feet from goal, which is the fourth-closest average shot distance in the NHL.
  • Auston Matthews has nine goals in his last five games.  Last person to do it? Alex Ovechkin, last season.

Auston Matthews In Select Company…

In the last 30 years, only four players have scored nine goals in their first five games: Ovechkin, Mario Lemieux, Marleau. Oh yeah, and now Matthews.

Matthews-McDavid Comparisons…

It’s really been a fun week or so watching the Leafs top players coming alive right on cue, but let’s be serious now.  Matthews has an awful lot of work ahead of him if he’s to be mentioned in the same sentence as Connor McDavid.  This strong, quick start is a pretty small sample size.  Give it time. Maybe some day. But certainly not today.

Leafs Cancel Practice…

Coach Mike Babcock gave the boys a day off yesterday.  Babcock’s quote: “I kind of used it as a little bit of bait, that it might be a nice day to walk around in Washington tomorrow.”

Rielly On Orr’s Record…

You’ve likely heard this already, but if not, Morgan Rielly has 12 points in his first five games, something never accomplished in the modern-day NHL.  Orr’s best was 11 points in 1973 – he was the pioneer on point production from a defenceman. And that said, let’s leave the rest of the Rielly-Orr comparisons at that.  Bobby Orr was something else.

On an aside note, Rogers Hometown Hockey is in Parry Sound this weekend, home of Bobby Orr. If you’re in the area Saturday, former Leaf Shayne Corson will be signing autographs throughout the day. On Sunday, Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan will host a pre-game, intermission and post-game show from the Sportsnet Mobile Studio.  The feature game will be between Carolina and Winnipeg.

It Should Have Been Easy…

Let’s face it.  The first five games this season were played against more-than-likely non-playoff teams – Montreal, Ottawa, Chicago, Dallas and Detroit.  Coming out with four wins and a loss should have been expected – not surprising – for a team that is heralded by many as a strong contender for this season’s Stanley Cup.

Now It Won’t Be Easy…

And now the Leafs have some pretty tough competition over the next couple weeks. After today’s tilt with Washington, they face LA, Pittsburgh, St Louis and back-to-back meetings with Winnipeg.

Auston Matthews Looking Sharp…

Here’s a pretty cool article that came out last week:  Auston Matthews Is About To Blow Up. It looks at who he claims to be, and what he has in front of him. It’s obvious he’s stylin’. Oh yeah, watch for the clothes and jackets.

Gotta Love Sheldon Kennedy…

A Quick Look at the Powerplay…

The AHL on the NHL Network…

The American Hockey League and NHL Network this week announced a schedule of 15 live AHL broadcasts on NHL Network during the 2018-19 season, marking the most live AHL game telecasts ever in a single season on NHL Network.  It starts with today’s Marlies-Utica tilt at 4pm.

The Ring and Calder Cup Banner…

Join the Marlies at the Ricoh – oops, sorry – The Coke Can this afternoon for a championship ring giveaway.  And on Sunday they’ll be giving away their magnetic schedules.  Get your tickets now: http://marlies.ca/single-game-tickets/

The Marlies home opener was last Saturday.  It was a 5-3 loss to Cleveland. 6400 fans enjoyed watching the Calder Cup banner being raised.

On This Day…

Happy birthday to Leafs defenceman Igor Ozhiganov, who turns 26 today.

 



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Couch’s Corner is a daily look at the Leafs, penned by Rick Couchman. Rick worked for years as a member of the Leafs media writing and interviewing for Stan Fischler and The Fischler Report . He was also a morning show on-air regular with 570News for numerous years, as the Leafs contributor.