By The Meatriarchy
The Leafs should be well rested for this one since they technically haven't played a game since Thursday against Boston. They did show up for an optional skate on Saturday night but really didn't break much of a sweat.
Belfour has only played half a game since Tuesday so he should be fresh as a daisy.
This will be the homecoming of Gary and Joe and look for both of them to play with some fire in their bellies. The big obstacle is of course in goal with Florida's phenomenal Roberto Luongo one of the best in the game right now.
The Leafs are nursing a number of injuries right now and will be without Sundin, Andropov, Berg, and Czerkawki and possibly some others.
Florida and the Leafs have very similar records with the Panthers being one point ahead of the Leafs in the conference standings. Their goals for and against totals look wildly different until you subtract the two Leaf lopsided outings (Atlanta and Ottawa) then they look almost identical as well.
This will be a very interesting match-up as many will see it as an old vs new battle from a Leafs perspective.
More importantly however is how the Leafs will respond. Not just to the debacle that was Saturday night but to the past week in general. The Leafs have looked poor even in some of the games they have won. In fact they looked better in the first three games of the season when they were 0-3 than they have looked over the past half dozen or so when they have been 3-3 (roughly).
It might be time for Quinn to re-adjust his lines somewhat as the Allison-Tucker-O'Neil line has been dreadful in their own end. Also Lindros has been somewhat invisible over the past few games. A good shake up might give all these guys some incentive to play better. Steen is one of the most responsible defensive players they have right now. Perhaps he moves to the #2 line?
Just a thought.
And just to prove that I don't always disagree with Damian Cox here is a link to his column in today's Star which I pretty much agree with. At least more than I ever have with him in the past.
UPDATE: Link to Cox's column now fixed.