Tuesday’s Busy NHL Trading Day, Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Match UpBy Debbie B.
On Tuesday before the evening’s games started, there was the trade of the seasoned forwards. The Dallas Stars sent right wing Michael Ryder and a third-round draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens for their right wing Erik Cole.
In their 19 games played to date, Ryder, 32, had six goals with eight assists while playing for the Stars while Cole, 24, had three goals with three assists for the Canadiens. They sit at +2200 to win this year’s Stanley Cup.
For Ryder, he’s be going home to Canadiens, who drafted him as the 216th overall pick in the eighth round for the 1998 draft. Lucky for him, he’s joining the Eastern Conference’s top team at 12-4-3.
In other trade news, the Philadelphia Flyers also brought back a former player by acquiring Simon Gagne from Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round draft pick. Also in the 1998 NHL draft, Gagne had been drafted by the Flyers and stayed for 10 seasons. He’s battled some injuries since leaving but is able to play.
Looking at Tuesday’s games, the San Jose Sharks (9-6-3) extended their home win streak to eight by defeating the Colorado Avalanche (7-8-3), 3-2 in a shootout. This comes after the Sharks in their 10 prior games were 1-6-3 and a team record was set after going 7-0 at the season’s start.
With the team’s 41 shots on goal, this represented the most since the team’s 4-0 win versus the Avalanche last month.
Both teams played without key players. For the Sharks, they were missing forward Ryane Clowe due to a suspension and the Avalanche’s center Matt Duchene sat out from a lower body injury.
As for the Eastern conference’s second place team, the Pittsburgh Penguins (13-7-0), they lost to the Florida Panthers (6-9-4), 6-4. The win came from a career-first hat trick by the Panthers Tomas Kopecky and Tomas Fleischmann’s No. 100 career goal for the win to give his team the final lead.
The Penguins still sit at the top of the Atlantic Division but second in the Eastern Conference.
For Wednesday, there’s four games and a more interesting one is the Canadiens (12-4-3) vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs (12-8-0).
Montreal vs. Toronto
Montreal will enter Wednesday’s game trying to avenge its Feb. 9, 6-0 loss. Goalie Carey Price allowed a season-sigh six goals from 28 shots; the team handled this poorly as evidenced by its 65 minutes of penalties.
Not helping matters was the memory of its season opener: a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Jan. 19.
Montreal forward Brian Gionta said via ESPN, “We’ve dropped two to them so far this year and we don’t want to continue that. We want to go in there and have a good effort.”
The team will come to Toronto with its streak of an eight-game point ride but have two losses over three games. They sit at the top of the Eastern conference and in their eight previous games, they’ve gone 6-0-2.
They may be debuting just-acquired Ryder on Wednesday.
For Toronto, they’ll look for its fifth straight home win. With their three previous visiting teams, they outscored them 11-3; this has come under goalie Ben Scrivens’ watch. He is pinch hitting for James Reimer and appears to like the home ice.
On Monday versus the Flyers, he had 23 saves, contributing to a 4-2 win while Mikhail Grabovskis has a fondness for the third period, scoring his third goal over four games during this last period.
But whether or not Scrivens will start is another question as the Toronto has a game on Thursday against the New York Islanders. He did stop 21 shots in the team’s January game.
While Toronto will be riding a home win streak, they’re 0-2 against the Canadiens. The last time Montreal won in Toronto was Feb. 11, 2012 and it won’t happen on Wednesday either.
Toronto wins (-105, 5 o/u).