Game Day: Leafs – Habs Lineups, Leblanc, Engqvist, Archambault, Draft Strategies

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All Habs GameDay: Saturday March 3, 2012

On this day in hockey history 1875 – The earliest recorded ice hockey game was played, with McGill University going against the Victoria skating club, at the Victoria Rink in Montreal. The two teams played with nine men on a side, and used a flat disk as a puck. With the rules now recorded and standardized, hockey as we know it was “born.”

GAMEDAY: Habs hockey tonight!

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS ((29-28-7) vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS (25-30-10)

Last 10: Toronto 1-8-1 ; Montreal 3-6-1

Bell Centre,  7:00 p.m. EST

TV: RDS, CBC, NHLN-US


Projected line combinations (updated following morning skate)

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Forwards
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Erik Cole
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Louis Leblanc
Ryan White – Tomas Plekanec – Blake Geoffrion
Petteri Nokelainen – Andreas Engqvist – Brad Staubitz

Defenseman
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Yannick Weber – Alexei Emelin
Tomas Kaberle – Chris Campoli

Goaltenders
Carey Price (confirmed) – Peter Budaj

Scratches

Injuries
Mike Blunden (knee) – Andrei Markov (ACL) – Brian Gionta (biceps)  – Travis Moen (upper body) – Mathieu Darche (dizziness/upper body) – Aaron Palushaj (eye) – Scott Gomez (eye) – Raphael Diaz (lower body)

Power-play
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole – Kaberle – Subban
Bourque – Plekanec – Eller – Weber – Campoli

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Forwards
Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur – Mikhail Grabovski – Matt Frattin
Tim Connolly – David Steckel – Nikolai Kulemin
Mike Brown – Matthew Lombardi – Joey Crabb / Colby Armstrong

Defensemen
Dion Phaneuf – Carl Gunnarsson
John-Michael Liles – Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner – Luke Schenn

Goaltenders
Jonas Gustavsson (likely) – James Reimer

Scratches

Injuries
no injuries

GAMEDAY: All Habs Headlines

► Leblanc, Engqvist return: Louis Leblanc assisted on Andreas Engqvist’s goal for Hamilton this evening against the Lake Erie Monsters, which was the only offense the Bulldogs could muster in a 2-1 shootout loss. (Their opposition in goal? Cedrick Desjardins. Of course.) Neither Leblanc nor Engqvist was able to beat him in the skills’ competition, but after the game, the announcement was made that both would be called up to the big club in time for tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs.

► Voltigeurs hope Archambault is ready for the playoffs: With only five games remaining in their regular season, the Drummondville Voltigeurs hope to have Canadiens’ prospect Olivier Archambault ready for the post-season, he who has been out of the lineup since January due to a concussion. He will be evaluated this upcoming Tuesday to determine whether or not he can begin training with contact.

► Moving forward to the bottom:  Martin Leclerc explains how he would go about “Failing for Nail” (Yakupov) if he were in charge of the Habs, without being too obvious. His four point strategy includes giving Scott Gomez power-play time, reassigning “sniper” Rene Bourque to the third line, sending Louis Leblanc to Hamilton, and stifling Tomas Plekanec’s production by pairing him with revolving wingers.

Sound familiar to you?

Read more: Avancer vers l’arrière: un art difficile  (in French)

High draft pick? Let’s trade it! Habs fans have been through enough pain this season don’t you think? Many were hopeful that GM Pierre Gauthier would be able to turn aging vets into a boatload of draft picks.  He dropped that ball (too).

Now when fans thought some relief was on the way with a high draft pick a pair of MSM wags are promoting the idea of trading the pick.  Why?  To up the quotient of homegrown talent, of course! A morning radio personality suggested trading the Habs first round pick to the Florida Panthers for Saint-Jerome, QC. product Jonathan Huberdeau. Now RDS’s prospect guy Stéphane has jumped on the bandwagon.

Read more: Et si le CH… (in French)

► New at All Habs Hockey Magazine:

Christmas in June : Alex Galchenyuk

Carbonneau, Clark Square Off in Real Man Challenge

Stressing Over the Habs

S.O.S Fantômes

Former Habs, Where are They Now? Part Two

Daniel Pribyl: Could he be the Next Ales Hemsky?

Catching the Torch: Holland’s Heroics

► Puck’s take: Need to know who will win tonight? You can find Puck the Bunny’s prediction here. (check back later) His record is an impressive 18-9-5.

(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)