TORONTO - For once, the schedule gods are smiling on the Maple Leafs.
They are coming off of a win, have a day off before a second consecutive home game against a division opponent, which plays the night before and Toronto should come back with the same healthy lineup, including a hot goalie. Meeting their two biggest in-house rivals should keep the team’s focus clear.
“There’s no better way to start the season than playing Montreal and no better way to follow it up and hopefully get a win than to play Ottawa,” defenceman Luke Schenn said Friday at the MasterCard Centre.
The only absentee at the practice from Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Canadiens was winger Colby Armstrong. Coach Ron Wilson said Armstrong blocked a shot in a sensitive area the night before, but worked out off-ice should play against the Senators.
Ottawa is at home Friday night against Buffalo, while the Leafs are looking at at least a day off after all their first 10 starts. The Leafs, who’ve aleady won more home games than all of last October, are trying to start 2-0 at the ACC for the first time since 1999-00.
“We have to take advantage of the schedule,” goaltender Jean-Sebastien Gigure said. “It’s good to have those days in between to recover, but at the same time you have to be ready to play back to back. That’s part of playing in the NHL.”
Toronto killed all three Montreal power plays, but spent much of Friday trying to fine tune their own, which was great in pre-season but 0-for-5 against the Habs.