TORONTO - Bring on the Habs!
Not just in a Saturday night regular-season finale, but for the next couple of weeks and perhaps slightly beyond. Forget best-of-seven; let’s play eight.
Maple Leafs players and management won’t go so far as to say it publicly, but given the three options for their first playoff opponent in nine years, why not take aim at the team they have the best chance to beat down?
The fact that the somewhat hated Habs are such historic Original Six rivals is a bonus for the already revving hype machine, but the division cousins from La Belle Province also offer the Leafs their best opportunity to move on.
“We’re physically a lot bigger and stronger,” Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said after the team’s brief but brisk practice Friday at the Mastercard Centre. “They’re a solid team. They’ve been struggling a little bit, but there’s a reason why they’ve earned home-ice advantage.