Toronto Maple Leafs (36-35-11) at Detroit Red Wings (54-21-7) 7:00 p.m.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions begin their title defense tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Red Wings head into this season with what some argue may be the deepest team the NHL has seen in the past decade. The Red Wings not only brought back their entire team from last spring, but they signed Marian Hossa who was the #1 player on the free agent market. Hossa will team with Pavel Datsyuk to form one of the league‚Äôs most dynamic duos. To offset Hossa and Datsyuk, the Red Wings have two of the games top five players in F Henrik Zetterberg and D Niklas Lidstrom. The Red Wings are so deep, talented forwards Darren Helm and Finnish rookie Ville Leino could not crack the opening day roster. Leino led the team in scoring during the preseason and the 21 year old Helms played in 18 playoff games last season. Mike Babcock had this to say about Helms and Leino after Wednesday‚Äôs practice. “These are the best players I’ve ever been involved with sending to the minors ever, I can tell you that.‚Äù
The Maple Leafs on the other hand are in rebuilding mode. Mats Sundin is gone and the team traded away defenseman Bryan McCabe. The Leafs will play hard under Ron Wilson but they are clearly no match for the Red Wings. Prediction 5-1 Wings