The Toronto Maple Leafs hit the ice for exhibition tonight before they start their best of five game series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tonight they'll take on the Montreal Canadiens with both teams expected to ice full rosters of starters and after some tough playoff loses over the last couple of years, the Leafs hope things change this year.
General manager Kyle Dubas says the team has a lot to prove.
"I think we have a lot to prove. I don’t think that anyone questions the talent of the group. I firmly believe that we need to continue to take steps with our defensive play.
Number one is our mindset becoming an elite team that really values how we are performing defensively. Why I say it is a mindset thing and not a personnel or skill set thing is that we have shown in various games and stretches that we can be a good defensive team. We need to be there consistently and all the time. We need to be in the top-10 in the league in order to really maximize our whole group.
The players have lived the season — the ups and downs of it — and experienced it. I think they realize what they have to do to really see their talent reach its potential in terms of winning and losing and making long runs in the playoffs.
I think it is great that the players talk about it. The players know the doubts that are on them, whether it is from media or other teams. They know what they have to prove. Them acknowledging it and talking about it is a good sign. They are not negative about it. They are not upset people say it about them. They know they have to prove it. That is what we will get a chance to do in the coming weeks and years."
We'll see how the Leafs come out tonight against the Canadiens.