Big T has done the heavy lifting. I'm adding some top of mind prognostication for the short attention span times we live in.
Scoring lines: The production will be similar, the explanations for why it happened the way it did different.
Checking lines: They’ll excite, have their time in the sun. But it’s still 10 goalscorers with PK time.
Line integrity: Same coach? Yup. So none then. 20 minutes into Thursday’s match-up should be it.
Tomas Plekanec: Good on the PK, good on the PP, good at ES, good all around. Will good be good enough?
Erik Cole: Beats goalies with an elite shot. Works hard. Will still disappoint those who confuse 20 goalscorer with goal-a-game man.
Mike Cammalleri: Won’t turn on his playoff magic until the situation requires it. Leading scorer anyway.
Scott Gomez: Rebound year? Yeah, certainly if he can put in a rebound or two this time around, or shoot hard enough to create one.
Brian Gionta: Team shot leader should poach important goals as he always has.
Max Pacioretty: Will be demoted from the scoring lines at some point. How he reacts will determine his long-term success.
Andrei Kostitsyn: Will be promoted to the scoring lines at some point. How he reacts will determine his fate.
Lars Eller: Won’t end atop the scoring pile. To the delight of some, he'll lead in an obscure category.
Mathieu Darche: A promotion to the first line after a good stretch will be end looking a repeat of years past.
Ryan White: The honeymoon will likely end sometime between November and February.
Andreas Engqvist: So long, we hardly knew ye.
David Desharnais: Were all the scouts right or wrong? Montreal fans will decide within the month.
Travis Moen: Will collect his oversized cheque under the welcome shadow of Scott Gomez.
Blair Betts: Once came second in the NHL in GA on the PK.
Andrei Markov: Day-to-day. That’s how often the barometer on his contract status will change as well.
PK Subban: Will grow into the best defensive defenceman on the team as well.
Hal Gill: Think happy thoughts. If we make the playoffs all this will be worth it.
Jaroslav Spacek: While tripping over his own feet, he’ll still be on for more goals for than against.
Josh Gorges: If we set our expectations right, he’ll deliver and maybe exceed just a little.
Alexei Yemelin: Expect a rocky ride. Have we seen a check since that scrimmage, he obviously takes new instructions very seriously.
Raphael Diaz: Unless there’s injuries, let’s not hold our breath for a PP run by Markov and Diaz.
Yannick Weber: The forward from the 2011 playoffs sees more time than the D from the 2009 playoffs.
Chris Campoli: Picard with a better shot, and a better shot at sticking around.
Carey Price: As his teammates come to know what to expect, reliability may become his new word.
Peter Budaj: How many back-to-back games are there?
Powerplay: The goal droughts will be directly proportional to PK's wind-up.
Penalty kill: Our only complaint will be how often they are required.
Trade deadline wants/needs: Forward with size who can score.
Trade deadline acquistions: Paul Mara.
Teams the Habs will beat: NYI, FLA, CAR, WPG, OTT
Teams the Habs won't beat: PIT, WSH, BUF, NYR
Teams the Habs will be watching in March: TOR, BOS, PHA, NJ, TBL
Playoff qualification: Even 4th isn’t safe territory. It’ll be a fight.
Goaltending battle: Carey Price lost 2 games in a row...
Kostitsyn slump: 25 goalscorer totals 62 games without a goal. Again.
Pacioretty on third line: Remember that quote? Well...
Habs need size, grit: It's February, the Habs have just lost their first game to Boston this season...
The 50s Habs were better: When I started as a reporter...
Desharnais benched: How? Why?
Louis Leblanc scored: In Hamilton, ...
PK Subban's ipod: He changed a song...
Markov missed (recurring feature every Saturday)
Think that's enough. Send in your own ideas for tweet previews (they've gotta be better than most of this rubbish).
Aware that you all are very excited and need to read something more substantial to stop your restless legs from disturbing your workmates. Check out these two pieces:
1) Knowing the Enemy (From HEOTP)
A very good run down on the Leafs. Generous but with that realism that you won't find from Leafs fans' own blogs.
2) If it all goes wrong
Hey, at least they said "if". It's a fun portend on what could be written by the analysts if the points in the standings don't match the dreams of the fans.
Hope you all enjoy the game tonight. See you for the aftermath.