7:00PM ET: Sportsnet Ontario
Jean-Sebastien Giguere vs Ondrej Pavelec
Ignoring the Buffalo debacle which shall not be discussed and including tonight's game agaonst Atlanta the Leafs will have played six of their last seven games against the Southeast division. Toronto's last outing in Atlanta went pretty well: the team scored nine goals and rookie James Reimer made a ton of saves.
Phil Kessel will start the night with Darryl Boyce and Joey Crabb because apparently Tyler Bozak (0.385 ppg) is the problem with the Kessel line, not Joey Crabb (0.350ppg).
Referencing Mirtle's article from earlier today check out Phil Kessel's PDO. It's the third worst on the Leafs, ahead of only John Mitchell and Brett Lebda but we can break it down further. When Kessel's on the ice the team only shoots 5.84%; roughly one goal per 17 shots on net. If you're not convinced this is largely "luck" driven the shooting percentage with Mike Brown on the ice is 9.72%.
Additionally with Kessel on the ice the goaltenders have a 0.900 SV%. The only players getting worse goaltending than Kessel are Grabovski, MacArthur, Beauchemin, Versteeg and Lebda. It all adds up to a worst among team regular PDO of 958. 958 is a very very low PDO, you can read more about the stat here. According to that Kessel's due a regression to the mean which in layman's terms means he should start scoring soon.
With any luck that scoring will start tonight and we can read stories about how Kessel's improved attitude is driving results or some similar hogwash. The long story short is that Kessel's had atrocious puck luck, plays with AHLers and is on pace for 30 goals at age 23. He's a good player doing good things and the people giving up on him now are going to loudly tell everyone that "they knew he was great all along" in three years when the Leafs have some talent surrounding him and the bounces go his way.