Chicago at Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #3
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Broadcast/Streaming: NHLN-US, TSN4, NBCSCH
Opponent SBNation Site: Second City Hockey
Not everyone spends holidays like Thanksgiving with their family. And however you choose to spend your time is okay with me. But for many hockey fans, Thanksgiving means dinner with the family, and that means hockey talk with the family. Beats politics talk with the family.
To help out our readers, we’ve got all the information you need to deftly change the subject around the dinner table to something safe and non-controversial. First the lines for the game, based on the morning skate for the Leafs and a guess for Chicago. And yes, Richard Panik is on Chicago’s first line, and we’ll just have to learn to live with that. It’s character building.
Connor Carrick missed a practice with an undisclosed injury, and skated this morning with Roman Polak as the fourth pair. It’s not known if he will play or not.
From morning skate.
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - Connor Brown
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman - Calle Rosen
From morning skate
Brandon Saad -Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero- Alexander Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
Anton Forsberg - looks to be the starter tonight
PPP helps you talk to your family about hockey
Of course, you likely wouldn’t be reading here at the home of nerds in basements unless you like to hear some stats on the players from time to time. So, to give you some talking points to share with your family, I’ve carefully combed the only stat site you need, NHL.com, and found some gems for you to talk about.
The Leafs are in tough in this game because Corey Crawford has a Goals Against Average of 1, while Frederik Andersen’s is 3.5. But take heart, both Winnipeg's goalies are over 6, so they’re doomed. Andersen just needs to make some of these key saves at important moments.
The fourth line for the Leafs is key to their success. Dominic Moore is 100% in the faceoff circle, and I would have liked to see him in. He was 9-0 in his last game. But the real issue here is up the lineup. Mitch Marner and William Nylander are both excellent this season at 63% and 58% respectively. It’s really clear that a centre depth chart of Matthews, Nylander, Marner would be far superior to what the Leafs have now.
I know you’re thinking Matthews’ FOW% is only 42%, the worst on the team so why do I still have him in that rotation, but even I will admit he brings some other things to the table to make up for this terrible performance in the faceoff dot. He needs to buckle down and work on that though, or he could lose the number one spot to Marner.
As it stands now, you have to wonder what Babcock is thinking playing his forward lineup the way he is.
At least Matthews’ plus/minus is decent at +4, but some of that is Nylander, with the team leading +6, carrying his weaker linemates. Zach Hyman only has a +3 and with Marleau at the same mark, dreams of putting him on the top line will have to die. He’s no better, obviously.
Ron Hainsey at +1 and Morgan Rielly at 0 (of course, he’s lower) really show how vital it was to give the weaker man a strong partner. With Andreas Borgman at +2, his position should be secure, but Babcock again, willfully misplays him, sitting him out for Calle Rosen. This sort of old-guard thinking is what’s holding back the Leafs.
Nikita Zaitsev is leading the team in blocked shots, proving all the naysayers wrong over his contract.
If only Babcock would use a statistical lens to optimize his lineup, the Leafs would be unstoppable.
But until that happens, the question has to be: With two teams facing each other who have each scored 15 goals in two games, how many goals will tonight’s game feature?
Oh, and Go Leafs, Go!
How many goals will tonight’s game have?
This poll is closed
At least 15, let the red light shine!
It will be a 1-1 tie that goes to a shootout.
Doesn’t that depend on who wins the faceoffs?