Toronto Maple Leafs @ Vegas Golden Knights
10:00 PM at T-Mobile Arena
Watch on: ATTSN-RM, TSN4
Opponent’s Site: Knights On Ice
The Leafs last game was an away game on October 22 against the Winnipeg Jets, which the Leafs won by a score of 4-1. The Leafs have a record of 4-2-0 so far.
The Vegas Golden Knights last played at home on October 22 against the Colorado Avalanche. The Golden Knights lost by a score of 3-2, and their current league record is also 4-2-0.
Vegas entered this season knowing that Robin Lehner was out long term. What they chose to do about that was not a lot. Laurent Brossoit, who they signed last summer for an AAV of $2.325 million, is also injured, so they added Adin Hill, who has had a career as a backup, and has been good/bad/horrible/great in short bursts. They also have Logan Thompson, an undrafted goalie they signed at age 23 two years ago. They’ve played all six games between them.
For all the non-stop Dubas and the goalies stories of the summer, this one is by far more amazing. So far, it’s working for them.
Other things to remember about Vegas is Jack Eichel is on hand, having a good year so far. Phil Kessel is playing on his wing, and is about to tie Keith Yandle for the “ironman” streak.
Source: Last Game (10/22) via Daily Faceoff
Brett Howden - Chandler Stephenson - Mark Stone
Reilly Smith - Jack Eichel - Phil Kessel
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Mike Amadio
Will Carrier - Nicolas Roy - Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez - Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb - Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague - Zach Whitecloud
Logan Thompson - likely starter
The Leafs are cycling through their forwards in ways seemingly designed to upset people while having virtually no effect on the chance of winning. Tonight’s version has Pierre Engvall back in, and the scoring heroes on the fourth line shockingly not benched.
Samsonov is very likely to start, and no other changes are expected.
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson - John Tavares - William Nylander
Pierre Engvall - Alex Kerfoot - Calle Järnkrok
Kyle Clifford - David Kämpf - Wayne Simmonds
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Rasmus Sandin - Justin Holl
Mark Giordano - Victor Mete
Ilya Samsonov - likely starter
Toronto vs Vegas
|66.7 - 12th||Points % - Ranking||66.7 - 10th|
|3 - 21st||Goals/Game - Ranking||3.167 - 17th|
|2.5 - 9th||Goals Against/Game - Ranking||2.167 - 3rd|
|24.0 - 14th||Power Play% - Ranking||17.4 - 20th|
|82.6 - 13th||Penalty Kill% - Ranking||68.8 - 27th|
|8.9 - 27th||Team Sh% - Ranking||9.2 - 21st|
|0.903 - 13th||Team Sv% - Ranking||0.929 - 6th|
|John Tavares, William Nylander - 3||Most Goals (NST)||Jonathan Marchessault - 5|
|John Tavares - 7||Most Points (NST)||Jack Eichel - 7|
|Morgan Rielly - 7||Most PIM (NST)||Zach Whitecloud - 6|
|Morgan Rielly - 22.94||TOI Leader (NST)||Alex Pietrangelo - 24.04|
With identical records so far the Leafs and Vegas are fairly even matched superficially. Vegas has been scoring a very tiny bit more, and their goaltending results are a bit better. Their special teams have had poorer results, but it’s not like the Leafs have been setting the world on fire with their power play.
Toronto hitting 27th in team shooting percentage is an improvement brought by the last game, and no one believes that’s a problem. Well, I say that, and yet I know heaps of people love to make up blame stories for low sh%. Currently the Leafs are 6th in five-on-five shotrate, and 8th in expected goals rate. So a very small amount of their shooting woes — and I do mean very small — is from the quality of their shots. Most of it is just cuz.
Let’s look at a different chart to what we normally examine. There’s a lot going on here:
This is a representation of how each part of the game is creating the goals for and against for each team. Pink is save %, green is shooting % and the very badly named R and Q (really, why would you do this?) refer to shotrate differential and the shot rate quality differential respectively. So it’s splitting expected goals up into it’s two basic parts. This is available numerically on one of the tabs for the team page.
Now that we’ve decoded it, we can look at Toronto and see that the negative thing (to the left of the vertical zero line) is green or shooting %. Everything else is positive, even if they’re a little on the small side.
Vegas is in the same boat, just a little better at everything, including shooting %.
By the way, if you want to pick a coach to fire from this chart, ignore Vancouver, and look at Minnesota.
But for everyone, including Minnesota and Vancouver, this is the sort of weird results you get in six or so games. It’s the ghost of games past, not a prediction of the future.
The Leafs seem pretty clear on what they need to do to get different results in things like quality of shots for and against. I’m not sure the power play is wrong, just sloppy. And Vegas is in exactly the same state. Two teams who believe they should be better going head to head. Should be a good game, even if it is on in the middle of the night.
Go Leafs Go!