Toronto Maple Leafs @ Minnesota Wild
02:00 PM at Xcel Energy Center
Watch on: BSN, BSWI, TSN4
Opponent’s Site: Hockey Wilderness
The Leafs last game was an away game on November 23 against the New Jersey Devils, which Toronto won by a score of 2-1. The Leafs have a record of 11-5-5 so far.
The Minnesota Wild last played at home on November 23 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Wild won by a score of 6-1, and their current league record is 9-8-2.
The Wild are a strange team with good defensive results and some big question marks at forward. Like what is Sam Steel doing as the 1C?
Toronto vs Minnesota
|64.3 - 6th||Points % - Ranking||52.6 - 18th|
|2.905 - 22nd||Goals/Game - Ranking||2.842 - 23rd|
|2.619 - 6th||Goals Against/Game - Ranking||2.842 - 12th|
|26.5 - 6th||Power Play% - Ranking||21.9 - 14th|
|78.6 - 17th||Penalty Kill% - Ranking||81.0 - 10th|
|9.6 - 19th||Team Sh% - Ranking||9.1 - 25th|
|0.908 - 7th||Team Sv% - Ranking||0.906 - 9th|
|John Tavares - 12||Most Goals (NST)||Kirill Kaprizov - 11|
|Mitchell Marner - 24||Most Points (NST)||Kirill Kaprizov - 22|
|Michael Bunting - 32||Most PIM (NST)||Jacob Middleton, Connor Dewar - 29|
|Morgan Rielly - 23||TOI Leader (NST)||Jonas Brodin - 22.23|
They score less than the Leafs, and Kirill Kaprizov is their only really exciting offensive force. Both of their goalies have been extremely average. On the season, their offence is just as bad as their defence is good, but they have a great power play structure.
The Wild just traded for Ryan Reaves, a player who is a great fourth liner of exceptional quality — as long as he’s playing for Vegas. Otherwise he just hits hard and gets in fights. It’s not known if he will draw in.
Their lineup vs the Jets two days ago:
Source: Dane Mizutani via Daily Faceoff
Kirill Kaprizov - Sam Steel - Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway - Frederick Gaudreau - Matthew Boldy
Brandon Duhaime - Joel Eriksson Ek - Marcus Foligno
Mason Shaw - Connor Dewar - Nic Petan
Jacob Middleton - Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski - Mathew Dumba
Jon Merrill - Calen Addison
The Leafs are coming off an exciting win, and usually the coach doesn’t change things after a win, but the lines were remixed in yesterday’s practice. There is a clear attempt to balance all four lines in a way that has been used against extremely weak teams. The Wild aren’t weak defensively, so I’m not sure I really get the point of this, unless it’s to see if Pontus Holmberg and Alexander Kerfoot really have identical games or not.
The Maple Leafs are sitting both Robertson and Malgin (as per yesterday) and playing the just recalled Wayne Simmonds.
The defence is what it is with Jordie Benn now on IR, and out for at least a week, and newly arrived Conor Timmins not getting chucked into the game.
Ilya Samsonov was the goalie in practice, but it’s not likely he’ll start today, and it is likely Murray is getting some rest in practices.
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Calle Järnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Alexander Kerfoot - Pontus Holmberg - Wayne Simmonds
Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Victor Mete - Mac Hollowell
Extras: Nick Robertson, Denis Malgin, Conor Timmins
Matt Murray - expected starter
The Wild get outshot at five-on-five more often than not, and they aren’t making up for it in shot quality. They struggle to score legitimately, while the Leafs actually have some decent offence that just doesn’t produce goals. The Wild power play is good on paper in terms of how they shoot, but they don’t actually score as often as the Leafs do. The Leafs are now sixth in the NHL in GF/60 on the power play. The Wild are at 12th and almost two full goals per 60 behind.
It doesn’t actually matter why or how you aren’t scoring if you aren’t, and both teams aren’t. So this might be a special teams battle, where the nod has to go to the Leafs.
The most important thing to remember is that while you’re at work in Canada, this game is on at 2 pm in the afternoon as a special treat to all our American fans.
We’ll have a game day post out this afternoon with some actual (we hope) clarity on the lines and goallies.