Toronto Maple Leafs @ San Jose Sharks
07:00 PM at SAP Center at San Jose

The San Jose Sharks last played at home on January 4 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Sharks lost by a score of 2-1 in regulation, and their current league record is 9-27-3 for a 0.269 Points %.

The Leafs last game was away on January 3 against the Anaheim Ducks, which Toronto won by a score of 2-1 in overtime. The Leafs have a record of 19-10-7 for a 0.625 Points %.


They are the worst team in the NHL, and it's not close.

California was the first and still the biggest success at growing the NHL game in the USA. It's not just the teams, it's that California has surged up in hockey participation by gross numbers and rates over the last several decades to the point that you can't imagine there not being California-born players.

This is why the Sharks are so deeply frustrating. They shouldn't exist. Okay, they tried seriously hard for years to be a contender, and they are the nightmare that "glass half empty" Leafs fans relish in trotting out. You can be very, very good and never be good enough (or lucky enough).

But they've shed nearly every big contract, and they are still bad by design. Look at the Ducks and the young players on the team or coming to the team. They've tanked and are rebuilding. What are the Sharks? A team waiting so long for their bad contracts to expire, Tomas Hertl's has turned into another one.

Also, they are extremely boring.

Their team Corsi differential is 21 per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Their SOG differential in all-situations is 11.5!. On average teams outshoot them in old-style shot counting by over 10. They've lost 10 games in a row, and that's not their longest losing streak.

Oh and one more rant. Kaapo Kahkonen is getting some attention as a possible trade acquisition because his stats look okay-ish. At least backup level. Sure, maybe he can be a backup, but you can't read stats on truly bad teams or their players the same as you do teams trying to play NHL hockey. The Sharks are so easy to beat the effort required to overcome any goalie is much smaller. He can end up with great stats by standing still while the other team nails him in the chest for those 10 or so extra SOG every game because the win is already in the bag. Remember Garret Sparks?

Also, good god, Alex Barabanov is on the top line.


Daily Faceoff projection

William Eklund - Tomas Hertl - Alexander Barabanov
Fabian Zetterlund - Mikael Granlund - Mike Hoffman
Luke Kunin - Logan Couture - Anthony Duclair
Justin Bailey - Ryan Carpenter - Filip Zadina

Mario Ferraro - Ty Emberson
Henry Thrun - Jan Rutta
Calen Addison - Marc-Edouard Vlasic

MacKenzie Blackwood
Kaapo Kahkonen


Sheldon Keefe is keeping the same lineup for this game, per reports.


David Alter via Daily Faceoff

Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi - John Tavares - William Nylander
Pontus Holmberg - Max Domi - Calle Järnkrok
Bobby McMann - David Kämpf - Noah Gregor

Morgan Rielly - T.J. Brodie
Simon Benoit - Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren

Martin Jones - starter
Dennis Hildeby

The Game

This is a 4pm start local time, so the job is really to be awake and not be longing for an afternoon nap. The Sharks are bad enough to be a chaotic mess, and whoever they put in net is capable of pulling a Lukas Dostal and making a mockery of all the Leafs offence. Because most goalies can do that occasionally.

Stay awake, Leafs, no coasting through the last west coast game. In case you've forgotten, you get to play the Sharks again on Tuesday.