Vancouver Canucks @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: CBC, SNO, SNW, SNP

Opponent’s Site: Nucks Misconduct

The Leafs last game was at home on November 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which Toronto lost by a score of 4-2. The Leafs have a record of 7-5-3 so far.

The Vancouver Canucks last played an away game on November 9 against the Montréal Canadiens. The Canucks lost by a score of 5-2, and their current league record is 4-7-3.


What is up with the Canucks, anyway? There was all that talk about how they couldn’t win, and everyone starved for simple, clean drama wants a coach fired, and they figure that’s where to look.

Toronto vs Vancouver

56.7 - 15thPoints % - Ranking39.3 - 26th
2.8 - 24thGoals/Game - Ranking3.5 - 9th
2.8 - 10thGoals Against/Game - Ranking4.071 - 30th
25.5 - 7thPower Play% - Ranking27.1 - 5th
76.5 - 22ndPenalty Kill% - Ranking61.7 - 32nd
9 - 25thTeam Sh% - Ranking11.5 - 5th
0.897 - 18thTeam Sv% - Ranking0.876 - 31st
John Tavares - 8Most Goals (NST)Bo Horvat - 12
Mitchell Marner - 17Most Points (NST)Elias Pettersson - 18
Michael Bunting - 24Most PIM (NST)Luke Schenn - 35
Morgan Rielly - 23.38TOI Leader (NST)Quinn Hughes - 25.62

Looking at that I see the Canucks are really good at scoring (uh-oh) and really hilariously bad at goals against. You can’t be that bad without that being goalies. Their PP is good, PK is dreadful — that’s gotta be goalies. But all those goals of various types can be heavily weighted by random chance this early, so I need to check if the goalie is really guilty.

Nothing about the Canucks five-on-five play looks very good. Some of those goals scored are shooting skill overriding expected goals and just plain good luck. The same goes for their power play. Their penalty kill is actually kinda good and their defence is bad, like you’d expect given their roster, but it’s not Columbus bad.

Any line with Elias Pettersson on it is great for the Canucks, except that one with Nils Höglander in low minutes. The rest of the team is experimental chaos out of a line blender set on high. There are only two stable defensive pairs with over 35 minutes played together, Oliver Ekman-Larson and Tyler Myers, who are bad and Quinn Hughes and Luke Schenn, who are good. (The Leafs have seven pairs over that number of minutes, even with all their injuries and recalls.)

And the goalies? By Goals Saved Above Expected per 60 minutes (Moneypuck version), the best Canucks goalie is Spencer Martin at 41st in the NHL. Martin is their Erik Källgren, and he will be in net tonight. Thatcher Demko is 56th (out of 62), with a dreadful -0.893 per 60 measure. He is one better than allowing a goal per game below expected.

The lines from this morning are listed below, and I should note that Quinn Hughes has been unable to elevate Tyler Myers to top-pairing defender like he can Luke Schenn.

Is the Canucks scoring all candy floss and papier-mâché? No, but it isn’t rock solid, and nothing else about the team is either.


Source: Thomas Drance via Daily Faceoff

Ilya Mikheyev - J.T. Miller - Brock Boeser
Andrei Kuzmenko - Elias Pettersson - Nils Höglander
Vasily Podkolzin - Bo Horvat - Conor Garland
Dakota Joshua - Nils Aman - Jack Studnicka

Quinn Hughes - Tyler Myers
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Ethan Bear
Riley Stillman - Luke Schenn

Spencer Martin - confirmed starter
Thatcher Demko


The Leafs and I are on break because last night went kind of annoyingly bad. Leafs gonna Leaf, that’s my take on them. I am utterly unsurprised that they aren’t willing to roll the dice on Petruzzelli as a starter. I won’t claim he’ll stay out all game, though.


This is a guess based on last night’s lineup. Order doesn’t imply expected usage.

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Nick Robertson - John Tavares - William Nylander
Pierre Engvall - Alex Kerfoot - Calle Järnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Denis Malgin

Morgan Rielly - Timothy Liljegren
TJ Brodie - Justin Holl
Mark Giordano - Rasmus Sandin

Not Matt Murray, who is not ready yet.

Erik Källgren - confirmed starter
Keith Petruzzelli

The Game

The Canucks are struggling with a chaotic year and a coach they don’t seem to like much. They want nothing more than to win in Toronto and spoil the Leafs big night of honouring Börje Salming.

The Leafs lines are an illusion, and you can never really know who is going to play beyond the usual top duo in ice time — Matthews and Marner. Coming off a back-to-back where Engvall and Robertson barely played, they might get more minutes. In Robertson’s case, he gets yanked whenever the play turns down-ice, so his shifts can be blink and you’ll miss him. Sheldon Keefe tried to lean hard on his top line last night, while playing both his third lines as fourth lines, and that failed, so what he’ll do tonight should logically be play the second line more and trust that Kämpf line in a way that’s more than symbolic.

But in the heat of the moment, when the team is playing what looks like a “this is good enough, right?” style, it’s always Matthews and Marner that get used like they’re the only players Keefe can stand to watch.

Go Leafs Go!