Los Angeles Kings @ Toronto Maple Leafs
08:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: ESPN, TVAS2, TSN4
The Leafs last game was an away game on October 28 against the Nashville Predators, which Toronto lost by a score of 3-2. The Leafs have a record of 5-2-1 so far.
The Los Angeles Kings last played at home on October 28 against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kings lost by a score of 4-3, and their current league record is 4-2-2.
The Kings are a hard team to judge. We see them rarely, often in the middle of the night, and they play in a division that is shaping up to be as weak as ever. The Kings would be fifth in the Atlantic by points %, where the Leafs are currently second.
The Kings are also building up from a long lull after their championship seasons. Anze Kopitar is not the man he was, and the Kings are counting on Auston Matthews' special friend Pierre-Luc Dubois to be the next 1C. Based on early returns, he already should be.
The real and unexpected story of the Kings early season is Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson producing dominating Corsi numbers in big minutes and excellent offensive Expected Goals.
Their bottom six is unusually formidable, and given how Toronto's has played thus far, they will need Joe Woll to help them rather a lot.
In general, the Kings have been good defensively this year, good offensively and their goaltending is the worst at five-on-five in the NHL. Their power play is unexciting and they're scoring well under expected there.
If the goalie shows up, they are a good team – playoff quality – but not great at anything. If he doesn't, they're going to have to outdo their usual game to win it.
Last Game (10/28) via Daily Faceoff
Quinton Byfield - Anze Kopitar - Adrian Kempe
Kevin Fiala - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Alex Laferriere
Trevor Moore - Phillip Danault - Arthur Kaliyev
Carl Grundstrom - Blake Lizotte - Trevor Lewis
Mikey Anderson - Drew Doughty
Vladislav Gavrikov - Matt Roy
Andreas Englund - Jordan Spence
Cam Talbot - assumed starter
The Leafs are not playing at their absolute peak of ability so far, and yet they're doing well in the standings, getting points, and playing very well at times.
In general, offence is down in the NHL so far. We're having the usual early season surge in power-play opportunities, over 3.5 per game, which will likely regress back to the usual mean of just at or below 3. But at the same time Save % is up a little and overall shot rate (Shots on Goal) are down. The GAA is at 2.88 right now, and overall the stats look like the Covid season where the all-division play led to a much duller on-ice game.
In other words, the Leafs look a lot better relative to the current league norms than comparing them to last year's team.
Timothy Liljegren is fine after leaving the most recent game after a crunch into the boards. Jake McCabe is reported to be returning to practice this week. Lines are unchanged from last game.
Calle Järnkrok - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi - John Tavares - William Nylander
Matt Knies - David Kämpf - Max Domi
Noah Gregor - Pontus Holmberg - Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson - John Klingberg
Joe Woll - confirmed starter
First, note the time, we're doing a late start for American TV.
Otherwise, this game is likely to be close, and a test of the bottom half of the Leafs forward corps.
Go Leafs Go!