Toronto Maple Leafs @ Dallas Stars
08:00 PM at American Airlines Center
Watch on: BSSW, TSN4
The Leafs last game was an away game on October 24 against the Washington Capitals, which Toronto won by a score of 4-1. The Leafs have a record of 4-2-0 so far.
The Dallas Stars last played an away game on October 24 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Stars won by a score of 4-1, and their current league record is 4-0-1.
Every year it seems someone tells me how great Dallas is. I think that's largely because – even when they had Rick Bowness as coach – they had a fun and powerful offence most of the time.
With the maturing Heiskanen on the back end and the intelligent removal of John Klingberg to be replaced by defenders with less skewed skillsets, they might finally be seriously good. Oh, and Jason Robertson. That helps a lot. Also Jake Oettinger – the sixth best goalie in the NHL so far by Goals Saved Above Expected per 60. And, don't forget, they can roll four lines, none of which need to be carefully used, never used, or used only when you want non-hockey effects. That is just a well put-together forward group.
Just one thing, though. They're actually playing fairly badly. They don't have the puck enough, their offence is tepid, with a lot of extreme net-front shooting but nothing from the slot, and their power play is so bad, they're lucky they've only had it on the ice for just over three minutes. They have the lowest Expected Goals rate on the power play by a dramatic margin over the merely 31st team, but they've scored over expected by a big margin with two power play goals.
From Saad Yousuf
Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Evgenii Dadonov - Matt Duchene - Tyler Seguin
Jamie Benn - Wyatt Johnston - Ty Dellandrea
Mason Marchment - Radek Faksa - Craig Smith
Ryan Suter - Miro Heiskanen
Thomas Harley - Jani Hakanpää
Esa Lindell - Nils Lundkvist
Scott Wedgewood and an EBUG were at practice, so what that means about Oettinger, I don't know at this time.
The Leafs have choices to make with goalie usage. Woll was scheduled to play the last game, which he did extraordinarily well. He is now the first-place goalie by GSAX/60. The Leafs had originally scheduled this game to be Samsonov's. So do they stick with that and give Samsonov a chance, or do they line Woll up against his old Boston cross-town rival and Team USA tandem mate – if he's actually in the game, that is.
From the 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
Jake McCabe - Timothy Liljegren
Mark Giordano - John Klingberg
Dallas has only scored 16 times in five games. They have a good win/loss record almost entirely because of a strong defence and a hot goalie.
The Leafs have 23 goals in six games and have managed to keep that higher than the goals against by a thin margin thanks mostly to dumb luck and Joe Woll.
It's still very early in the season, everyone has aspects of their game lagging behind where they want to be and there's no real way to game this matchup. Dallas will start to score more, the Leafs will improve on defensive zone coverage and they'll both get their power play working. Tonight? Well, some of that might happen, not likely all of it.
Go Leafs Go!