Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: CBC, SNO, SNP, SN-PIT

The Leafs last game was one of those games on Thursday, which they lost in overtime, 6-5. Their record is 15-6-6.

The Penguins last game was on Wednesday on the road in Montréal, where they won in a shootout. Their record is 13-12-3.


Why are the Penguins losing so much? I'm sure their coach would like to know that, too, but they should not be a bad team. They are a top 10 team at five-on-five in Corsi and Expected Goals. Their five-on-five team Save % is third best in the NHL. That should get you in the playoffs.

Their power play is okay, maybe even good, but they have the sixth lowest Shooting % in the NHL. They aren't allowing a lot of goals on the PK though, so it's a wash in terms of effect on the overall picture.

Yes, they have a poor Shooting % at five-on-five too, but their actual Goals For % in all situations is 53, and the 10th best in the NHL.

The last time the Leafs played the Penguins, we talked about how one stomping of the Sharks was skewing that picture, but they've played 28 games now. That shouldn't be a factor.

For the first 17 games of the season, they either won big or lost big. Most games were decided by more than two goals. Then suddenly they became the Leafs, playing one-goal games and ending up in overtime more often.

They don't score enough, is the problem. Their depth is very poor, and Sidney Crosby leads the team in scoring but you can't have a stars and grinders lineup if your stars don't really score like stars anymore. They're almost good enough, and some sequencing bad luck of when they score and when they don't has made them look worse in the standings than they really are.

Points-based analysis says Erik Karlsson is just not like he was last year. This is true even if you dig deeper, he's actually better at almost everything, he just doesn't have Timo Meier to pass to anymore.


Andrew Destin via Daily Faceoff from yesterday's practice

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Reilly Smith - Evgeni Malkin - Valtteri Puustinen
Radim Zohorna - Lars Eller - Drew O'Connor
Jansen Harkins - Jonathan Gruden - Jeff Carter

Ryan Graves - Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson - Erik Karlsson
Pierre-Olivier Joseph - John Ludvig

Tristan Jarry
Alex Nedeljkovic


So there's a really weird narrative about the last game that the Leafs played their worst game ever until the third period. They sure had some defensive breakdowns, but no, the goals piling up felt like they must have been uniquely horrible, but it's not the case. That game against Ottawa was much, much worse. So was the one against the Islanders.

It shouldn't have been a surprise that the Leafs kept shooting and started piling up their own goals too. The defensive breakdowns, and the lack of good puck control at the bluelines are really the anchor hanging around the Leafs' necks this year, though.

Ryan Reaves is out, Pontus Holmberg has been recalled, and Timothy Liljegren is not supposed to be ready to return, but says he is. Matt Knies should be back, Martin Jones should start, but Brodie was absent from skate.


From morning skate - defence to be confirmed

Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Nicholas Robertson - Max Domi - Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann - David Kampf - Noah Gregor

Morgan Rielly - Timothy Liljegren
William Lagesson - Jake McCabe
Simon Benoit - Conor Timmins

Ilya Samsonov
Martin Jones - presumed starter

The Game

So let's see how well the Leafs do against a team that routinely has the puck a whole lot more than they do. Will Jones fix the Penguins' shooting % woes? Or will the Leafs take a one-goal game late into the third?