Toronto Maple Leafs @ Anaheim Ducks
08:00 PM at Honda Center
Watch on: BSSC, TSN4

Opponent’s Site: Anaheim Calling


The Leafs last game was an away game last night against the Los Angeles Kings, which the Leafs lost by a score of 4-2. Toronto has a record of 4-4-1 so far. The recap is full of justifiable consternation and gloom:

Recap: We’re not mad, this is funny to us

The Anaheim Ducks last played an away game on October 28 against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Ducks lost by a score of 4-0, and their current league record is 1-6-1.


I saw a discussion of the Ducks somewhere, maybe it was even on the 32 Thoughts podcast, but it was that old dance people do about genuinely bad teams that lose a lot, where they ask what might change to fix it. Well... they’re bad on purpose, though. Change comes with time for them.

Sure, they might trade some players at the deadline, but they aren’t looking to improve right now! What’s the point of the playoffs for the Ducks this season. They can’t keep fiddling while Trevor Zegras burns up his peak years, but they aren’t likely to do much this season but build a strong foundation for the future.

This is the easy stage for a team. They know they’re bad, they’ve put in a GM to fix it and now time will tell. The players, though, never forget, the players don’t tank. And that is a very talented top line this team has, and their goalie has been a star even if he’s struggling right now.


Source: Aly Lozoff via Daily Faceoff

Maxime Comtois - Trevor Zegras - Troy Terry
Max Jones - Ryan Strome - Frank Vatrano
Adam Henrique - Derek Grant - Jakob Silfverberg
Mason McTavish - Isac Lundestrom - Brett Leason

Cam Fowler - John Klingberg
Dmitry Kulikov - Jamie Drysdale
Simon Benoit - Kevin Shattenkirk

John Gibson - likely starter
Anthony Stolarz


Is this a good time to pit Erik Källgren against a rested team while the Leafs are coming off a back-to-back? No, no it isn’t, but that’s how the ball bounced with the schedule, the injuries and Ilya Samsonov’s mild illness this trip.

Samsonov is currently the sixth best goalie by Moneypuck’s Goals Saved Above Expected. If you look at it per 60, he’s 10th, which puts him at 150% of fan expectation coming into the season.

Källgren is 50th in the per 60 measure (for all goalies) and he’s at -1.4 GSAX on two games, which is respectable backup territory. Particularly considering he was expecting to play in the AHL for most of this season. Teams have to score more when the backup plays, something the Leafs seemed to do last year, but not really any other time.

I’m talking about the goalies because the rest of this team is annoying as, er, duck right now. But fine, Filip Král was pretty good playing light minutes with Gio last night, I’d put him in again. Other than that, who knows? What works is the Tavares and Nylander combination some of the time. What isn’t working is everything else. Although, to be fair, the much-maligned fourth line was pretty good vs the Kings.

I’d put Victor Mete in for Holl too, just to give Holl a break from being the main character on Twitter.


Yesterday’s arrangement, if we get updates, we’ll update:

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Nick Robertson - Calle Järnkrok - Wayne Simmonds
Pierre Engvall - David Kämpf -  Nicolas Aubé-Kubel

Extras: Zach Aston-Reese, Denis Malgin

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Rasmus Sandin - Justin Holl
Mark Giordano - Filip Král

Extra: Victor Mete

Erik Källgren - confirmed starter
Ilya Samsonov

The Game

Yes, the Ducks really are bad at everything:

Maple Leafs vs Ducks

50.0 - 23rdPoints % - Ranking18.8 - 32nd
2.667 - 28thGoals/Game - Ranking2 - 32nd
2.889 - 12thGoals Against/Game - Ranking4.375 - 31st
22.9 - 15thPower Play% - Ranking8.3 - 31st
74.3 - 26thPenalty Kill% - Ranking64.5 - 31st
8.6 - 27thTeam Sh% - Ranking7.8 - 32nd
0.895 - 21stTeam Sv% - Ranking0.883 - 25th
John Tavares, William Nylander - 4Most Goals (NST)Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras - 4
John Tavares - 10Most Points (NST)Troy Terry - 9
Justin Holl - 10Most PIM (NST)Max Comtois - 28
Morgan Rielly - 23.5TOI Leader (NST)Cam Fowler - 25.09

The Leafs look vulnerable, and the Ducks want to win something. This is the kind of game that could turn ugly in many ways, but much like with the Kings game, I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know why the Leafs are like this, so I can’t tell if they’ll snap out of it or just keep on grinding away, playing like, er, donkey.

Snap out of it, Leafs.