Toronto at Boston – 7:00 p.m. ET – Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell
Watch on Linear TV: NESN, TSN
Streaming: YouTube

The PWHL is back, but first, where did they go?

They went off to play national team tune-up games in the first of two breaks built into the season to accommodate the World Championships in Utica in April.

Canada and USA finished their Rivalry Series with three games in Saskatchewan and St. Paul, Minnesota. Canada won all three to take the series four games to three.

Leading the full series in points are Natalie Spooner and Hilary Knight (Boston) with six. In goals Spooner shares the top spot with Alex Carpenter (New York) and Gabbie Hughes (Ottawa) with three. Sarah Nurse leads in assists along with Erin Ambrose (Montréal), Knight and Kelly Pannek (Minnesota) with four.

European teams were in action as well, and Susanna Tapani (Boston) and Team Finland won the Euro Hockey Tour. They lost one game only to Sweden, where Emma Söderberg (Boston) was in net.

Also during the time off, there was a trade. Boston acquired defender Abby Cook and forward Susanna Tapani from Minnesota in exchange for defender Sophie Jaques.

With 25 games played, the league averages now look like this:

PWHL League Averages

25 2.34 0.40 0.08 2.86 0.14 0.86 0.03 29.00 0.08 26.74 0.922 2.26

PWHL Team Averages

Boston 7 2.43 2.57 0.29 0.14 0.14 0.00 0.00 0.14 2.29 2.14 27.00 24.57 26.29 0.09 0.910
Minnesota 9 2.33 2.11 0.11 0.67 0.11 0.00 0.11 0.00 2.67 3.11 27.67 25.56 28.67 0.08 0.924
Montreal 9 2.44 2.00 0.11 0.44 0.00 0.11 0.11 0.11 2.89 3.56 32.22 30.33 27.78 0.09 0.941
New York 9 2.44 2.33 0.67 0.44 0.00 0.11 0.11 0.11 2.89 3.00 34.78 32.56 28.33 0.09 0.936
Ottawa 7 2.57 2.43 1.00 0.43 0.14 0.14 0.14 0.00 3.43 2.29 26.57 24.14 32.14 0.08 0.909
Toronto 9 1.89 2.67 0.33 0.22 0.11 0.11 0.00 0.11 3.00 2.78 24.78 22.22 31.33 0.06 0.897

Glossary for League Averages

Most stats are per game, per team

GP: Games Played - total for league
G: Goals - does not include shootout winners, does include ENG
PPG: Power Play Goals (PPGA are goals scored by the opposition on their PPA)
SHG: Shorthanded Goals
ENG: Empty Net Goals
PPO: Power Play Opportunities
PPA: Power Play Opportunities Against
PP%: Power Play Success %
PK%: Penalty Kill Success %
JB%: Jailbreak Success % - a jailbreak is the PWHL term for ending a power play by scoring shorthanded
SA: Shots Against
SF: Shots For
SH%: Shooting %
SV: Saves
SV%: Save % - does not include ENG or shootout winners
GAA: Goals Against Average - does not include ENG


Boston, still two games played fewer than most teams, has a Points % of .524 and are in third place with 2 RW, 2 OTW, 1 OTL and 2 L.

They score goals right on league average, and allow a small amount more. They don't take or draw a lot of penalties, limiting special team time, and at 12.5% their PP success percentage, is not inspiring, but it's better than Toronto's.

The PWHL version of hockey is a five-on-five game with a heavy emphasis on goaltender performance, and Boston has a team Save % well below average. Emma Söderberg is now below Toronto's goalies in Save % with .879, but Aerin Frankel is league average with .927. So the goalie choice really matters for Boston.

Alina Müller is their main nexus of offence with nine points, and one of their biggest problems is Hilary Knight only has one goal and one assist. The addition of Susanna Tapani brings them some much needed offensive power.


Toronto played a great game in their last outing and a lot of their stats have been trending up. The tricky business with this first PWHL season is the low number of games and the heavy influence of the three point system. Regulation wins will get you in the playoffs. And for that you need goaltending and shooting, and you can't wait long for it to appear.

Toronto has .407 in Points %, tied with New York for last. They actually lead fourth place Ottawa in points – to the bottom of the league is tightening up as Toronto gets a little better. They have 3 RW, 1 OTW, 0 OTL, and 5 L.

Toronto players showed very well in the Rivalry Series, and hopefully that will give them a boost for the rest of the season.

Toronto is below league average in almost everything except power plays for and against, and shots for and against. The trouble is, their troubled shooting doesn't convert their good PP differential into points, and they don't use their shot advantage well, either.

Last game did show improvement in both those areas of offensive concern.

The Game

This break has only been a break for the players not on national teams, and Boston's Alina Müller did not play for Switzerland in the EHT.

The triumphant Spooner vs the rested Müller is the contest up front. In net, well, that depends on who gets the job tonight.

We'll have lines when they are announced closer to gametime.