Minnesota at Toronto - 7:00 p.m. ET – Mattamy Athletic Centre
Watch on Linear TV: TSN, Bally Sports North
Streaming: YouTube

Toronto's last game was an overwhelming 6-2 win over New York on Sunday that featured a Sarah Nurse hat trick. Toronto is in first place with 41 points, tied with Montréal, but with one extra game remaining.

Minnesota's last game was on Saturday where they lost 2-1 to Boston, who are desperate for points to take fourth place from Ottawa.


With two games left to play and 35 points, the best Minnesota can do is tie Toronto and Montréal at 41 points. If they did that, and their opponents lost to order for them, they'd still be unable to take first place. Second place is just possible. The once dominant team, the team I predicted to be the best in the league, has fallen back to the range of the playoff contenders, Boston and Ottawa, who both have 32 points.

Minnesota is a tough team to beat, but they also don't win decisively. They've been in OT seven times, and similar numbers are shared by Ottawa and Montréal. All three teams get close in games, but don't dominate. Ottawa nearly always lost in OT, Minnesota won four and lost three, and Montréal have won three and lost five. That's the standings difference.

There is an interesting scenario here where if Minnesota loses its final two games and Boston wins in regulation in their final game, they would have identical records where the tie would be broken by their record against each other leaving Boston the winner. Ottawa can also move ahead if they end up tied in points.

Bottom line: to control their own fate, Minnesota needs to win one of their final two games, either tonight or on Saturday against New York.

They have a healthy goal differential, but their special teams results have been extremely poor. They get good goaltending with Nicole Hensley getting identical results to Ann-Renée Desbiens. They've just been getting too many of their wins as two-pointers.


Toronto has not clinched first place. The right combination of wins and losses in the next few days could see Montréal take it. However, a regulation win tonight for Toronto will do the job for the blue team. Even if Montréal ties them in points, Toronto breaks the tie on RW.

The last game was, frankly, way too easy, and not a good tune-up for the playoffs, tonight should be a tough test, and that's what they need to build focus.

By the way, Kristen Campbell, who began the season with terrible results, has risen up to a .923 Save %, right behind Nicole Hensley's .926. Even 24 games is enough to get a wild swing in goaltending.

The Game

Toronto doesn't need a win, but it sure would be more of a statement to dominate Minnesota than it was rolling over New York.

Tonight is the Pride game, and there's something I noticed at that New York game, played in the Islanders' rink. Pride comes to every PWHL game. One of the Toronto trainers/support staff had a rainbow strap on her bag of supplies. The camera panned the crowd and you saw comfortably out people enjoying the game. The teams have comfortably out players – quietly, loudly, tacitly known or openly inviting everyone to know them better. A crowd in Toronto is just like that New York crowd.

The NHL does this thing for Pride games where they frame it as "you are welcome here." As if this is an exception, a special thing the NHL is stirring themselves to do. They are busy now tolerating the "you" in that phrase and they'd like to be seen doing it while still pointing out that "you" are not in the NHL itself. In the PWHL "you" are already there. There is no question of welcome, it's absurd to even say it because the PWHL was built inclusive as an assumption so basic to the process it never needed to be articulated. The PWHL isn't perfect, no organization can wall itself off from the world and attain purity of thought. But Pride is in the PWHL so deep every night is Pride night.

But an excuse to really shout about it is nice too. Happy Pride Game Toronto fans!