The Leafs welcomed Patrick Marleau back to Toronto last night, and served his San Jose Sharks up a loss as a thank you for his service to the Blue and White. If the message Marleau had for his current teammates going into the game was “they can score in bunches, so always be ready” then he was spot on. With the score even at one a piece with just over 5 minutes left, Morgan Rielly broke the tie and the Leafs went on to add another two goals, winning the game 4-1.
They’ll need to score in bunches again tonight if they want to win. Especially considering back up goaltender, Michael Hutchinson, is winless on the year and sports a 4.02 GAA, coupled with a 0.890SV%.
Toronto misses McGoalie.
It would also be nice to see the Leafs’ insane amount of talent score on the power play. They went 0/5 against the Sharks last night and have just 1 power play goal over their past 5 games. They have 8 goals on the power play this season, and their 21.6% conversion rate ranks 12th in the league.
With the amount of talent on the ice this simply isn’t good enough, especially considering Mike Babcock once said “Our toughness is our power play. Take all the penalties you want.” Teams don’t seem to mind taking liberties at the moment…..
Auston Matthews heads to the dressing room for concussion protocol after taking this hit from Sharks’ Branden Dillon pic.twitter.com/jeFxwK0oLh
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) October 26, 2019
In short, for the Leafs to win tonight they’ll have to capitalize on their power plays, which should be possible considering Montreals penalty kill is 30th in the NHL, with a 67.6% success rate. They also need to keep the shots against close to where they were last night…. tough task considering they are currently 21st in the NHL as far as shots against go, but there is this…..
Another shot has been added to Sharks' total, well after the game. 17 ties fewest in one game in Babcock era. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) October 26, 2019
As for the Habs, they are the rested team again tonight, which is ridiculous when you think about it. The Leafs play the Canadians four times this year, three of those games see the Leafs as the tired team. The fourth and final game of the season, on April 4th, allows the Canadians 2 days off beforehand, while the Leafs have 1.
To put the Leafs behind the 8-ball like this against not just a divisional rival, but versus their biggest historical rival, is shameful.
All the Habs have to do is get on top of Hutchinson (Gallagher will), and get as many shots on net as they can. Play a physical game on top of that and they should earn the win.
PP%: 25% (7th in NHL, tied 1 team)
PK%: 67.6% (30th in NHL)
GF/GP: 3.50 (5th in NHL)
GA/GP: 3.30 (22nd in NHL)
S/GP: 34 (6th in NHL)
SA/GP: 31.1 (17th in NHL)
PP%: 21.6% (12th in NHL)
PK%: 79.5% (18th in NHL)
GF/GP: 3.67 (4th in NHL)
GA/GP: 3.25 (20th in NHL)
S/GP: 32.8 (9th in NHL)
SA/GP: 32.3 (21st in NHL)