The Leafs look to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Ottawa Senators last night, with a win from this home-and-home series. Ottawa surprised Toronto and took control of the game from the Leafs in the second period, and got themselves a win out of it. Tonight, the Leafs will want to prove why a majority of people have them winning the North division this year, especially against a Sens team that many had finishing last.
It was a tale of two teams last night, as the Leafs were playing like an elite team playing a lottery team for the first half of the game, as they had 71.58% of the expected goals in the first, and at one point had 85% in the second. However, in the second half, they just gave up, as they finished the second with 46.98% of the expected goals, and had only 8.4% of them in the third. That’s right, 8.4%, a grand total of 0.08 expect goals. They played really bad.
They also didn’t get much help from Frederik Andersen in net. He let in a couple of stinkers again, and looked like he was swimming in his crease for quite a bit of the game. He always starts the season bad, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the second half of last season and the fact that we have Jack Campbell as well means his leash is a lot shorter this year.
With no morning skates, neither team has any word on the actual lines, but we do have a couple known roster changes.
For the Leafs, Nick Robertson will draw into the lineup for the first time this season in place of Alexander Barabonov. Not that Barabonov has been bad, but the young prospect definitely deserves a chance to make his mark on the season after impressing Keefe over the summer.
For the Sens, Mike Reilly will be in for Christian Wolanin, but didn’t confirm any other moves.
As for lines, we won’t know anything until warm ups, so I guess just speculate until then!
Leafs player to watch: Auston Matthews
For the first time in a while, Matthews looked human last night. I don’t think that’s a huge concern, but I do think he recognizes he had a bad game, and wants to bounce back with a stronger performance tonight. I feel like we’ll see his first goal of the season tonight.
Senators player to watch: Brady Tkachuk
Part of what makes Tkachuk such a great player is the mind games he plays with his opponents. Now that the Sens are in the Leafs’ heads, it’ll be interesting to see how he ramps up that part of his game tonight, and if it burns the Leafs even more.
Leafs starting goalie: Jack Campbell
To the surprise of no one, Campbell gets the start for the second half of the back to back. The more interesting detail is that Aaron Dell will be the backup while Andersen gets the night off. While this will probably get blown out of proportion, it’s likely just because they want to make sure a rested goalie is there if Campbell falters. With three goalies on the roster right now, we might as well make use of this while we can.
Sens starting goalie: Marcus Hogberg
Like Campbell, Hogberg hasn’t been confirmed yet, but he’ll likely get the start on the second half of a back to back. Hogberg got into 24 games last year, going 5-8-8 with a 3.12 GAA and a .904 save percentage. He played one game against the Leafs last season, where he allowed three goals on 16 shots before being pulled halfway through the game.
The game will be broadcast on CBC and Sportsnet Ontario and will begin at 7:00PM EST.