Minnesota Wild vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Preview (November 8)
On November 8, at the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Minnesota Wild in an East versus West NHL showdown. Last time out, the Maple Leafs managed to stave off the Vegas Golden Knights to claim a 4-3 shootout win on Monday, with doubt-for-the-game Auston Matthews playing a season-high 21:11. Minnesota, on the other hand, are now at two losses from two games on their road trip, having succumbed 5-3 to the Boston Bruins on Monday night.
With both teams coming into the game with a day’s break, you would expect to see Frederik Andersen and Devan Dubnyk man the crease for this game. However, against the Bruins, Dubnyk was yanked at the end of the second period after conceding four goals from 24 attempts; Alex Stalock coming in to stop all nine of the shots against his coverage.
Naturally, Dubnyk is Minnesota’s starting goaltender and shall remain as such for the duration of the season, but given the inconsistency that he’s struggled with so far, Stalock may be given his second start of the season against Toronto on Wednesday night. Then again, despite his play thus far, Dubnyk has put up a superior goals-against average and save percentage to Maple Leafs starter Andersen – who will almost certainly start against the Wild.
The problem for the Wild is their scoring. With only 40 goals scored in 13 games and 40 against, there’s no wonder why they sit so low in the standings and are at long +1100 odds to win the Western Conference despite coming a close second last season. Toronto, on the other hand, has scored a league-leading 61 goals in 16 games, but they have conceded 58 goals. Basically, Toronto can score for fun, with their weakness being the amount that they concede.
So, with the Wild struggling to keep the puck out of the net at one end and struggling to get it in the net at the other, Toronto’s veracious scoring – which is one of the reasons why they’re third-favourite at +650 to win the Eastern Conference – will prove to be too much for the travellers. Minnesota’s physicality and powerful defensemen will have their say against the speedy young forwards of Toronto, but eventually, the home team should come out victorious.