Time: 7:00pm ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket
Maple Leafs Blog: Pension Plan Puppets
The doldrums of the season and the new year has not been kind to the Red Wings. Since coming back from the COVID pause and going into the game with Pittsburgh last night, the Red Wings are 3-5-3 with a goal against average of 3.90 and a goals for of 2.72. You are not going to win many hockey games with those kinds of numbers. They will look to try and get back on track tonight as the streaking Toronto Maple Leafs step into the Dough Joe.
Toronto comes into tonight’s matchup 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They have had no issues scoring goals this season, sitting seventh in the league in goals for per game at 3.36. To the dismay of the Red Wings and their struggling penalty kill, Toronto’s scoring is mainly buoyed by their league leading 30.6% power play so Detroit is really going to need to focus on staying out of the box tonight. Conversely, Toronto is also bringing in a stout defense in terms of goal against, sitting sixth in the league at 2.62 goals against per and a top five penalty kill.
Individually, the majority of key players for Toronto are well know to Red Wings fans by now. Beyond Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, etc, one name that has not been as household a name before this season but might be the most important player to Toronto right now is starting goalie Jack Campbell. Once a top goalie prospect whose shine started to patina, Campbell has turned in a Vezina level season for Toronto over 30 starts with a .926 save percentage and an almost unheard of 2.26 goals against average. Goaltending has been arguably the biggest bugaboo for the Maple Leafs over the past few seasons so if Campbell can continue to give them production even close to his current pace, they are going to be an extremely tough team to bet on any night by any team, let alone a team struggling with consistency, scoring, and defense in front of their goaltending like the Red Wings. Detroit can win this game as this game is sure to have a raucous crowd in the LCA and this team has really fed on the energy in their home barn to rise up and play well against some tough teams this season. That said, they are going to need a stronger and more consistent effort across the entire lineup tonight if they are going to find a way to walk away with two points tonight.