eToro: Buy Shares with 0% Commission

Your capital is at risk

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 12/4/21 @ 6:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (16-6-1)  33pts  1st in the Central

3.74 Goals For Per Game (4th in the NHL)

2.91 Goals Against Per Game (17th in the NHL)

13.5% Power Play (27th in the NHL)

82.1% Penalty Kill (17th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 9G 19A = 28pts

2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 13G 8A = 21pts

3. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 6G 11A = 17pts

4. #47 Alex Goligoski ~ 2G 14A = 16pts

5. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 9G 6A = 15pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #21 Brandon Duhaime ~ 44 PIM’s

2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 41 PIM’s

3. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 23 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #33 Cam Talbot (12-5-0)  2.71GAA  .914%SP

2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (4-1-1)  2.87GAA  .895%SP

 

Vs.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs (17-6-1)  35pts  2nd in the Atlantic

3.08 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)

2.17 Goals Against Per Game (2nd in the NHL)

23.4% Power Play (8th in the NHL)

85.9% Penalty Kill (6th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #91 John Tavares ~ 11G 14A = 25pts

2. #88 William Nylander ~ 10G 13A = 23pts

3. #34 Auston Matthews ~ 13G 9A = 22pts

4. #16 Mitchell Marner ~ 6G 15A = 21pts

5. #58 Michael Bunting ~ 6G 11A = 17pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #20 Nick Ritchie ~ 19 PIM’s

2. #58 Michael Bunting ~ 16 PIM’s

3. #24 Wayne Simmonds ~ 15 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #36 Jack Campbell (13-4-1)  1.72GAA  .943%SP  3SO

2. #60 Joseph Woll (3-0-0)  1.67GAA  .939%SP  1SO

Lines:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Bunting~Matthews~Marner

Kerfoot~Tavares~W. Nylander

Ritchie~Kampf~Kase

Engvall~Spezza~Simmonds

Mo. Reilly~Brodie

Muzzin~Holl

Sandin~Liljegren

Campbell

Woll

Minnesota Wild

Kaprizov~Hartman~Zuccarello

Greenway~Eriksson Ek~M.Foligno

R.Pitlick~Rask~Fiala

Duhaime~Sturm~Bjugstad

Brodin~Dumba

Merrill~Goligoski

Jo.Benn~Kulikov

Talbot

Kahkonen

 

More 50 Reversal of fortune Synonyms. Similar words for Reversal of fortune.

 

Early in the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs looked as though they were in crisis mode. Of course, this is nothing new for the franchise in the hockey-media center of the National Hockey League. This is a media market, where a slight slump, or a three-game losing streak, will put one of the league’s largest fanbases into a frenzy. I can only imagine what sports call-in radio shows in Toronto are like. If the Maple Leafs had seasons over and over again like Arizona, the Ontario Provincial Police might have to be on high alert for all sorts of situations. Whenever members of the Minnesota Wild have dared to complain about the negativity of media coverage in Minnesota, you can only imagine Maple Leafs players rolling their eyes and saying a sarcastic, “oh, that’s adorable.” Players in Minnesota face far less scrutiny and criticism in Minnesota when compared to Montreal and especially Toronto.

The Maple Leafs have managed to reverse its fortunes. Of course it helps now that they have Auston Matthews back in the lineup. Toronto is now one of the hottest teams in the league, as they’ve stormed up to 2nd place in a super competitive Atlantic Division. In their last 10 games, they can boast an impressive 9-1 record. Oh, and did I mention that they’re currently on a 5-game winning streak? I’m sure there’s someone out there who would argue, “yeah, but Minnesota is also on a 5-game winning streak.” And you would be correct. Let’s looks at Minnesota’s last five wins. Two against New Jersey, and then Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, and Arizona. Toronto has faced the Islanders, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, and Colorado. Honestly, they’ve faced similar opponents as far as the standings go, so tonight should be a good litmus test to see if Minnesota is a legit division leading team.

Toronto’s star power up front, led currently by John Tavares, is overwhelming opponents on a nightly basis. Matthews has been rock solid, and since returning he has been scoring at a point-per-game pace along with William Nylander and Mitch Marner. They make this team a nightmare to match up against. And one could almost say that Marner has had a subdued start so far with just six goals on the season. So as strange as it may sound, this Leafs offense could be even better. Alex Kerfoot gives the Maple Leafs versatility. The former 4th round pick from 2017, Michael Bunting has come out of nowhere to be a factor for the Leafs, using his speed and willingness to go into the corners to playing on Toronto’s top line beside Matthews and Marner. Ondrej Kase and David Kampf have been pesky support players that drive opponents crazy and Wayne Simmonds, Kyle Clifford, and Jason Spezza bring a seasoned veteran presence to the Maple Leafs’ bottom six.

On defense, Morgan Reilly is Toronto’s workhorse, logging a shade over 24 minutes of icetime per game. He is mainly noted for is offensive abilities, but since being drafted 5th overall by Toronto in 2012, he’s rounded out his game to be a solid defender as well. T.J. Brodie who is an able puck mover and plays well enough defensively that Reilly can take more risks offensively. Jake Muzzin is an experienced, physical stay-at-home defenseman, who is paired with former Minnetonka High School and University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Justin Holl. Holl has taken the long road through the minors to being a solid part of Toronto’s top four. Rasmus Sandin and stay-at-home defenseman Travid Dermott round out their blueline.

The biggest question going into this season, was who was going to play goaltender. Free agent Petr Mrazek had an ugly start, and that meant the team put its hopes in former U.S. National Development Star Jack Campbell. The Port Huron, MI-native leads the league in wins, with 13, and his .943 save percentage and three shutouts so far this season have been very impressive. Combine that kind of tight play between the pipes and the Leafs’ offense and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone why this team is having so much success right now. Backing him up is Joseph Woll, also a former U.S. National Development Team player. He too has been solid with a .939 save percentage. There’s a good chance that Toronto head coach, Sheldon Keefe will go with Campbell against Minnesota. It’s pretty obvious that Minnesota has been resting Cam Talbot for this game as well as a gauntly of tough game as they are about to embark on a 4-game roadtrip.

Minnesota definitely needs to have a solid sixty minute effort in tonight’s game. While in any game, there’s no room to take a period off, against an opponent like Toronto there’s even less room to do so. While Ryan Hartman’s scoring tear this season has been fun to watch, he’s not a Matthews, Marner, or Tavares. But at least, we can guarantee that Hartman will show up to play. Getting Mats Zucarrello back into the lineup Thursday night certainly made things feel a bit more solid. He was definitely trying to make an impact. While it’s doubtful that we’ll see the return of Jared Spurgeon tonight, it’s been reported that he will travel with the team on the upcoming roadtrip. I just hope his return brings a solid presence on the blueline and not some sort of weird scramble where it feels like they leave Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen out to dry. If there’s been a surprise on Minnesota’s blueline this season, it’s been the impressive play of Dmitri Kulikov on the Wild’s third pairing. Call me weird, but one game I saw him out of the corner of my eye and thought “wait, when did Nate Prosser come back to the team?” He has a presence on this team, and knows what his role on this team is. Honestly, if he were to model his game after Prosser, I wouldn’t argue with that.

Tonight, one of these teams has to lose. A close game would be preferred. Minnesota needs to take this one, and in regulation. Let’s face it, the deeper into the season we get, those regulation wins become more and more important. Hopefully, if Minnesota does fail in this in this effort, it doesn’t become a reversal of fortunes for them. December is one of those months that can make or break a team. Hopefully Minnesota spares themselves the trials and tribulations of a bad month this season.

About Derek Felska

I am a hockey blogger originally from Elk River, MN. I have been blogging about Minnesota hockey for over 13 years and I like to cover it from the NHL on down to High School hockey. I try to provide honest, objective perspective from a 'non-homer' sort of fan. I hope my work reflects this approach.

Read next