Things are starting to look bleak for the Maple Leafs, who are just 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Toronto enters the week in fifth place in the Atlantic Division standings with just 22 points through 22 games (9-9-4). The Maple Leafs are currently mired in a five-game losing skid and their -6 goal differential is tied for the fifth-worst mark in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights are trying to get back on the winning track after going 3-4-3 over their last 10 contests. Vegas has compiled 23 points in 22 contests and they are fresh off of snapping a five-game skid over the weekend. Can Toronto snap out of its recent funk with a road win in Vegas on Tuesday night?
Maple Leafs winless without MarnerToronto was unable to stop the bleeding over the weekend, losing its fifth consecutive contest 6-1 versus the shorthanded Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. Backup goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo was ambushed in his NHL debut, stopping 32 of 28 shots to take the loss in his first career game, while Jason Spezza scored his second goal of the season to help the Maple Leafs avoid a shutout.
Islanders fans back at it chanting "We don't need you" at John Tavares pic.twitter.com/TolhRJVmdR— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 14, 2019
Toronto is now 0-4-1 in their last five games and they’ve been outscored 23 to 13 during that span. The losing streak has coincided with the loss of top-six forward Mitch Marner, who is out for a minimum of four weeks with an ankle injury. The team also lost center Alexander Kerfoot, who is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair facial dental fractures.
Special teams have also been a problem for the Maple Leafs, who rank near the bottom of the NHL on the power play and penalty kill. Toronto has converted only 17.4 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage (21st in the NHL) and they rank 25th in the league with a penalty-killing percentage of only 75 percent.
Frederik Andersen is scheduled to patrol the crease for the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. The 30-year-old is 9-4-3 with a 2.74 GAA and .912 save percentage in 16 starts but Toronto has been forced to rely on him all too often through the early part of the schedule. Maple Leafs backup goaltenders are a combined 0-5-1 in six starts this season and they have played a major role in the team’s recent struggles. Andersen has made one start against the Golden Knights already this year, stopping 37 of 38 shots on Nov. 7 to help the Maple Leafs earn a 2-1 overtime win.
Golden Knights still banking on FleuryThe Golden Knights snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday night, as the offense broke out of its recent slump in a 6-0 victory over the Calgary Flames. William Karlsson posted his third consecutive multi-point game while Marc-Andre Fleury earned his 10th victory of the season, tying him for the NHL-lead. Fleury stopped all 34 shots that he faced for his second shutout of the season while Karlsson finished with two goals and one assist and Nate Schmidt had four assists for the Golden Knights in the win.
find 6 reasons to smile this Monday morning 😄 pic.twitter.com/5uUPFpqsFI— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 18, 2019
A lot like Toronto, Vegas has been forced to rely on its staring goaltender far too often this season. Golden Knights’ backups are a combined 0-4-2 with a .876 save percentage in seven games this season. As a result, Fleury has been forced to start 16 of the team’s first 22 games, putting him on pace to eclipse his career-high of 66 starts in a single season (2009-10).
Fleury is expected to get the call once again for the Golden Knights on Tuesday night. The 34-year-old is 10-5-1 with a 2.52 GAA and .920 save percentage in 17 games (16 starts) so far this season. After a pair of lackluster starts, Fleury will try to keep his momentum going after posting his second shutout of the season last time out against the Flames. He made two starts against the Maple Leafs last season, losing both in regulation after posting a 4.08 GAA and .873 save percentage in those two matchups.