Hockey Night in Canada is on the scene in Detroit on Saturday as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are off to a 3-1 start to the season, including a 4-2 win on Thursday night to spoil the home opener for the Montreal Canadiens. Despite the pleasant surprise of a start, the Wings will have their hands full as the Maple Leafs look to get back on track after a disappointing Thursday night performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Entering Saturday night’s tilt at Little Caesar’s Arena, here’s a look at what to keep an eye on:
DET: Jimmy Howard (Unconfirmed, but likely)
- 2 games played, 3.09 GAA, .915 save percentage, 1-1 record in 117 minutes
TOR: Frederik Andersen (Unconfirmed, but likely)
- 4 games played, 3.75 GAA, .876 save percentage, 2-2 record in 224 minutes
- Maple Leafs’ forward Kasperi Kapanen has been subject to plenty of criticism to start the season. The 23-year-old key piece to the Kessel deal has just one assist through five games, and has looked out of place alongside John Tavares and Mitch Marner. Although his possession numbers are positive, Kapanen has been involved in a couple game shifting plays already this season, and many people believe his top line leash is very short. Kapanen could find himself in the dog house sooner rather than later, but look for him to have a bounce back game.
- Among many positives for the Red Wings through four games is forward Anthony Mantha. The former first round pick has been red hot with six goals already, with four of those goals coming against Dallas on Sunday. While a lot of people around the Red Wings consider Mantha to still be loaded with potential, there has obviously been some doubt there. The 25-year old looks like he may finally be tapping into that potential.
- Toronto’s defensive depth has been surprising, as Justin Holl has earned his third consecutive game this season despite being slated into a “rotation” system with Martin Marincin after training camp. Holl spent most of his season in the press box last year, but coach Mike Babcock has liked his game as of late.
The Leafs and Wings played to a 2-2 season series in 2018-2019, with three of the four games going to overtime. Although both teams finished at opposite ends of the standings, each meeting was filled with intensity. It would stand to reason that this will continue Saturday night, as the red hot Wings meet the sliding Maple Leafs.