The Pittsburgh Penguins conclude their mini two-game road trip tonight in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Penguins are coming off an unbelievable comeback victory, which saw them overcome a 4-1 deficit, against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Maple Leafs see themselves sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but looking to get back on the winning track after coming up on the wrong end of a 4-2 score against the Boston Bruins.
Season records: Penguins (16-8-0; 32 pts.); Maple Leafs (15-10-0; 30 pts.)
Season series: Maple Leafs lead 1-0
Last meeting: The last time these two teams saw each other was way back on January 23 in Pittsburgh. That night, the Maple Leafs got the best of the Penguins, defeating them 5-2 thanks to two goals from James van Riemsdyk. Resident Penguin killers Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski also added to their goal totals against Pittsburgh. The only bright spot for Pittsburgh was captain Sidney Crosby, who had a goal and an assist in the loss.
Keys to the game:
1. Control Nazem Kadri: The Leaf’s first round pick in 2009 has been on fire as of late. Kadri is currently on a four game point-scoring streak, and has scored a goal in each of his last two games. The twenty-two year old forward leads Toronto with twenty-five points and trails James van Riemsdyk by two goals for the lead in that category.
2. Contain the “Penguin Killers:” In case you have missed the last couple of Penguins/Leafs games, Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski basically own Pittsburgh. In twenty-two career games against the Penguins, MacArthur has twenty-one points (8 goals, 13 assists), most against one team in his career. Grabovski is right them with MacArthur, scoring sixteen points (6 goals, 10 assists) in sixteen games against Pittsburgh.
Maple Leafs: LW Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm)
Projected lines (via Empty Netters):
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
19 Beau Bennett-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-18 James Neal
24 Matt Cooke-16 Brandon Sutter-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-15 Dustin Jeffrey-27 Craig Adams
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
47 Simon Despres-5 Deryk Engelland
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
21 James van Riemsdyk-42 Tyler Bozak-81 Phil Kessel
11 Jay McClement (A)-84 Mikhail Grabovski-41 Nikolai Kulemin
16 Clarke MacArthur (A)-43 Nazem Kadri-39 Matt Frattin
28 Colton Orr-47 Leo Komarov-38 Frazer McLaren
3 Dion Phaneuf (C)-55 Korbinian Holzer
36 Carl Gunnarsson-53 Mike Kostka
45 Mark Fraser-4 Cody Franson
34 James Reimer