As the Leafs (17-14-3) prepare to play the Penguins (23-10-1), here’s the latest news ahead of tonight’s clash in Pittsburgh.
* Last time – Leafs fans will hardly need reminding of the last time these two teams meet, as they gave up a 4-1 lead on the way to a 6-5 shootout loss in Pittsburgh. Ironically, 4-1 was the final score when the Leafs won back on October 26th in Toronto.
* Form – Despite Saturday’s impressive 7-3 win against the Blackhawks, the Leafs face a tough task tonight in Pittsburgh. In their last 10 games, Toronto is 3-5-2, while the Penguins are 8-1-1. The Leafs are also 6-7-3 on their travels this season, while Pittsburgh are 14-3-0 on home ice.
* Stat line – Phil Kessel continues to impress for the Leafs, leading them with 32 points (17 goals & 15 assists) in 34 games this season. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby has confirmed his position as the NHL’s best player with 46 points (18 goals & 28 assists), also in 34 games.
* Injury news – Dave Bolland (ankle) and Tyler Bozak (oblique strain) remain on injured reserve for the Leafs. Colton Orr (elbow) is listed as questionable for tonight’s game.
* Injury news – The Penguins are actually in a worse position than the Leafs in respect of current injuries. Paul Martin (broken leg), Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), Brooks Orpik (head injury), Tanner Glass (broken hand), Andrew Ebbett (broken ankle) and Beau Bennett (broken wrist) are all out. Kris Letang (lower-body injury) and Evgeni Malkin (leg injury) are both questionable for tonight’s game.
* Lineup news – The Leafs are expected to have no lineup changes from Saturday night, meaning Paul Ranger and Mark Fraser will likely be healthy scratches again. David Clarkson is serving the second of a two-game suspension for head shot on Vladimir Sobotka. James Neal is also out, currently serving a five-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Brad Marchand.
* Stat line – Toronto will be looking to take advantage of their 3rd ranked power-play opportunities (24.3%), but will have a tough time against Pittsburgh’s 2nd-best penalty kill unit (87.8%). When the roles are reversed, the Penguins is first in the entire league (26.7%), which could mean trouble for the Leafs, who are 27th in the NHL (76.7%).
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- By T.O.I.N.S.D.R.
- December 16, 2013