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Game Preview: Maple Leafs face Crosby, Kessel, and the Penguins tonight

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It’s a Saturday night match against some familiar faces on the Penguins’ roster.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Maple Leafs @ Penguins: Game 30
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: PNG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
Broadcast/Streaming: CBC Hockey Night in Canada
Opponent SB Nation Site: Pensburgh

The Leafs have the first of back-to-back weekend games; tonight against the Penguins and tomorrow against the Oilers. Both teams are coming into this game rested. The Penguins last game was Thursday against the Islanders which they won in a overtime.

Toronto Maple Leafs (practice yesterday)

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Connor Brown
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - William Nylander

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak


Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Pittsburgh Penguins (most recent game)

Forward Lines

Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Jake Guentzel - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Carl Hagelin - Riley Sheahan - Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl - Carter Rowney - Ryan Reaves

Defence Pairings

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Matt Hunwick(!)
Ian Cole - Chad Ruhwedel


Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

Aside from the very well known top two forward lines, and our old friend Matt Hunwick (who scored their game winning goal on Thursday!), there aren’t many well known names, especially in net. After Marc-Andre Fleury was claimed by Las Vegas in the expansion draft, they were left with his backup, Matt Murray.

Matt Murray himself was injured a week ago and so the Penguins brought in two guys you never heard of to work the net. It is not yet confirmed who will be the starter tonight, though it’s likely Jarry who played on Thursday.

It won’t surprise you to learn that the Penguins sit eighth in the league in goals against/game, behind only a bunch of other teams with major goaltending problems like the Oilers, Panthers, and Sabres.

One player we won’t be seeing is our old friend Frank Corrado. He was replaced today with, well, someone else you never heard of.

Kevin Czuczman is an undrafted player from London. He played 13 games for the Islanders in the 2013-14 season, but hasn’t seen the NHL since then.

The Penguins power play is still lethal, second in the league at an astounding 27.02% this season. That’s 3% higher than any team achieved in all of last season. A big part of that success is from Kessel, who Corsica shows as fifth in the league for primary points/60 on the power play. Of course, the Leafs aren’t too shabby in that stat their either, with one James van Riemsdyk being fourth.

The point is for either team tonight’s game could be won or lost by taking one dumb penalty and giving the other team a free goal on a power play. Kadri has always been a thorn in Crosby’s side, perhaps he can draw one or two to help the Leafs without taking some on his own. After all, he claims he’s matured and now knows how to walk the line.

Maybe he can have them eating out of his hand. We’ll see tonight at 7:00.