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Preview: Maple Leafs vs the Penguins

Did Pittsburgh move into the Atlantic or something? Why are we always playing them?

NHL: NOV 15 Maple Leafs at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Pittsburgh Penguins
07:00 PM at PPG Paints Arena
Watch on: NHLN, CBC, TVAS, SN, CITY, ATTSN-PT

Opponent’s Site: PensBurgh

The Leafs last game was an away game on November 25 against the Minnesota Wild, which Toronto won by a score of 4-3. The Leafs have a record of 12-5-5 so far.

The Pittsburgh Penguins last played an away game on November 25 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins won by a score of 4-1, and their current league record is 11-7-3.

The Leafs play the Penguins for the third time, so there’s not a lot of mystery here. Evgeni Malkin is a force, and if they’re goalie is on, they can wipe the ice with you. They aren’t really a top echelon team, but they are a dangerous one.

Them

They haven’t been changing lines much, and they played Friday as well, and away, so they are likely to put out a similar lineup.

Lines

Source: Danny Shirey via Daily Faceoff

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Danton Heinen
Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald

Marcus Pettersson - Kris Letang
Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Jeff Petry
Brian Dumoulin - Jan Rutta

Casey DeSmith
Tristan Jarry

Us

The Leafs are unlikely to be importing and deporting players from and to Toronto, so the roster is the roster, but they may move Simmonds out (he was unnecessary vs the Wild and more speed would have been more effective).

Will Timmins play? He might. And he might because Sheldon Keefe did not show a lot of confidence in Victor Mete, but he does seem willing to play Mac Hollowell more than makes most viewers comfortable.

Lines

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Calle Järnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - Pontus Holmberg - Wayne Simmonds
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Extras: Denis Malgin, Nick Robertson

Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Victor Mete - Mac Hollowell
Extra: Conor Timmins

Erik Källgren - expected starter
Matt Murray

The Game

Toronto vs Pittsburgh

Toronto Stat Pittsburgh
Toronto Stat Pittsburgh
65.9 - 6th Points % - Ranking 59.5 - 13th
2.955 - 19th Goals/Game - Ranking 3.571 - 6th
2.636 - 6th Goals Against/Game - Ranking 3.143 - 16th
25.4 - 8th Power Play% - Ranking 17.1 - 26th
77.8 - 18th Penalty Kill% - Ranking 80.6 - 11th
9.8 - 17th Team Sh% - Ranking 10.7 - 10th
0.907 - 8th Team Sv% - Ranking 0.906 - 9th
John Tavares - 12 Most Goals (NST) Sidney Crosby - 11
John Tavares, Mitchell Marner - 25 Most Points (NST) Sidney Crosby - 28
Michael Bunting - 32 Most PIM (NST) Evgeni Malkin - 18
Morgan Rielly - 23 TOI Leader (NST) Kris Letang - 23.94

Morgan Rielly’s seat on PP1 isn’t even cold, and the Leafs are slipping down the rankings in power play success %. The power play is very unreliable at the moment, so is the defence, and so is Erik Källgren. If enough of those things fail at once, we could have an ugly game. If they don’t, we won’t.

As always, the Leafs must play to their strength. They can be slightly more defensively responsible, but they won’t become the Devils overnight. They have to use their speed and offensive power to the max. Particularly against the aged Penguins.

Go Leafs Go, keep running this con as long as you can.