Game 47: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Place: Scotiabank Arena
Channel: Sportsnet

The Leafs are hosting the perennial-contender Pittsburgh Penguins, who always seem to give them a hard time. Let’s hope Sidney Crosby is resting on his laurels now that he’s got 500 career goals. (He’s not. He never rests. He’s a maniac.)

Pre-game music!

Toronto Maple Leafs

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - T.J. Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Travis Dermott
Jack Campbell
Petr Mrazek

Not too much to report here, other than that the Leafs are doing a little cap tinkering as they claimed and then waived familiar depth forward Adam Brooks. Timothy Liljegren is nominally in the AHL, though he’ll presumably be back soon. Sheldon Keefe has hinted there may be some defensive experimentation tonight:

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jeff Carter - Evgeni Malkin - Danton Henein
Brock McGinn - Evan Rodrigues - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Brian Boyle - Dominik Simon

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson - John Marino
Michael Matheson - Chad Ruhwedel

Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

Lines care of Daily Faceoff.

The Penguins have never really been out of contention since Sidney Crosby’s second year in the league, and at time of writing they lead the Metropolitan Division in raw points. They’re about equally good offensively and defensively, which is a little surprising based on name recognition, but Mike Sullivan has been getting good defensive results out of the Pens for a while now.

At forward, they still have a top six that can contend with anybody, even if half of it is old. The other half isn’t bad either: I’d consider Jake Guentzel a legit first-line player in his own right now, and if Bryan Rust isn’t that he sure produces like it. Evan Rodrigues is having a massive breakout year, while Kasperi Kapanen appears to be exactly what he’s always been. Brian Boyle, by the way, has made a surprise return to the NHL after missing last season, coming into the Pens’ camp on a PTO and winning a job. Atta boy.

Kris Letang remains an exceptional offensive defenceman when playing, and he’s playing now. The rest of the top four is competent if unspectacular. Tristan Jarry is having a strong year in net. I think Carolina’s still the favourite to win the Metro, but it would not be a shock if Pittsburgh knocked them off and went on another Crosby/Malkin run.

For tonight? Well, the Penguins are at full strength, and whenever that’s the case, they’re dangerous. Toronto had better be ready.

Go Leafs Go!