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Penguins Game 78 vs. Maple Leafs: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins game vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Pittsburgh Penguins have the stage to themselves Monday in terms of their hunt for a playoff spot, with no other teams they are competing with on the schedule.

With a win on the road against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Penguins (36-30-11, 83 points) can leapfrog the Detroit Red Wings (84 points), who are in the second Eastern Conference wildcard spot, and equal the 85 points of the third-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.

Toronto (44-23-9), third in the Atlantic, has clinched a playoff spot but could conceivably catch Florida for second in the Atlantic and isn’t officially clear of Tampa Bay for third in the Atlantic.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

The Penguins moved into a playoff spot Saturday, thanks to a hot streak and their 5-4 win that afternoon over Tampa Bay, but Detroit moved a point ahead Sunday with a 3-1 win over Buffalo.

It’s been a remarkable surge for the Penguins, who have won four straight and have an eight-game point streak (6-0-2).

It’s not likely to get easier with a little more than a week left in the regular season, but it should be pointed out that most of the teams around the Penguins in this late-season competition for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots available have been fading while the Penguins surge.

It would seem likely that the Penguins would stick with the lineup that has been working, although it’s also fair to wonder if they will try to get goaltender Tristan Jarry into a game before the end of the regular season. There are no more back-to-back games.

Alex Nedeljkovic has started in net every game during the eight-game point streak.

Read more:

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Toronto has won four of its past five games, most recently a 4-2 win Saturday over Montreal.

Matthews scored his 64th goal and reached 100 points in that game. He is one goal shy of tying Washington’s Alex Ovechkin among active players for most goals in a season.

Also in that game, the Maple Leafs got back Mitch Marner, who had an assist after he had missed seven games because of a lower-body injury. Marner has 19 points in 19 career games against the Penguins.

Marner’s return also allowed Toronto to reconfigure its lines, spreading its firepower into a impressively balanced look with Marner skating on John Tavares’ line rather than on Matthews’ line.

He also could help revive the Maple Leafs’ power play, which is 1 for 18 over its past six games.

Expected Penguins Lines

Drew O’Connor-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Michael Bunting-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Reilly Smith-Lars Eller-Emil Bemstrom

Jesse Puljujarvi-Jeff Carter-Valtteri Puustinen


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Shea-Jack St. Ivany


Alex Nedeljkovic

Tristan Jarry

Expected Maple Leafs Lines

Tyler Bertuzzi-Auston Matthews-Max Domi

Bobby McMann-John Tavares-Mitch Marner

Matthew Knies-Pontus Holmberg-William Nylander

Connor Dewar-David Kampf-Ryan Reaves


Morgan Reilly-Ilya Lyubushkin

Simon Benoit-Jake McCabe

Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie


Ilya Samsonov

Joseph Woll

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 14.6%, 31st

Penguins penalty kill: 81.0%, 10th

Maple Leafs power play: 24.3%, 7th

Maple Leafs penalty kill: 77.6%, 21st

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins beat Toronto 3-2 at home Nov. 25 and lost 7-0 at Toronto Dec. 16.

Sidney Crosby, with 1,587 career points, is three shy of tying Phil Esposito for 10th most in NHL history. He is also three assists shy of 1,000.

Evgeni Malkin has 68 points (24 goals, 44 assists) in 45 career games against the Maple Leafs.

Crosby has 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists) in 52 career games against Toronto.

The Penguins are 386-87-46 when Crosby and Malkin both score, as they did Saturday against Tampa Bay.

Rickard Rakell is one goal shy of 200 for his career.

Reilly Smith is two assists shy of 300.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM the X