Connect with us

Penguins

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs, Game 22: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

Published

on

Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs

If there’s anything to the adage about familiarity breeding contempt, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs should really despise each other by the end of this evening.

They are scheduled to play at 7:08 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena, their third meeting in 16 days. The road team won both of the previous two, including Toronto’s 5-2 victory here Nov. 15.

Coincidentally enough, the Penguins have not lost since then. Their 4-1 victory in Philadelphia Friday extended their season-best winning streak to five games, the longest active one in the league.

Toronto, meanwhile, has only one regulation loss in its past 13 games, going 8-1-4 since a 4-2 defeat in Los Angeles Oct. 28.

The Maple Leafs have one of the NHL’s better power plays, converting 25.4 percent of its chances, but their penalty-kill has a modest success rate of just 77.8 percent.

The latter could present a breakout opportunity for the Penguins’ power play, which is 0-for-10 in its past four games and has under-performed for most of the season, but has looked more menacing since Jeff Petry was moved onto the No. 1 unit.

Despite a lineup studded with offensive talents like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Mitch Marner, among others, the Maple Leafs are averaging just 2.95 goals per game.

Marner has a 15-game points streak and has been involved in the Maple Leafs’ first goal in each of the past five games.

The Penguins’ offense, as always, is led by Sidney Crosby, who has 11 goals and 17 assists in 21 games and has climbed into a tie for seventh place in the NHL scoring race.

Crosby’s left winger, Jake Guentzel, does not have a goal in three games, his longest drought of the season.

The Penguins did not conduct a game-day skate, so it won’t be known whether Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith will be in goal until Mike Sullivan meets with reporters around 5 p.m.¬†Erik Kallgren is scheduled to start for the Canadiens.

Pittsburgh Penguins Expected Lines

Guentzel — Crosby — Rakell

Zucker — Malkin — Rust

McGinn — Carter — Heinen

Poehling — Blueger — Archibald

Defense

Pettersson — Letang

Joseph — Petry

Dumoulin — Rutta

Goalies

DeSmith

Jarry

Toronto Maple Leafs Expected Lines

Jarnkrok — Tavares — Marner

Bunting — Matthews — Nylander

Engvall — Kampf — Aston-Reese

Malgin — Holmberg — Kerfoot

Defense

Holl — Giordano

Liljegren — Sandin

Hollowell — Mete

Goalies

Kallgren

Murray

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

Evgeni Malkin has 24 goals and 44 assists in 42 career games against Toronto. He is closing in on Mario Lemieux’s franchise record for career points against the Maple Leafs (71 in 33 games).

The Penguins are 9-3-1 in their past 13 home games against Toronto.

Fourth-line center Teddy Blueger had only one point, an assist, in five games after missing the first 15 games of the season because of an unspecified injury, but put up a career-best three assists in Philadelphia Friday.

Although Jeff Carter has only one goal, an empty-netter Sunday in Chicago, in his past 14 games, he has 86 career game-winners. second only to Alex Ovechkin (123) among active players. He also is three assists shy of 400 in the NHL.

Jason Zucker has a four-game scoring streak versus Toronto.

Tavares leads the NHL with five game-opening goals. Crosby ranks second with four.

Eleven Toronto players have scored a game-winning goal this season. Matthews, who has two, is the only guy with more than one.

Toronto is 5-3-2 on the road after a 4-3 victory in Minnesota Friday, while the Penguins are 4-2-1 at PPG Paints Arena.

Maple Leafs winger Zach Aston-Reese, who scored two goals in 52 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season before going to Anaheim in the Rickard Rakell trade, has three in 20 games with Toronto, where he earned a contract after going to training camp on a professional tryout.

How to Watch

TV: AT&T SportsNet, CBC (Canada)

Radio: 105.9 the X