The Pittsburgh Penguins (9-10-0), who have lost four of their past five games, host the Toronto Maple Leafs (10-5-3) Saturday.
The Penguins fell below .500 with a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss Friday at Buffalo when the Sabres came back with three unanswered goals in the third.
Toronto also is coming off a loss, 4-3 in overtime at Chicago.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will hit the quarter pole of the season in the game against the Maple Leafs, and things haven’t been going swimmingly.
Not only did they blow a 2-0 lead Friday, but they also solved nothing on their problematic power play.
After scrambling personnel, including separating Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin onto different units, the Penguins were 0 for 2 Friday, making it six games in a row without a power-play goal. They are 0 for 15 in that stretch.
With no morning skate Saturday, there is little time for power-play adjustments before the Toronto game.
Injured winger Bryan Rust participated in the Penguins’ morning skate in Buffalo but was not ready to play that night. He is listed as day to day. His status for Saturday is unclear.
With the back-to-back games, it is expected that Tristan Jarry will be in net after Alex Nedeljkovic played at Buffalo.
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The Maple Leafs have things going in a much better direction than the Penguins. Although they blew a 2-1 lead against Chicago, they still got a point with the OT loss, and they had won four in a row before that.
The game marks the first time of Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations and general manager Kyle Dubas will face Toronto. He was fired as GM by the Maple Leafs during the offseason and snatched up by the Penguins. Dubas spent the past five seasons as Toronto GM.
The game features a matchup of brothers William Nylander of Toronto and Alex Nylander of the Penguins.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Drew O’Connor
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Nylander
Radim Zohorna-Lars Eller-Vinnie Hinostroza
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-John Ludvig
Expected Maple Leafs Lines
Mattew Knies-Auston Matthews-Mitchell Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi-John Tavares-William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson-Max Domi-Noah Gregor
Bobby McMann-David Kampf-Ryan Reaves
Morgan Reilly-TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano-Jake McCabe
William Lagesson-Conor Timmins
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 13.2%, 26th
Penguins penalty kill: 85.0%, 9th
Maple Leafs power play: 28.3%, 5th
Maple Leafs penalty kill: 76.7%, 23rd
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins were 1-2-0 against Toronto last season. They are 4-4-0 in their past eight home games against the Maple Leafs.
The only active Penguins players who scored against the Maple Leafs last season are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel, one apiece.
Malkin has 68 points (24 goals, 44 assists) in 43 career games against Toronto. However, Malkin has one point, an empty-net goal, in his past five games overall.
Kris Letang has 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in his past 14 games against Toronto.
The Penguins are 4-6-0 at home.
Crosby’s 13 goals have him two off the NHL lead.
Crosby also is winning a robust 59.7 percent of his faceoffs.
How to Watch the Game
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 FM The X