Pittsburgh Penguins Gameday 11: Toronto Maple Leafs

Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-0) @ Toronto Maple Leafs (7-4-0)
Root Sports, CBC – 7:00 pm/et 
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON

Saturday night on CBC. It's a big game for the Pens and for the Leafs. Like it or not, Saturday night in Toronto is the big time in hockey. The lights are bright, the pre-game video package is epic and Don Cherry is confused and out of touch. Sidney Crosby always seems to rise to the occasion on spotlight games. Once the inevitable Deryk Engelland/Colton Orr fight is over, this should be a good contest. 

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James Reimer will likely start for the Leafs. It will be his first start since October 17 when he left the game with an apparent head inury. Fleury will be in net for the Penguins.

STATS, INFO & NOTES:

Leading Scorers:

Penguins: Sidney Crosby (8G, 10A: 18P)
Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel (6G, 6A: 12P)

Starting Goaltenders:

Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (7-1-0, 1.74 GAA, .930 Sv%)
Maple Leafs: James Reimer (2-0-0, 3.18 GAA, .917 Sv%)

Last Games:

Penguins: Lost to New York Islanders 4-3.
Maple Leafs: Lost to Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2.

Previews from Team Websites:  [Penguins] [Maple Leafs]

Opposition Blog: [Pension Plan Puppets]
What They're Saying: "Columbus Blue Jackets Beat Toronto Maple Leafs 5 (ish) to 2"

As usual, I wonder about Carlyle's usage of the defense – although not for the usual reasons. I like that he's been leaning on the top pairing a little less than last season, but Gardiner, Ranger, and Franson have been started more often in the defensive zone than Gunnarsson and Phaneuf, who have spent the bulk of their time in the neutral zone so far. I don't necessarily mind this, but If Carlyle's going to continue using Dion primarily in the neutral zone, it might make sense to pair him with a weaker left defenseman – most likely Gardiner – to see if Gunnarsson can carry one of Franson or Ranger. I thought his decision to pull while Columbus had the puck wasn't a particularly good one, even if I tend towards being pretty aggressive about pulling the goalie.

What Happened Last Time: March 14, 2013 – Pens won 3-1. [Our Recap]

The Penguins, most notably the first line, can't lose right now.
It is surreal to watch.

This game was a snore fest until about four minutes left when the Pens broke Leafs Ben Scrivens, and then it was just hilarious.

Third-period comebacks are good.
The 7-game winning streak is great.
Watching the life get sucked out of the ACC is just awesome.

And at the risk of sounding like the biggest fanboys of all time, the best thing to watch right now is Sidney Crosby.

Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Sidney Crosby. It's a marquee game in Canada. We wouldn't expect anything less than a huge game from him.

Maple Leafs Player(s) to Watch: James Reimer. He hasn't played in a while and Randy Carlyle isn't the world's most knowledgeable concussion expert.

Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game: 

Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Daily Faceoff:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – Chuck Kobasew
Tanner Glass – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Craig Adams – Joe Vitale – Deryk Engelland
 
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
 
Marc-Andre Fleury

Toronto Maple Leafs lines from Daily Faceoff:

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
Jay McClement – Dave Bolland – David Clarkson
Mason Raymond – Nazem Kadri – Carter Ashton
Frazer McLaren – Trevor Smith – Colton Orr
 
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
Morgan Rielly – Cody Franson
Paul Ranger – Jake Gardiner
 
James Reimer

 

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