Toronto Maple Leafs Game Preview: Saturday Night Against the Pittsburgh Penguins
We have all waited patiently and now it is time to drop the puck on a new season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here at the Tip of the Tower we strive to give you as much content on your Toronto sports teams as humanly possible. This series will preview every single Toronto Maple Leafs game and what you should know for the game that night.
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Toronto Maple Leafs (0-1-0) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (1-0-0): 7 p.m CBC
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 4-1-1 in their last six games at home vs the Penguins Penguins
Leafs Injury Report:
David Booth out with a broken foot
The Toronto Maple Leafs will most likely keep the same defensive lineup as the one we saw against the Montreal Canadiens:
Penguins Injury Report:
Beau Bennett out with a knee injury
Oct 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher (11) and forward Alex Galchenyuk (27) react to the winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) by Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec (not pictured) at the Air Canada Centre. Montreal defeated Toronto 4-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL has Sunday and the NHL has Saturday night. Hockey Night in Canada is back with a great match up featuring your Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately Bob Cole will be calling the Ottawa Senators game so Jim Hughson will be calling the Leafs game for the second straight game along with Craig Simpson and Glen Healy on commentary (oh fun!).
The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a disappointing loss to the Montreal Canadiens where the top line was not a major factor and they had terrible lapses in defensive coverage which lead to easy goals for Montreal. The Penguins were not so great defensively either in their first game of the season winning 6-4 over the Anaheim Ducks surrendering three powerplay goals to the Ducks.
Sep 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) during the player introductions against the Philadelphia Flyer at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Bernier surrendered a combined seven goals going 0-1-1 against the Penguins last season, but teammate James Reimer is 4-0-2 with one shutout and a 2.27 GAA in the series. It would not surprise me if Bernier got the start over Reimer, Carlyle does not want to create any issues with his goaltenders especially this early into the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
Phil Kessel career vs Pittsburgh 29 GP – 11 goals- 13 assists- 24 PTS
Joffrey Lupul career vs Pittsburgh 23 GP- 11 goals 7 assists- 18 PTS
Dion Phaneuf 18 GP 1 goal- 12 assists- 13 PTS
Sidney Crosby career vs Toronto 28 GP- 20 goals- 23 assists- 43 PTS
Evgeni Malkin career vs Toronto 24 GP- 12 goals- 32 assists- 44 PTS
Olli Maatta 1 GP – 0 goals- 3 assists- 3 PTS this season
Oct 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) scores on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to Victory for Toronto
– The Penguins were not exactly dominant defensively against the Anaheim Ducks. If the Toronto Maple Leafs can expose the Penguins defence like the Ducks did while limiting the Penguins offence the Leafs will have a better chance to come away with the win.
Oct 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri (43) celebrates his goal against the Montreal Canadiens with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul (19) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
– The Toronto Maple Leafs will need to find a way to get the top line going. One way could be to rotate Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk, Lupul only played 14:43 TOI (time on ice) while JVR played 22:07 TOI, The second line will have to be better in the later stages of the games in order to give Randy Carlyle the confidence to play them in crucial moments.
Oct 26, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (87) and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer (34) and defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) follow the play during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Pittsburgh 4-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
– As you read before Sidney Crosby has enjoyed playing against the Leafs. Dion Phaneuf will have to try and keep Crosby in check. The other problem is that Evgeni Malkin is just as deadly against the Leafs so it will be a difficult task for whoever matches up with Malkin.
– The Penguins are excellent at cycling the puck and capitalizing on clear cut scoring chances. The Leafs will have to avoid chasing the forwards and take away chances in the slot. The only way to do that is by finishing their checks and set the tone physically.
This will be the hardest game for the Leafs to win this week but if Bernier gives the Leafs a chance to win then it will be a close game for the buds to steal from Crosby and the Pens.