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Penguins at Maple Leafs Preview: Sweet ReLEAF!

With a record losing streak snapped, the Penguins take on Toronto.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby vs. Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images.

One game has brought a world of improvement to the Penguins. It was slow and hard work but improvement came steadily. For all that battling they finally got a win under their belts for the first time in eight games, dating all the way back to October 22nd.

It was a gutsy effort from the entire team that involved them going down to just three defensemen due to injury at one point but they still rose above the circumstances. They built on small victories in-game and put together a full, 60-minute performance. Along the way, we saw Bryan Rust fight for the first time ever in his career. Captain Sidney Crosby engaged in a scrap or two. And the emotional fires of the team were restoked. They finally looked hungry!

Casey DeSmith was also able to put on a strong performance in net to grab his first victory of the year after struggling in his prior four outings. He held Washington to just one goal and made 24 saves. It's a good thing because he's being called right back into action against the Leafs. Tristan Jarry is mysteriously not starting for the second game in a row. There are concerns he's dealing with a nagging injury of some kind.

The Pens established some new trends in-game too. The make-shift pairing of Jeff Petry and Brian Dumoulin worked well vs. the Caps and might be something we see retained going forward, especially with the possibility of new injuries on defense. The Penguins' penalty kill was able to snag a short-handed goal which is quite a change of pace for that 22nd-ranked unit. And rookie call-up Filip Hallander put on a solid initial outing for the year doing the little things and dirty work that add up to make a difference in winning.

The team carries these budding improvements with them as they head to Canada for a weekend back-to-back series first in Toronto tonight then in Montreal tonight on Saturday. The focus now moves to trying to string a few wins together and crawling their way back up to a winning record. That mission starts against the 12th-place Maple Leafs.

Game Info:

Pens Game #14: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Date: November 11, 2022

Time: 7 PM (ET)

Place: Toronto, ON

Venue: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+

Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #LeafsForever

Team Matchup:

Records- PIT: 5-6-2, TOR: 7-4-3

Last 10- PIT: 3-6-1, TOR: 5-2-3

Standings- PIT: 25th, TOR: 12th

Streaks- PIT: 1 Win, TOR: 1 Loss

Points- PIT: 12, TOR: 17

‘21/22 Season Series- 2-1 PIT

‘21/22 Series Goals For- PIT: 10, TOR: 5

Team Analytics Comparison:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs analytics
Analytics by JFresh Hockey.

Goalie Matchup:

Projected starting goalies-

-Casey DeSmith- #1

[Pittsburgh Penguins]

Bio Info: 6' 0", 181 lbs. DOB: 8/13/1991 (31). From: Rochester, NH.

Drafted: Undrafted; Experience: 5th Season.

Record: 1-3-1, 2.80 GAA, .912 SV%

Career vs. TOR: 0-1-0, 1.01 GAA, .950 SV%


-Erik Kallgren- #50

[Toronto Maple Leafs]

Bio Info: 5' 11", 157 lbs. DOB: 10/14/1996 (26). From: Stockholm, Sweden.

Drafted: 2015- Rd 7, Pk 183 (ARI). Experience: 2nd Season.

Record: 1-1-3, 2.99 GAA, .890 SV%

Career vs. PIT: Debut

Penguins Update:

The Pens might be down at least one of P.O. Joseph or Jan Rutta after they were banged up against the Caps. Both took line rushes in the gameday skate but the lineup is a game-time decision so their status is pending. The Penguins' recalled Mark Friedman from the minor leagues earlier today for some more insurance on defense if needed. Fellow D-man Chad Ruhwedel remains with the team as an in-house replacement option as well.

The recall of Friedman means Teddy Blueger is still not ready to play. The Penguins wouldn’t be able to make that additional call-up if Blueger was ready to return due to salary cap constraints. His injury is now stretching into the middle of its second month.

Rookie Samuel Poulin was sent down to the AHL to make room for Friedman to come up. That means Filip Hallander has earned some additional ice time with the Penguins from his performance vs. Washington. Hallander stood out in the grittier parts of the game. He registered a hit, a trio of blocks, two takeaways, and about three minutes time played on the penalty kill.

-Injury Report-

-Teddy Blueger (F): upper body, day-to-day.

-Pens Lines-

The projected Penguins lines for Friday, November 11, 2022, at the Toronto Maple Leafs:


Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell

Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Danton Heinen

Filip Hallander - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald


Marcus Pettersson - Kris Letang

Pierre-Olivier Joseph* - Jeff Petry

Brian Dumoulin - Jan Rutta*

[*=Ruhwedel/Friedman are available as replacements if needed.]

(Special Teams)

PP1: Crosby, Malkin, Rust, Guentzel, Letang

PP2: Carter, Rakell, Zucker, Heinen, Petry

PK1: Poehling, Archibald, Dumoulin, Petry

PK2: Carter, McGinn, Pettersson, Rutta

Maple Leafs Update:

Toronto has added a couple of familiar faces in ex-Pens Matt Murray (injured) and Zach Aston-Reese, who Pittsburgh will see for the first time with the Leafs tonight. "ZAR" in particular has found a perfect niche on Toronto's third line after only joining the team on a tryout earlier this year. He was able to convert that test run into a year contract.

Erik Kallgren will start for Toronto. He's making his debut playing against the Pens. He’s largely an unknown quantity in net from Pittsburgh’s perspective with just 20 NHL and 27 AHL games under his belt. With less than 40 total North American professional games to his name, scouting info on him vs. the Penguins organization is scarce.

-Offseason Update-

Key players added: Forwards- Zach Aston-Reese, Calle Jarnkrok. Defensemen- Jordie Benn, Victor Mete. Goalies- Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov.

Key players lost: Forwards- Colin Blackwell, Ondrej Kase, Ilya Mikheyev. Defensemen- Ilya Lyubushkin. Goalies- Jack Campbell, Petr Mrazek.

-Injury Report-

-Ilya Samsonov (G): IR, knee, day-to-day.

-Matt Murray (G): IR, groin, day-to-day.

-Jake Muzzin (D): LTIR, neck, day-to-day.

-Kyle Clifford (D): IR, shoulder, day-to-day.

-Carl Dahlstrom (D): IR, shoulder, out until April.

For The Penguins: Brock McGinn. Yes, Brock McGinn is an unorthodox selection. But "Ginner" has been quietly stepping up his game since the tail end of the Pens’ losing streak. He has four points in the last four games, registered two assists just vs. Boston, and scored an electrifying short-handed goal against Washington.

For The Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner. Several Leafs are playing well right now, but Marner’s consistency has been remarkable. He has points in seven straight games. Most of those points are coming via assists, which include two multi-assist games in his last four played. He only has three goals on the year but leads Toronto in points from his prolific playmaking.


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