PENS GAME #12: PENGUINS VS. MAPLE LEAFS
For the second time in less than a month, two of the offensive beasts of the East teams meet on a Saturday Night to duke it out on prime time, national TV. This time around however Leafs' super star Auston Matthews sits out due to injury. The sidelining of the young phenom gives the Pens a heighten chance for victory from the get-go.
Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2-3) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (8-5) at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA at 7PM (EST)
Since these two teams last met on October 18th in Toronto, their stories have diverged in two very different directions. The Penguins have trended upward, side-tracked by a recent 2-game losing spell both to the Islanders. while Leafs have become mired in the mediocre toward outright lousy. Toronto have dropped 4 of their last 6 and have slid down the standings. The Penguins have risen and still sit in control of the Metropolitan Division. The two clubs sit 4th (TOR) and 5th (PIT) in the East, due to outright win points stashed prior by the Leafs, so if the Pens beat Toronto tonight, the vault them in the standings additionally.
Trying to make that a reality for "Black and Gold" is the team performance leader Evgeni Malkin on a tour-de-force 9-game point streak. Racking up 17 points, with 6 goals & 11 assists during that time. He's followed by a returned to form Sidney Crosby who got his season kicked into gear against the Leafs in their prior meeting. Also chipping in on the workload is young Pen Dominik Simon who's continued to quietly perform very well, earning points in 5 straight games among a team packed with "big name" stars.
But the Penguins will have to figure out a way to actively employ all that star power and their depth tonight vs. the Maple Leafs from a look at each team's trends in records. The Leafs are a perfect 5-0 on the road this season. While the Pens home is a big worry, at an anything but hot 2-2-1.
Now to the deets!...
PENS BULLET POINTS
MATCH-UP INFORMATIONAL BREAKDOWN
Matt Murray: 24-years-old, 3 year NHL Veteran, 2012 Round 3 Draft Pick (Records- 2018-19: 4W-2L-1OTL in 7GP; Career: 72W-30L-9OTL in 118GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 3.45; Last Season: 2.92; Career: 2.64)
Frederik Andersen: 29-years-old, 5 year NHL veteran, 2012 Round 3 Draft Pick (Records- 2018-19: 6W-5L-0OTL in 11GP; Career: 154W-68L-31OTL in 268GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 2.49; Last Season: 2.81; Career: 2.54)
Penguins: 15 Points, Metropolitan Division- 1st, Eastern Conference- 5th
Maple Leafs: 16 Points, Atlantic Division- 4th, Eastern Conference- 4th
Penguins: 2 Losses
Maple Leafs: 2 Losses
Goals For & Against:
Penguins: Goals For- 45; Goals Against- 35
Maple Leafs: Goals For- 43; Goals Against- 39
Home vs. Away Records:
Penguins Home Record: 2W-2L-1OTL
Maple Leafs Away Record: 5W-0L-0OTL
Penguins Alumni for TOR: Ron Hainsey, Kasperi Kapanen
Maple Leafs Alumni for PIT: Phil Kessel
Penguins TOR Locals: Jamie Oleksiak (Toronto), Riley Sheahan (St. Catharines)
Maple Leafs PIT Locals: None
Team Physical Averages:
Penguins: Average Size- 6'1"/199lbs; Average Age- 28.04
Maple Leafs: Average Size- 6'1"/185lbs; Average Age- 26.17
-Goals- #1-Malkin/Kessel (7), #2-Crosby (6), #3-Guentzel (5)
-Assists- #1-Malkin (13), #2-Kessel (9), #3-Crosby (8)
-Points- #1-Malkin (20), #2-Kessel (16), #3- Crosby (14)
-Shots- #1-Hornqvist (32), #2-Letang (31), #3-Crosby (30)
-Goals- #1-Matthews (10), #2-Tavares (7), #3-Kapanen (6)
-Assists- #1-Reilly/Marner (12), #2-Tavares (7), #3-Matthews/Gardner/Hyman (6)
-Points- #1-Matthews/Reilly/Marner (16), #2-Tavares (14), #3-Kapanen (9)
-Shots- #1-Tavares (48), #2-Reilly (40), #3-Matthews/Marner (38)
-Penguins vs. Maple Leafs History-
Season Series vs. Maple Leafs: 1W-0L (With Goals For 3, Goals Against 0)
Last Season Series vs. Maple Leafs: 1-2 (With 10 Goals For, 12 Goals Against)
All-Time Record vs. Maple Leafs: 85W-74L-17T-7OTL in 183GP
All-Time Record vs. Maples Leafs at PPG Paints Arena: 4W-6L-0T-3OTL in 13GP
FINAL NOTES ON THE GAME
-Tonight's game will mark major milestones for 2 Pens- Jack Johnson will play in his 800th and Carl Hagelin will play his 500th career NHL game.
-Also be on the look-out for 2 more possible milestone scenarios- Kris Letang is 1 assist from tying Syl Apps for 6th on the Pens' All-Time Assists list at 349. Should he grab 2, Letang would jump Apps' spot and take over sole #6 with 350.
-While Matt Murray is 1 shutout from overtaking Johan Hedberg as sole #4 on the Pens' All-Time Shutouts list with 8.
-Maple Leafs have a solid losing record at PPG Paints Arena (formerly Consol Energy Center) with only 4 ever wins and 9 losses in 13 games there.
-After Thursday's game the Pens have now gone to overtime in 5 games this season, out of 11 played total, or almost half of their match-ups.
EXTRA MISC. THOUGHTS & INFO
*You can now purchase the specialty "Stronger Than Hate" patches the Pens wore on their jerseys vs. the Islanders on October 30th to memorialize the victims of the Tree Of Life Synagogue attack. All proceeds will go to the fund benefiting the victims & their families. For more info just click HERE.
*The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat the Hartford Wolf Pack yesterday by the score of 5-3 to improve their record to 6W-2L-0T-1OTL on the year overall. They're back in action again tonight against the Wolf Pack at home at 7:05PM (EST).
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