Penguins vs Maple Leafs Game Preview
Tuesday, 10.12.2010 / 5:00 PM / Features
By Jason Seidling
Oct 13, 2010 - 7:30 pm | WHERE:
CONSOL Energy Center
FSN | LISTEN:
Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Toronto Maple Leafs
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Led by general manager Brian Burke and head coach Ron Wilson – two of the best in the business – Toronto has quietly built one of the more impressive and balanced defensive corps in the league. Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle rank among the top two-way blueliners in the game, while Luke Schenn, Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin provide a physical element.
Up front, the Leafs added complementary goal scorers Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong and Kris Versteeg to join incumbents Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak. The re-built offensive attack has struck eight times through the first two games, helping to spark the Maple Leafs’ impressive 2-0 start.
In goal, the Maple Leafs are led by veteran and former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The 33-year-old netminder has starred for the Leafs in each of their first two wins. For the season Gigure has a 2-0 record, 1.51 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.
- The Penguins’ improved defensive unit has starred through the first three games. Thanks to his two-point (1G-1A) effort on Monday, Paul Martin enters Tuesday’s games tied for the NHL lead among defensemen with four points (1G-3A). Fellow blueliner Alex Goligoski is tied for goal-scoring lead among defensemen with two.
- Outside of the Penguins’ divisional opponents, there is nobody Evgeni Malkin likes to see come to town more than the Maple Leafs. In 15 career games against the Leafs, Malkin has posted 34 points (7G-27A) for an average of 2.27 points per game. He had six assists in three games versus the Leafs last season.
- Another reason the Maple Leafs have jumped out of the gate 2-0 has been the play between the pipes of Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Since his midseason trade to Toronto last season, Giguere has provided stability in goal, posting an 8-7-2 record, 2.38 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and two shutouts.
- Toronto’s roster features three players with Pittsburgh ties. Colby Armstrong, signed during the offseason, needs no introduction. Superb faceoff man Michael Zigomanis, who won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in ’09, leads Toronto with a 72.7-percent success rate on draws. Tim Brent, who appeared in one game with Pittsburgh in ’07-08, is tied for the team lead with two goals.
Unleash the Stars:
- The Penguins’ power play is probably looking forward to facing the Maple Leafs. Over the course of the past two regular seasons, Pittsburgh has converted on 30.8 percent (8 for 26) of its PP chances against the Leafs.
Pittsburgh is still looking for its first-ever win at CONSOL Energy Center. A breakout performance on Wednesday from Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin
would go a long way towards picking up win No. 1. Through the first three games of the season, Malkin has one goal while Crosby has one helper, although both players have generated a ton of quality scoring chances.
The Penguins’ re-built defensive corps was the talk of the summer, and through the first three games they have met their lofty expectations. In addition to holding opponents to 2.33 goals per game, Pittsburgh’s blueliners have posted 10 points (3G-7A). They figure to get a tough test from Toronto’s talented offensive attack.
C Jordan Staal
, foot (indefinitely)
F Arron Asham
, upper body (indefinitely)
D Zbynek Michalek
, undisclosed (day-to-day)
D Brooks Orpik
, undisclosed (day-to-day)
D Brett Lebda, shoulder (day-to-day)
D Jeff Finger, knee (day-to-day)
F - #81
3 Points • Talented goal scorer has produced back-to-back 30-goal campaigns.
• Has notched five goals and four assists in 15 career games against Pittsburgh.
• Ranked sixth in the NHL with 297 shots last season despite missing 12 games due to a shoulder injury. Dion Phaneuf
D - #3
1 Point • Named the 22nd captain in franchise history over the summer and the first since Mats Sundin in 2008.
• Has posted double-digit goal totals each of his first five seasons, including a career-high 20 as a rookie in ’05-06.
• Durable blueliner has missed just six games in five seasons despite playing a punishing brand of defense. Tomas Kaberle
D - #15
1 Point • Offensive-minded blueliner recorded his seventh 40-point season in ’09-10, ranking eighth in the NHL among defensemen with 49 points (7G-42A).
• Longest-tenured Leaf has played in Toronto since ’98-99, appearing in 822 career games.
• Ranks second all-time in Leafs history among defensemen with 483 career points (80G-403A).