Game 26 Preview – Maple Leafs at Penguins

The Pens Nation Gameday Report

By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82)

Last Game for the Penguins:  Monday, a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.  The Bruins got two goals on their first five shots in the first period.  James Neal scored his fifth and sixth goals of the year to tie the game up before Zdeno Chara got the lead back for Boston.  Sidney Crosby tied the game with .3 seconds remaining in regulation.  The game ended 34 seconds into overtime when Torey Krug got a slap shot past Fleury.  Tuukka Rask faced 31 shots on the night while Boston threw 24 shots at Fleury.

Last Game for the Maple Leafs:  Monday, a 6-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Cam Atkinson and R.J. Umberger scored 20 second apart in the first period while Jack Skille and Ryan Murrary scored twice in the second period.  Ryan Johanson added two goals of his own in the third period.  James Reimer played most of the game for the Maple Leafs, giving up all six goals on 21 shots.  Jonathan Bernier faced one shot in relief.  Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 18 shots that came his way.

Last Time These Two Teams Met:  October 26th, a 4-1 win for the Maple Leafs.  Kris Letang opened up the scoring for the Penguins with a power play goal at 6:52 of the first period.  From there it was all the Maple Leafs.  Dave Bolland scored twice while Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel added goals for the Leafs.  Marc-Andre Fleury faced 29 shots while his counterpart, James Reimer, faced 38.

Last 10 Games for the Penguins:  4-5-1.

Last 10 Games for the Maple Leafs:  4-5-1.

Story of the Game:  The injury bug has hit the Penguins.  While Rob Scuderi and Chuck Kobasew are still out with their injuries, the Penguins have announced that Tanner Glass and Beau Bennett will miss significant amounts of time.  Paul Martin will also miss this game against the Maple Leafs, though his status is only day-to-day.  Just a season ago it would have been hard to imagine fans disappointed at the loss of Glass, but he has had a big turnaround in his game.  He’s averaging just under 11 minutes a game, 1:14 minutes of which comes on the penalty kill.  Beau Bennett was expected to compete for a top-six role but has played limited minutes, and mostly on the third line.  Paul Martin just took over Kris Letang’s spot on the top power play unit.

The team has gotten decent production out of some AHL call-ups like Brian Gibbons and Jayson Megna.  However, secondary scoring is still a problem for the Penguins.  Brandon Sutter is the only forward in the bottom-six with four goals, even if you count Pascal Dupuis’ short stint on the third line.  In total, 10 active players have three goals or less.  This is a trend that, while slowly getting better, is still cause for concern.

Penguins All-Time Record Against the Maple Leafs:  75-71-17-5.

Player to Watch on the Penguins:  Kris Letang has four points in four games against the Maple Leafs.

Penguin-Killer on the Maple Leafs:  Phil Kessel has six points in his last three games against the Penguins.