Despite the Maple Leafs current 7-game point streak where they have gone 4-0-3, they currently sit six points back of the final playoff spot in the East. The Leafs got no help from the Panthers and Rangers last night, as the Hurricanes and Sabres both earned victories. The Leafs will look to improve their playoff chances by 2.0 percent to 5.9 with a win tonight over the Penguins. (TSN, 7pm)
Burke has allowed the group that has gotten the Leafs into striking distance of the playoffs carry the mantle the rest of the way by standing pat at the deadline; beginning tonight we’ll see what this group is really capable of. This is the type of situation the likes of Luke Schenn, Keith Aulie, Carl Gunnarsson, Mikhail Grabovski, Darryl Boyce and Tim Brent have never been a part of and it should be a good experience just being in a playoff-like atmosphere down the stretch.
The Penguins, who have been off since their 6-5 shootout win over the Leafs on Saturday, look to win for the fourth-straight time at the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs have allowed 15 goals in their last three meetings with the Pens.
However, four of the last six meetings have gone to overtime.
James Reimer returns to the goal after leaving Sunday’s game against the Thrashers with a head injury. It was shocking to see how different the Leafs played once Giguere took over against Atlanta. Almost instantly, the Leafs were back on their heels, playing like they had zero confidence in their goaltender. What’s even worse is that they give up more scoring chances when they sit back and don’t try to dictate the play.
It also looks like Jay Rosehill draws back into the lineup, with Joey Crabb sitting out.
Paul Martin returns for the Penguins after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
The Maple Leafs are 84-52-23 (.601) after the All-Star/Olympic break since the lockout in 2004-05. Is this simply the Maple Leafs playing well when the pressure is off?
Phil Kessel has four goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.
Marc-Andre Fleury has a 4.10 GAA in his last three games.
Game Day Quote
James Reimer on being symptom-free: “You know if I think really hard I might be able to come up with a headache. But I feel pretty good.”
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