Preview and GDT: Penguins at Leafs (7 p.m., CBC)

Preview and GDT: Penguins at Leafs (7 p.m., CBC)

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Team Records: Leafs – 7-4-0 vs. Penguins – 7-3-0
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Lineup Update: No Bozak tonight, who didn’t finish last night’s game due to a lower back injury. The Leafs four centers will be Kadri, Bolland, McClement and Smith. Big chance for the Leafs‘ real number one center next to Kessel tonight.

 

Three losses in their last four, and only about 40 minutes of good hockey (versus Anaheim) in that stretch, has left me uneasy going into tonight’s tilt against the 7-3 Pittsburgh Penguins.

What would be magnificent is if the Leafs came out with a decent first 20 minutes as a starting point. The Leafs have been outshot 121 to 92 and outscored 10-7 in first periods. They’ve been out shot 58-25 in the first period of their last five games. This habit is something that could sink the Leafs early against a team with the offensive repertoire of the Penguins.

Last night’s loss again had Carlyle referring to team identity and his group straying from what he liked about last season in terms of the team’s physicality and work rate. It’s something that is clearly eating at the coach, and Jay McClement echoed Carlyle’s sentiment that there hasn’t been that same consistency to their game yet;  in seeing Clarkson play last night, even if he didn’t get much accomplished, the team should take a refresher course from his determined pursuit to be first to pucks.

The Leafs were 1-1-1 against the Penguins last season, and save for a 3-1 loss in March, had success producing offence against the Penguins with 10 goals in three games. The Leafs didn’t have Lupul for any of those games except the first 9 minutes of the 5-2 win in January before he left the game with a broken forearm.

There is very little chance Lupul plays tonight; it sounds like Lupul has to get his foot checked out again now that the swelling has gone down to find out if the injury is something more serious.

Josh Leivo was returned to the Marlies after playing only 7 minutes last night. Carter Ashton, who has two goals in two games in the AHL, has been called up in his place.

James Reimer’s first game since October 15 vs. Minnesota will come in this second half of a back to back against one of the league’s consistently great offenses. He’s probably going to have to be great for the Leafs to win tonight.

Lastly, there is nothing that takes the fun out of watching the Leafs on Saturday night than the Leafs getting soundly beat while Hughson, Healy and Simpson excitedly spout verbal diarrhea about all of the team’s problems. Making matters worse, tonight’s broadcast will include long raptures about the wonderful way in which Sidney Crosby ties his skates. Please, Leafs, put on a good showing tonight.

 
Leafs
Penguins
Record7-4-07-3-0
GF/G3.18 (9th)3.30 (3rd)
GA/G2.64 (14th)2.40 (7th)
SF/G26.6 (27th)32.5 (5th)
SA/G34.5 (27th)25.5 (3rd)
PP26.2% (5th)18.9% (16th)
PK86.4% (6th)77.8% (24th)
5 on 5 F/A1.05 (13th)1.22 (10th)
Sh%11.9% (2nd)10.2% (8th)
Sv%92.4% (6th)90.6% (21st)
FO%43.7 (29th) (lol)56.4 (2nd)
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
1036 comments
darthNihilus
darthNihilus

Nice comeback from the stinker in Columbus. Kadri was a good fit on the 1st line. We played a good game tonight.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

As much as some of our d and our top players did well tonight I thought Orr,McClement and Ashton played great . So much cycle time in the o zone 

djamon
djamon

Alex Steen with his 9th tonight. Holy fuck.

Zep2
Zep2

American Crosby outplayed Crosby

Kadri hopefully found a home on the 1st line

Rielly had his best game one night after his worse game

Phaneuf playing like an Olympian

Clarkson making me a believer

And RIEMER

Love those Leafs

PeterZeroOne
PeterZeroOne

Reimer appears to be no worse for wear.  Hopefully that hit didn't hurt him too bad and he continues to play well. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Well phookism actually did work tonight . Don't think I will try it again though 

DWCMLHS
DWCMLHS

Reimer, Phaneuf, Kessel, Bolland and JVR were all ridiculous tonight. 

devling
devling

I think Crosby was whining about the icing going from the face off - my understanding is that regardless of where the puck goes after a drop it is neutral?

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

Crosby -2 on the night and Malkin -3.  So much for super stars.

ConnorCrisp
ConnorCrisp

I hope boZie is out long enough so that even RC can see what he has here with Kadri and bolland playing with good linemates

Doorman
Doorman

I told you Dumb Bunnies that the Leafs would Ace this Game!!!  You guys should find another team to cheer For!!!  LOL

devling
devling

Great T-E-A-M effort tonight - hitting and hitting and hitting. Fighting battles and clearing out the zones and reducing turn overs. Riemer was steady - improving on those rebounds. Lets hope the work effort continues into the next game. Had they played tonight like last night, we would have won. Buds have to go into games motivated no matter who the opponents are. No Bozie and we win.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

Davey Bolland just outsmarted Crybaby Crosby.

Nice win Leafs!

Oh and Habs lose!

Zep2
Zep2

were BAAAAAACK

Im officially unworried

djamon
djamon

Detroit, Montreal and Boston all lose.

mike_84
mike_84

Good thing my 2 year old niece just learned to chant Go Leafs Go!

Mcost61
Mcost61

Bolland is a super pest. he must be making Sid mad

djamon
djamon

His 9th in his 9th game. As John Woo once said..."If he keeps up this pace he could hit 50."

ConnorCrisp
ConnorCrisp

As stombone1 said last year: Reimer for Sochi

rustynail
rustynail

@Burtonboy next time he gets a good feeling before a game some one needs to kick him so it goes away

mike_84
mike_84

@DWCMLHS Kadri wasn't too bad either. GArds played well also

ConnorCrisp
ConnorCrisp

Never mind they got 2 free icing calls tonight....