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

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A great win over the League champs can quickly be forgotten if the Leafs don’t take it as a turnaround point amid a poor December. They’re now through  the toughest part of their schedule and have to get back to accumulating points with 15 of their next 16 games against Eastern opponents.

The top 4 of this Penguins team’s defence has been decimated (i.e. entirely eliminated) by injuries (Martin, Letang, Orpik, Scuderi), and their fifth D, Derek Engelland, is waiting to be suspended. James Neal is suspended, as well. Evgeni Malkin is out after crashing into the boards leg first against Detroit. For tonight’s game, check out the NHL betting odds.

Despite all the lineup depletion, the Pens enter tonight winners of three straight (five of their last six). The Penguins historically have persevered better than expected when faced with significant injuries, although these are particularly daunting.

Malkin being out should help the Leafs focus their shutdown efforts a little more on #87. McClement, playing alongside Kulemin and D’Amigo, played 10 of his 14 and a half even strength minutes against Jonathan Toews, Parick Sharp and Marian Hossa while starting 80% of his shifts in the defensive zone. That line scored twice and won the possession battle.

For the Leafs, the lineup remains the same because why wouldn’t it?

JVR-Kadri-Kessel
Raymond-Holland-Lupul
D’Amigo-McClement-Kulemin
McLaren-Smith-Bodie

Gunnarsson-Phaneuf
Gardiner-Franson
Rielly-Liles

Bernier

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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]
  • rustynail

    GO LEAFS GO

  • Burtonboy

    轉到葉子去

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy WTF?

  • http://www.gregcaughill.com/ DarthBurke

    Go Leafs Go!

  • Mind Bomb

    Big Win tonight Boys, Crosby seen Crying in HBO Special !!!

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Sorry to hear that 😉

  • Burtonboy

    rustynail Burtonboy  

    围棋叶子走在中国 ( go leafs go in Chinese lol )

  • Optimustic

    Mind Bomb Wait a minute,   isn’t he crying every time I see him?   At least every time I see him and he’s losing.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Burtonboy For a second there I thought you picked up a wife from the ad for a Chinese dating service in the sidebar.

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe Burtonboy Gotta practice my Chinese before I do that

  • 4evrblue

    Alec BrownscombeBurtonboycant go wrong with a chinese lady, I married one this summer :)

  • 4evrblue

    BurtonboyAlec Brownscombeno need BB, just hand her the spatula, if she doesn’t understand send her back for a new with a note: “This ones broken”

  • Great Dane

    BurtonboyAlec Brownscombe  Only 3 phrases you need to know in any language to be fluent when you are married/relationship:

    Yes, dear
    No, dear

    You’re right, dear

  • wendelsway1

    Leafs are winning this one in regulation…..pedal to the medal, Boys……we got ’em where we want ’em….no mercy….GO LEAFS GO!!!

  • 4evrblue

    Great DaneBurtonboyAlec BrownscombeI like my joke better lol

  • wendelsway1

    Great Dane Burtonboy Alec Brownscombe Happy wife…..happy life  :)

  • Burtonboy

    Murph2417 Burtonboy Is that you Naz lol

  • wendelsway1

    Mind Bomb Can we please mic Dion up for this one?…lol

  • Great Dane

    To win tonight the Leafs only need to play the game full speed and don’t sit back with the lead

  • Mind Bomb

    OptimusticMind Bomb Hhhaa, yes he is

  • Mind Bomb

    wendelsway1Mind Bomb  Hahah, we could tell how the negotiations are going by his comments lol

  • Great Dane

    Murph2417 Just don’t listen to Carlyle – those guys on the team can’t play defensive hockey. Full speed and balls to the wall

  • wendelsway1

    Mind Bomb wendelsway1 I just want to hear him yapping at Crosby…..Fuck these guys, eh….lol

  • JWaterdrager

    Murph2417 wendelsway1 Mind Bomb Slava Voynov

  • Kouba

    Murph2417wendelsway1Mind BombSlava motherfucker Vojnov I think piece of shit etc. lol

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    https://twitter.com/DNKerin/status/412711847125458944

  • T K O

    Murph2417 JWaterdrager wendelsway1 Mind Bomb would be nice if we hear the conversation he had with Versteeg after he pulled that chump move last game pretending to be hid from behind

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook Then you didn’t read my post ….so whose the dick lol

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphookMind BombHe gets a Reprieve this year at Olympic time, Win me a Gold, I will not slam him till the playoffs lol

  • Alec Brownscombe

    DeclanK Definitely. A pasty, creepy, moustachioed version

  • Mind Bomb

    T K OMurph2417JWaterdragerwendelsway1Mind BombExactly TKO

  • Jmessih

    GO LEAFS GO – Can this be the corner that we are finally turing??

  • Kouba

    are 4 hours of sleep sufficient?

  • Mind Bomb

    Murph2417 It means we talk to much :)

  • Jmessih

    A little Christmas edition smile, from the STL Blues 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhXnLFl-q64&feature=youtu.be

  • BPsotka

    Fuck these guys, eh fellas?

  • Kouba

    Murph2417Koubalol, to hell with work, I’m watching tonight

  • wendelsway1

    DeclanK LOL…kinda does….haven’t heard that name in a good long while……Beatle Bones n Smokin’ Stones….lol

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/reporterchrishttps://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/412714904412749824
    Motivational quote for the Zamboni drivers at Consol Energy Center. Leafs at Penguins. Dec. 16, 2013. http://t.co/5iPGQeQVXM

  • T K O

    BPsotka I still laugh at that line……………… reminds me a scene out of slap shot that you don’t hear until the 20th time you watch the movie…beauty

  • Xxxxxnew

    My favourite line in that episode.

  • wendelsway1

    Murph2417 Jmessih Absolutely….think a Blues fan would appreciate the post….Leafs fans not so much……Take off, eh!  :)

  • Jmessih

    Xxxxxnew I don’t know why people are not in love with Bernier yet, he beat up Miller and hates the Bruins even tho he has no history with them, he is as much a Leaf as people can get.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    wiski I hope the Zamboni drivers and workers at the ACC settle before Christmas…not a good time to be out on strike. #solidarity

  • Alec Brownscombe

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BJJYZKvrlo

  • T K O

    Jmessih Xxxxxnew Hot wife

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Or in newfinese  Get yer fuckin arse in gear byes

  • Jmessih

    Murph2417 Jmessih Ya that can trying to shoot the dog I thought were the two funniest parts lol

  • Xxxxxnew

    If you think the Leafs are the only ones that get fried in the media, it looks like they’re getting nasty in Winnipeg. They’ve even come up with a team for a group of player they see as a problem -“The Atlanta Association,” From the Hockey news:
    With his club in danger of once again missing the playoffs, Cheveldayoff could make some changes. Winnipeg Free Press columnist Tim Campbell listed Cheveldayoff’s options, including a trade or a coaching change.
    Campbell’s colleague Gary Lawless recently pointed the finger at Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom. Calling them the “Atlanta Association,” Lawless accused the five of a lack of accountability, suggesting they were putting their friendships (which they established during their years in Atlanta) above the good of the team.
    Of that group, only Byfuglien was mentioned in trade rumors this year. Last June Cheveldayoff denied seriously exploring a Byfuglien trade, but that didn’t prevent some rumor bloggers from linking the big blueliner earlier this season to the Philadelphia Flyers.
    Trade speculation continues to dog left winger Evander Kane, who’s currently sidelined with a lower-body injury. His on-ice struggles amid reports of tension with Noel have a growing number of pundits uncertain over his future in Winnipeg.
    CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty suggested Kane’s strained relationship with Noel and surly attitude with reporters could be his way of trying to force a trade to a more desirable NHL city. Haggerty noted the 22-year-old’s combination of “size, strength, toughness and offensive skill” would make him a good fit with the Bruins, suggesting a package offer of Brad Marchand, Jordan Caron, Malcolm Subban and a first-round pick.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Murph2417 Jmessih I did some work on the set and production offices when they made “Strange Brew”…. what a hoot…they were totally in character most of the time and John Candy and the rest of the SCTV gang were usually hanging around too. (There was beer too)