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Marc-Andre Fleury

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins

In this shortened season it’s never too early to talk about playoff implications. The Leafs currently sit 5th in the Eastern Conference while the Pens come into this game as the 2nd team in the East. In recent years, getting into the playoffs was virtually a lock for Pittsburgh. As we all know, the Leafs have struggled mightily. Given how things have played out so far, this season provides hope. This season can be different.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to visit the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the Consol Energy Arena. The Penguins have yet to win at home this season and get another opportunity to erase that stat tonight against a Leafs team that is hoping to remain undefeated. Jonas Gustavsson will get his first start between the pipes according to Sportsnet.

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    My Team Canada Roster selections may seem a little vanilla, but they’ve been selected to play out various situations. Penalty killing, power play and balance on all the forward units took precedent over sheer offensive/defensive ability.

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      It’s a pre-Halloween edition of Stick Work featuring discussions on the road swing, Jiri Tlusty, in .. Victor Stalberg out, along with Joey MacDonald.

      Vesa Toskala, in … sort of.

      We’ll talk about Team Canada and Marc-Andre Fleury’s position, and how Roberto Luongo’s injury affects that.

      And we introduce a new weekly feature called the Torontosaurus Rex … a title bestowed to the exceptional Leafs player of the Week.

      All this and more in a backdrop of Halloween in conjunction with the Michael Jackson movie This Is It, stay tuned folks, it’s going to be a thriller ride …

      StickWork2

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        By now, I’m sure many of you have seen ESPN’s report of a significant offer by the Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel: two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. The general reflex reaction that we’ve been conditioned to by the Toronto media the last few seasons is to avoid moving 1st round selections by any means necessary. The thought of moving two such commodities is beyond horrifying. I’ve seen the name Taylor Hall used as the backbone of many an argument over the last few days, often associated with the “chance” of landing said player. If we’re gonna turn this into a game of chance, let’s at least get all the cards on the table.

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          While the majority of Leafs fans wrote the team off in the summer, it wasn’t until the New Year that the teams first true season of rebuilding began the inevitable grind into early year golf tournaments.

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            As the goals against continue to pile up, so do the questions regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future between the pipes. Last night’s 7-5 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Bruins officially moved the Leafs to the basement of the NHL in terms of goaltending and defensive play with an astounding total of 274 goals allowed (3.41 GAA). Combine that with a league worst 88.4% save percentage and you’ve got some serious issues. The team directly above them? Andrew Raycroft and the Colorado Avalanche. Ugh.

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              A momentum swing in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins can be largely attributed to a couple of in-game changes orchestrated by bench-boss Ron Wilson.

              The starting first line of Mikhail Grabovski, Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky proved ineffectual in the first frame and rookie Nik Kulemin wasn’t clicking with line-mates Nik Hagman and Alex Steen. The team failed to generate anything in the way of offense until late in the third, when Wilson’s ad hoc lines began to fire, mounting a near come-back with two goals in quick succession.