Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.  |  Arena: Air Canada Centre  |  TV: CBC  |  Radio: SN 590

Game Day Quotes

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan on his team’s depth at centre:

Well, we think we’re strong down the middle at this point. When Jim [Rurtherford] went out and acquired Derick Brassard for us at the trade deadline, it was an important guy for us. We think it makes us a better team and makes us harder to play against. You know, I would argue Toronto has some pretty strong centermen as well, so they’re a pretty good team over there. But certainly we like the center ice depth that we have right now. It allows us to create the balance that I think certainly our coaching staff believes gives us a bit of a competitive advantage.

Mike Babcock on the Penguins roster continuing to be one of the best in the league:

Well, obviously great skill. They’ve done a good job of amassing skill. Obviously, Sid sets a bar of work ethic and determination that is unsurpassed. Malkin’s won the Conn Smyth; hell of a player. And then they’ve got a great core; lots of guys that probably won’t get talked about. Phil Kessel’s a great player. Thereare  tons of players that don’t get talked about as much, but they get the win and they don’t have to deal with you guys asking them questions everyday. They just go under the radar.

Babcock on how his team handled games #40-60 of the season:

Well, I thought we did a real good job up until we got feeling too good about ourselves this last little bit. Things were going pretty good. We also set ourselves up a little bit with the 10-day road trip that we probably didn’t have to go on, but it’s all part of it. To me, the puck’s dropped at night and you’ve got find a way to win. You’ve got find a way to play well and we haven’t been as good the last couple, so we’ve gotta get back on track.

Babcock on the Penguins’ ability to have three dominant players on separate lines and if his team can do the same going forward:

Well, I think you put Brassard in the mix, and they had Bonino before… If you have good depth down the middle, no one’s starving on the wings. If you don’t have enough centres, you put people together because the guy’s out there all by himself and never gets the puck. Pretty soon things aren’t going good. So, I think the depth at center allows people to drive their own line, and they’re all capable of doing that. Kessel, Kane — guys who can transport the puck like that, it can drive their own line as a winger. Mitch Marner as well. Not many guys can drive a line as a winger because of their inability to transport the puck.

Sullivan on his team’s top nine forward group:

I think, on any given night, one of those lines could be better than the other. I think that’s what it is. The balance makes us a hard potential matchup for teams. When you look at the scoring production across our top nine at 5on5, it’s pretty even. On any given night, one of those lines could be better than the others. But I think that’s what makes our team what it is. On each night, different guys step up and help our team win. That’s what it takes. I think our players arer aware of it. Certianly, we like the balance that we have right now.

Matchup Stats

GF/g3.19 (7th)3.26 (5th)
GA/g2.84 (13th)2.99 (20th)
PP%21.0% (9th)
26.4% (1st)
PK%82.4% (10th)82.1% (11th)
Shots/g31.9 (15th)34.2 (5th)
Shots Against/g34.0 (28th)31.3 (9th)
5v5 CF%49.6% (17th)51.7% (6th)
5v5 SV%.927 (8th).907 (31st)
5v5 SH%9.1% (2nd)7.2% (23rd)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

Marleau – Kadri – Komarov
(68-20-16-36) – (66-24-21-45) – (68-7-11-18) Total: 51
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Brown
  (67-26-15-41) – (67-10-23-33) – (68-12-11-23)  Total: 48
Hyman – Nylander – Marner
  (68-13-21-34) – (68-14-36-50) – (68-18-36-54) Total: 45
Leivo – Plekanec – Kapanen
 (14-1-2-3) – (64-6-18-24) – (22-4-2-6)  Total: 11

Rielly – Hainsey
 (62-6-32-38) – (66-4-17-21) Total: 10
Gardiner – Carrick
 (68-4-36-40) – (39-3-5-8) Total: 7
Dermott – Polak
(25-1-8-9) – (41-2-8-10) Total: 3

Andersen (.919 sv%)
McElhinney (.931 sv%)

Scratched: Martin, Moore
Injured: Matthews, Zaitsev (flu)

Pittsburgh Penguins Projected Lineup

Sheary – Crosby – Guentzel
  (65-14-10-24) – (68-22-51-73) – (68-20-20-40) Total: 54
Hagelin – Malkin – Hornqvist
(67-8-17-25) – (64-38-46-84) – (56-18-16-34) Total: 64
Brassard – Sheahan – Kessel
  (63-19-21-40) – (59-9-17-26) – (68-28-49-77) Total: 56
Jooris – Rowney – Kuhnhackl
 (0-0-0-0) – (40-2-2-4) – (55-2-6-8) Total: 4

Dumoulin – Letang
 (66-4-9-13) – (65-6-34-40) Total: 10
Maatta – Ruhwedel
 (68-7-18-25) – (33-2-2-4) Total: 9
Oleksiak – Schultz
 (33-3-6-9) – (49-4-16-20) Total: 7

Jarry (.914 sv%)
DeSmith (.913 sv%)

Injured: Murray

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