The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that Bob Cole will broadcast. That’s the good news. Jonas Gustavsson is starting for the Maple Leafs and Brent Johnson will take a turn spelling Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins. That could be bad news.
Leafs lineup after the jump along with a demand for thanks.
While the Maple Leafs are mired in a Stanley Cup drought of, I am told, a significant number of years, they have been able to influence events around the National Hockey League. Last year, their gift of Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins helped push them past the Vancouver Canucks. For some reason, Bruins fans refuse to thank anyone other than Phil Kessel. In 2009 the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup on the back of two important helpers from Toronto. First, the Leafs helped get Disco Dan Bylsma hired by smoking the Penguins twice and then the Leafs provided them with the missing piece for their shutdown defensive pairing by trading them Hal Gill.
Tonight, the Penguins will be without Sidney Crosby (Not David Steckel’s fault), Jordan Staal (John Tavares’ fault), and Marc-Andre Fleury (Dan Bylsma’s fault). Meanwhile, the Leafs will be scratching Colton Orr, Jay Rosehill, James Reimer (Kill Brian Gionta), and Cody Franson (his own damn fault). As we saw in the Rangers game, this will probably mean that Ron Wilson will be able to run four lines without too much fear of having total liabilities on the ice.
The Leafs come into the game with the 20th ranked powerplay (14%) and 24th ranked penalty kill (76.9%). The Penguins counter with the 9th ranked powerplay (19.6%) and the top ranked penalty kill in the league (97.3%) which has also scored three shorthanded goals. Oh goody. The game will also feature the two goal scoring leaders in James Neal and Phil Kessel who have nine apiece. Kessel’s hat trick will rectify that.
Glove tap to @TSNScottyMac for the lineups.
Maple Leafs Lineup
Joffrey Lupul – Tim Connolly – Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur – Mikhail Grabovski – Nikolai Kulemin
Matthew Lombardi – Tyler Bozak – Matt Frattin
Mike Brown – David Steckel – Philippe Dupuis
Carl Gunnarsson – Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles – Michael Komisarek
Jake Gardiner – Luke Schenn
James Neal – Evgeni Malkin – Steve Sullivan
Chris Kunitz – Mark Letestu – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Richard Park – Aaron Asham
Dustin Jeffrey – Joe Vitale- Craig Adams
Paul Martin – Kris Letang
Deryk Engelland – Brooks Orpik
Matt Niskanen – Ben Lovejoy