LGD: Feel Like Malkin Love


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The Leafs are on a three game win streak, they have points in their last four, everyone should be feeling fine. Two goaltenders who both seem capable of handling a 1A workload, secondary scoring no longer an issue, and for the most part, defensive pairings that actually make sense. Life is pretty, pretty good.

Enter the Penguins. The Pens sit a top of their division, albeit the worst division in hockey, but have been on cruise control this year thanks to the leadership of Evgeni Malkin. They’ve been enjoying the goaltending you get from Marc-Andre Fleury when games aren’t a best of seven and Patric Hornqvist has stepped nicely in James Neal’s “easiest job in hockey” role nicely.

Tonight the Leafs face the best the Metropolitan Division has to offer, or as they’d be known in the Atlantic, a Wild Card bubble team.

The Leafs

The most interesting story about the Leafs is probably that we’re talking about positives right now. Rather than my usual crap on the Leafs preview, I’m in a sunshine and rainbows mood today. So besides the greatest of Phil Kessel, here are three things that make me happy about the Leafs

1. That Franson is doing so well paired with Dion Phaneuf

2. That Peter Holland is an actually factual NHL center

3. That I really don’t care which goaltender gets the start on any given night.

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel

Winnik – Kadri – Clarkson

Komarov – Holland – Santorelli

Panik – Smith – Leivo

Phaneuf – Franson

Gardiner – Polak

Rielly – Robidas

The Penguins

Until the Penguins decide to move on from Sidney Crosby they are doomed to limited success. He remains a player more focused on accumulating points so he can draw in more endorsements than doing the things that actually help a team win. The experiment has been tried and it has failed, but in the meantime the Leafs will get the benefit of facing a team that doesn’t want to try hard because they probably don’t like their captain.

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis

Spaling – Malkin – Hornqvist

Bennett – Sutter – Downie

Comeau – Goc – Adams

Martin – Letang

Ehrhoff – Bort_namesignuzzo

Scuderi – Despres

Starting Goaltenders

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vs.

(that’s Thomas Greiss, but you probably guessed that since it’s not Marc-Andre Fleury)

What to Watch for

  • The two best players in the league going head to head. Of course I’m talking about Leo Komarov and Evgeni Malkin
  • Tune in to the Pittsburgh game feed and see how long you can last before becoming nauseous from homers that put the Boston media to shame
  • Which Leafs pairings go up against which of the two best offensive centers in the game
  • Hopefully David Clarkson will punch Steve Downie in the face
  • It’s the Hall of Fame Game so watch the pregame ceremony and tear up when they talk about Pat Burns. Also, feel free to wonder why Mike Modano is there.
  • TGT23

    Uncle leo can take geno any day!

    And in order for the leafs to win this game, we need to see some massive hits by dion and leo! Great goal tending, phil , well, phill u be phil ok? And more scoring from our depth! and we have this!

    BTW, Paul hendricks reported that booth was practicing with the team today, does that mean he is playing with us tonight?