Up next: Niklas Hagman, Vesa Toskala and the Toronto Maple Leafs

[SBN Toronto Maple Leafs blog - Pension Plan Puppets]

The Leafs skate into Pittsburgh tonight for the second half of back-to-back games.  Last night against the Habs, Toronto peppered Jaroslav Halak with 49 shots, but it was definitely a game of quantity over quality as TO managed to score on only two of them.  Two goals is all Toronto needed to send the game to OT, but 34 seconds is all the time Montreal needed to seal the win.  Either way, the Leafs picked up a point and now sit 14th in the conference with 35 points; just one behind Philly.

In the only other regular season game against the Leafs this season, the Pens recorded a 5-2 win back on October 10th thanks to a functional power play.  Or maybe thanks to Toronto penalties. Perceive as you see fit.  Can't deny the truculence though, as evidenced by the three fights that went down that night.

Tonight the Leafs will put Vesa Toskala between the pipes.  Tosk is 5-7-2 on the year and a loser in two straight starts.  Leafs fans are probably hoping Santa brought him some new goalie gear for Xmas, preferably a new catching glove to replace the one with an obvious hole in it.

Interestingly enough Tomas Kaberle leads all Leafs players in points with 3g and 31a.  Five points back is Matt Stajan with 11g and 18a, followed by team-leading goal scorer Niklas Hagman (16g, 10a).  For some reason I always have this unbridled concern whenever Alexei Ponikarovsky is on the ice, so I might as well mention his 13g and 12a while I'm at it and hope it remains that way after this game.

A win tonight puts the Pens in first place in the Conference, but it will likely continue to be a back-and-forth duel with New Jersey.  If MAF picks up the win it will also tie him with Marty Brodeur for first in the league with 23. 

Puck and thread drop at 7:00.  Let's hope the Pens can follow up the Ottawa blowout with another similar effort.

Last time I did this the Pens got shutout - but what the hell?  Who's your pick for first Pens goal?

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