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Game 3 Preview: Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

A look at the 1/23/2013 game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We swapped emails with our friends at Pension Plan Puppets for what to look for in front of tonight's big game.

#1 - What Toronto player should Pens fans keep any eye on that might jump out and surprise?

I think that after the last few years Pens fans should be aware of a guy like Grabovski and obviously Phaneuf and Kessel go without saying but tonight I'd say that it might be Nazem Kadri that surprises. He's taken a longer route to the NHL but he's really skilled and will be on the top powerplay unit tonight to help that moribund group going.

#2 - Do you think the Leafs will try to match any specific checking line or defensive pair against the Crosby and Malkin lines?

As much as they can, I expect to see the Leafs run JVR - Grabovski - Kulemin at one of the top lines and McClement centering a collection of wingers at the other. On defence, Gunnarsson's pairing will see one of them and Phaneuf-Kostka will get the other.

#3 - Small sample size, but there's been a total of 6 goals in Toronto's two games, compared to 13 goals in Pittsburgh's two games this season. Do you see the Leafs trying to slow things down and play a tight, low-scoring game in order to get the win?

The Leafs are definitely defending deeper without the puck which creates more traffic in front of the net and makes it harder to score. They've only allowed 42 shots in two games I think. But they've also had a bad shooting percentage which depresses the number of goals scored. Hopefully they break out tonight and not tomorrow because they are going to need it. Thanks to PPP and be sure to check them out for their always interesting and humo(u)rous looks at the perspective from Toronto.