Toronto is led in points (12) by their trio of young, talented rookies. First there's Auston Matthews (6g+6a in 14 games) the 2016 first overall pick who announced his NHL presence with authority with a 4 goal game in his very first game. Also at 12 points (5g+7a) is 2015 first round pick (#4 overall) Mitch Marner who is no slouch himself when it comes to having offensive skills. Finally at 12 points (4g+8a) is possibly the most talented (skills wise) player of the bunch in 2014 first round pick (#8 overall) William Nylander.
These three studs plus 4 more rookies have re-energized last year's worst team in the league into what they hope will be the beginning of a build back to glory. So far they've got 15 points (6-5-3) in the first 14 games of the season, putting them solidly in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference. Nothing to write home about, but simply being competitive is a good place to start for a team 27 points out of a playoff spot last season.
Toronto played last night and used a four goal 3rd period to pickup the win against the Flyers. Defenseman Morgan Reilly had a 4 point game. Pittsburgh has been sitting at home waiting for them since Thursday's home loss to Minnesota.
One area TML will want to clean up is defensively and in net they haven't had strong performances from new additions Frederick Andersen and Jhonas Enroth. Toronto's 3.57 goals against per game is 4th worst in the league so far.
Fashion wise, the Pens will wear their road white jerseys at home tonight. They will wear them a lot more next week when they embark on a three game road trip to Washington, NYI and Buffalo.
Expected Toronto lines
Zack Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner
Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Ben Smith - Peter Holland
Nikita Zaitsev / Morgan Reilly
Roman Polak / Martin Marincin
Connor Carrick / Jake Gardiner
Expected Pittsburgh lines
Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Olli Maatta / Trevor Daley
Ian Cole / Justin Schultz
-We used yesterday's practice lines (sans Bonino who missed the skate on a maintenance day) as the expected lines, but coach Mike Sullivan may be fairly fluid with where he uses guys like Sheary/Wilson/Hagelin on the left and Kessel on the right.
-Matt Murray (3-0, .957 save %) has been announced as the game's starting goalie for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the loss vs. Minny, though it wasn't totally his fault. Murray's been excellent in his small sample this season, and should he fair well again tonight it will be interesting to see who the Pens tap to play next game on the road in Washington, since tonight it Murray's fourth start in the last five games. Make it 5/6 and it sure sounds like he's playing his way into being the starting goalie, at least to this point of the season.
But, first thing first is the game tonight that will have a lot of youngsters excited to measure up against Crosby and the champs.