Who: Toronto Maple Leafs (12-5-5, 29 points, 2nd place Atlantic Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (11-7-3, 25 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: NHL Network, AT&T Sports Network Pittsburgh, Sling TV
Opponent Track: The Leafs are also facing the Penguins on the back end of a set of consecutive games. On Friday, they beat the Wild 4-3 in Minnesota. They’ve claimed points in each of their last seven games (5-0-2). The last time they lost in regulation was all the way back on November 11 against the Penguins.
Pens Path Ahead: For the first time all season, the Penguins are about to play more than two games in a row at home! They’ll take on the Hurricanes Tuesday, the Golden Knights Thursday and the Blues Friday, all at PPG Paints Arena.
Season Series: The Pens have seen a lot of the Maple Leafs this month. This game will close out the season series, which has so far split between a 4-2 win on November 11 and a 5-2 loss on November 15.
Getting to know the Maple Leafs
SB Nation counterpart: Pension Plan Puppets
Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Calle Jarnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - Pontus Holmberg - Wayne Simmonds
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kampf - Pierre Engvall
Mark Giordano / Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin / Timothy Liljegren
Victor Mete / Mac Hollowell
Goalies: Matt Murray (Erik Kallgren)
Scratches: Nick Robertson, Conor Timmins, Denis Malgin (scratched on Friday, but could be swapped for Wayne Simmonds on the third line, if not injured)
IR: Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie, Jordie Benn, Jake Muzzin, Carl Dahlstrom, Ilya Samsonov
- An awkward collision with the Islanders’ Kyle Palmieri on Monday sent Toronto’s top defender Morgan Rielly to the injured reserve. That one stings— he had 16 assists in 20 games, and with longer-term injuries to other regular defensemen like TJ Brodie, Jake Muzzin and Jordie Benn, the Leafs’ defensive corps are thinning out.
With Rielly, Muzzin and Brodie out, the #Leafs have $18.125 million AAV in defence out of the lineup.— David Alter (@dalter) November 22, 2022
- In four starts since returning from injury, including a 5-2 win over the visiting Penguins on November 15, Matt Murray has put together a 4-0-1 record, .934 save percentage and held opponents to an average of 2.20 goals against. After a few rough seasons with the Senators, it’s fantastic to see the former Penguins netminder beginning to find his game again. Who knows how long these numbers can last behind a team missing its three top defenders, but right now he looks like the Murray of old.
MATT. MURRAY. GAME. SAVER. pic.twitter.com/vxgSPNT891— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 25, 2022
- Mitch Marner may have just four goals through 21 games— a surprisingly slow start for last year’s 35-goal scorer— but on the other hand, he can’t seem to stop racking up assists.
- The Maple Leafs have been a bottom-half team this season in terms of even-strength goals, a problem exacerbated by Auston Matthews’ relative 5v5 slump (although he’s producing at almost a point per game, just six of 21 are at 5v5, a surprising statistic for the best even-strength producer of the past few seasons.)
- Toronto boasts a top-10 NHL power play (they’re converting on more than a quarter of chances), although these numbers could potentially suffer in Rielly’s absence.
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Danton Heinen
Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald
Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph / Jeff Petry
Brian Dumoulin / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Casey DeSmith (Tristan Jarry played last night)
Scratches: Kasperi Kapanen, Chad Ruhwedel
- The Penguins got their first win on the wrong end of a back-to-back set last weekend against the Blackhawks— before that, they were 0-3-1 in the second of consecutive games.
- With the fourth line flying like it did last night (albeit against the admittedly hamstrung Flyers) it doesn’t seem like the Penguins will be slotting Kasperi Kapanen in there anytime soon.
- The Penguins are 4-2-1 at home so far this season— that’s the 11th best home points percentage in the NHL.
- The Penguins are now 7-1-1, including five straight wins, since the seven-game losing streak.