Toronto Maple Leafs
7:30 p.m., Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Well this seems like a pretty quick turnaround now doesn't it? The Penguins played the Leafs just about 20 hours ago and brought home a win they probably didn't deserve. They were outplayed for a majority of the game, but it didn't matters as they gutted out two points. The Leafs are fighting tooth and nail for that final playoff spot so if you think tonight is going to tone down a little bit you are out of your mind. I expect this to be an up and down hockey game and it should be fun to watch.
Don't look now but the Penguins are only five points behind the Rangers and two points back of the Flyers (albeit both teams have games in hand on the Penguins). I am not saying that the Penguins are going to win 20 games in a row and run away with the Atlantic Division but a couple weeks ago we were wondering if this team was going to make the playoffs. Oh how a few wins, or eight, can change the complextion of a season.
Interesitng note that I found while I was wasting some time today looking at the standings: Only five teams in the Eastern Conference have a positive goal differential: Boston +70, New York +35, Pittsburgh +26, Philadelphia +19 and Toronto +3. Pretty impressive for the Penguins to be the third best in that statistic considering all they have went through this season. This should also go to show how good Marc Andre Fleury has been because the defense hasn't been that great this year.
The season series (Tied 1-1):
October 29, 2011 - Toronto 4, Pittsburgh 3
January 31, 2012 - Penguins 5, Leafs 4 (SO)
The Penguins probables (via Seth at Empty Netters):
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Pascal Dupuis - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Steve Sullivan
Colin McDonald - Joe Vitale - Colin McDonald-*
Brook Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy
The Leafs probables:
Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Matthew Lombardi - Tim Connelly - Colby Armstrong
Joey Crabb - David Steckel - Mike Brown
Dion Phaneuf - Gunnarsson
John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn