Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game #13 - at Toronto Maple Leafs

2011-12 Game 13

Pittsburgh Penguins (8-2-2, 18 points) at Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-1, 13 points)
Would you pay $260 for this card?  Me either... but someone did.
Why does it matter?
Would you believe this is a game that features two of the top three teams in the East, along with the top two goal scorers (Neal and Kessel)?  If you told me that before the season started, I might have looked at you like you were crazy.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Now up to five straight wins, the Pens just need to stay focused on playing their game.
  • Maple Leafs - While the record is good, the peripheral numbers suggest a different story - they are in the lower half of the league in goals allowed per game, the power play and the penalty kill.  They're winning by out scoring teams and winning lots of one-goal games.  That isn't sustainable if they don't improve some of the other numbers.
Questions to be answered
  • Will this be the night the Leafs get their first home loss in regulation?
  • Will Geno play in his third straight game for the first time this season?  If he does, is he back for good?
  • Can the PK keep up their amazing success rate?  History says they're due for a letdown sooner or later.
Keys to the game
  • Win at 5-on-5.  This was a weakness for the Pens early in the season, but the Leafs special teams aren't very good.  Most of their damage is coming at even strength.  The Pens will need to be focused there.
  • Stay out of the box.  They Leafs have been inconsistent on the power play, but the do have several multi-goal games.  Don't let them get that going on a Saturday night at home.
  • Control Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul - they're the main factors driving the success of the Leafs right now.

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