It’s a battle of Eastern Conference teams on the ice in the Steel City. The Toronto Maple Leafs are on the road as they open a home and home set with the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night. Toronto was upended by Buffalo 5-2 on the road in the second game of a back to back situation Sunday night. Pittsburgh cruised to a 5-1 home win over Detroit, who was playing the second game of a back to back, Sunday afternoon in their last game. The teams have split the last six meetings with the Penguins rolling a 6-1 win in the lone matchup this season, which came at home on November 16, 2019.
Toronto Maple Leafs Battling Fatigue FactorToronto couldn’t follow up on their win over Ottawa on the road Saturday night as they were dumped by Buffalo on the road Sunday. The Maple Leafs entered Monday holding the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, four points ahead of the Panthers. They stood 16 points back of Boston for the division lead. Toronto is one of the league’s most dangerous offenses as they average 3.50 goals per game on the season. The Maple Leafs are struggling to keep the puck out of their own net as they allow 3.25 goals per contest. Toronto is a dangerous team on the power play as they convert 24.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Maple Leafs are having some issues in penalty killing as they successfully shut down 78 percent of their shorthanded situations on the year: they have five shorthanded goals.
Against the Sabres, the Maple Leafs were playing their third game in four nights and it cost them in a third-period blitz that turned a tie game into a defeat. Toronto was outshot 16-6 in the opening period of the contest but the game remained scoreless at the first intermission. In the second period, Toronto was outshot 12-6 and was outscored 2-1 to trail by that score after two periods. The Maple Leafs went down 2-0 before getting on the board with Egor Korshkov’s first of the year at 11:29 off assists from Jason Spezza and Kyle Clifford. In the third period, Toronto held a 10-8 edge in shots but was outscored 3-1 to end up with the loss. Zach Hyman tied the game for the Maple Leafs with his 18th of the year at 2:11 off assists from Jake Muzzin and Mitch Marner. The game turned later in the period as Buffalo scored three times in a 1:31 span to earn the win. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves in the loss as the Maple Leafs were outshot 36-22.
Pittsburgh Penguins Looking to Gain Ground on CapitalsPittsburgh won their second straight and their fifth in the last seven games as they took care of business against Detroit Sunday afternoon. The Penguins entered Monday second in the Metropolitan Division and stood only one point back of division-leading Washington. Pittsburgh is very effective at lighting the lamp as they average 3.30 goals per game on the year. The Penguins are solid in their own zone and get quality goaltending as they allow 2.67 goals per contest. Pittsburgh is fairly average on the power play this season as they have converted 20.5 percent of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Penguins are solid in the penalty killing department as they are successful in 82.5 percent of their shorthanded situations. They have six shorthanded goals on the year.
A LASER FROM KRIS LETANG!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 16, 2020
With this tally, Letang ties his career-high of six power-play goals (set in 2013.14).@Letang_58 is second among NHL defenseman for the most power-play goals. pic.twitter.com/mpCEE83dLp
Against the Red Wings, the Penguins took advantage of a fatigued Detroit team to earn the victory on home ice. Pittsburgh was outshot 15-9 in the opening period but took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room. After falling behind 1-0 early in the first period, Sam Lafferty tied the game with his eighth of the year, unassisted, at 7:58 of the period. Kris Letang gave the Penguins the lead for good with his 14th of the season, on the power play, at 14:35 off assists from Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist. The second period saw the Penguins hold a 16-7 edge in shots and a 3-0 edge on the scoreboard to blow the game open. Hornqvist made it 3-1 with his 13th of the season at 2:53 off an assist from Andrew Agozzino. Crosby made it 4-1 with his 11th of the season at 7:55 off assists from Marcus Pettersson and Jason Zucker. Hornqvist tallied his second of the game and 14th of the year at 11:53 of the period off assists from Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger. In the third period, the Penguins held a 10-6 edge in shots with neither team scoring to close the game out. Marty Murray made 27 saves in the win as Pittsburgh held a 35-28 edge in shots on goal.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Maple Leafs are 5-0 in their last 5 Tuesday games
- No Key Trends