Pittsburgh Penguins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00pm – ACC (City TV)
In honor of the 35th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, no Leafs hockey, makes Peter a dull boy.
Sorry, it’s October and I couldn’t help but make that reference.
With a week off, the Leafs rolled into Columbus last night to face the Blue Jackets who are off to a disappointing start to their season.
It took four games, but the Leafs earned their first win of the season 6-3. More importantly, Mike Babcock recorded his first win behind the Leafs bench. There were 13 different players who recorded a point in the win. Leo Komarov scored two goals in the last five minutes of the third period. Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul also scored for the Leafs. Daniel Winnik assisted on three goals, while Morgan Rielly had two.
James Reimer got his first win of the season making 24 saves and allowing three goals. The Leafs outshot the Blue Jackets 33-27.
With their first win in the books, the Leafs are now getting set to play against a familiar face.
The blue and white role into Pittsburgh to face Phil Kessel for the first time since he was traded in the off-season for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington and a couple of draft picks.
In his first four games with the Penguins, Kessel has tallied one goal and an assist. Surprisingly, he has more points than his line mate, Sidney Crosby. While it’s shocking to see that the number one player in the world doesn’t have a point yet, it won’t be long before he finds the score-sheet.
The Penguins are just one of many teams that are shocking fans, not in the way you would expect them to. Like the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks in the West, offense is hard to come by with the Penguins. Even with a lot of offensive weapons on the ice, they only scored five goals in four games played. Evgeni Malkin just registered his first goal Thursday vs. the Ottawa Senators.
While the Penguins have a star-studded lineup with Crosby, Kessel, Malkin and Kris Letang, the Penguins are 1-3-0 and are near the bottom of the Metropolitan Dviision with the New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets (who are still without a point).
The Leafs definitely have a chance to beat the Penguins. But going up against two number one centres and a five-time 30-goal scorer is still a tough task despite their record.
Aside from one game, we are seeing a different Maple Leafs team under Mike Babcock. They outshot the Montreal Canadians 37-29 in their home opener and the Ottawa Senators 41-33. Both games were great character games for the Leafs. They faced a tough opponent in the Canadians losing only 3-1 and came back 3-0 against the Senators to force a shootout losing 5-4 in the process. Even though it’s four games in, the Leafs hold a possession rating of 54.6 per cent, a huge improvement over last year’s possession rating of 46.4 per cent. They outshot their opponents three out of four games this year.
Unlike last season, you can see a huge improvement in this team in terms of owning the puck and generating quality-scoring chances without a big name player.
With James Reimer starting last night in Columbus, Jonathan Bernier will make his first appearance since being pulled in Detroit. He allowed three goals on nine shots. Bernier is 0-2-0 and has a .865 save percentage with a 3.85 goals against average. Those are some disappointing numbers early on in the season. Bernier has a 0-3-2 record with a 3.55 goals against average against the Penguins.
The Penguins will counter with Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has started in all four games for the Penguins this year going 1-3-0 with .930 save percentage and 2.03 goals against average.
Leafs So Far…
Goals For: 11 (18th overall)
Goals Against: 14 (5th overall)
Power Play: 18.2% (19th overall)
Penalty Kill: 66.7% (28th overall)
Shots For per Game: 33.5 (4th overall)
Shots Against per Game: 27.8 (20th overall)
Even Strength 5v5 CF Percentage: 54.6 % (5th overall)
Corsi +/-: 32 (5th overall)
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov
Mathias – Arcobello – Boyes
Grabner – Holland – Parenteau
Winnik – Spaling – Lupul
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Rielly – Hunwick
Harrington – Polak
Kunitz – Crosby – Kessel
Perron – Malkin – Hornqvist
Porter – Bonino – Sprong
Farnham – Cullen – Rust
Cole – Letang
Maatta – Clendening
Dumoulin – Lovejoy
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1937 – Leafs acquire the rights to Wally Stanowski from the New York Americans in exchange for winger Jack Shill.
- 1938 – Right-winger Norm Armstrong was born in Owen Sound, Ontario. He played 7 games with the Leafs during the 1962-1963 campaign.
- 1957 – Leafs limp into Montreal and get blasted 9-3 at the Forum. The Buds would go on to finish last place in the NHL that season.
- 1964 – Leafs hammer the Boston Bruins 7-2 in their home opener. Rookie Ron Ellis netted his first career goal in this game.
- 1972 – Tragedy struck as Hall of Famer Turk Broda passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 58. Broda won five cups with the Leafs and picked up two Vezina trophies along the way.
- 1973 – Leafs send Terry Clancy (the son of Leafs legend King Clancy) to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for cash.
- 1992 – Leafs honour Ace Bailey and Bill Barilko by hoisting their numbers to the rafters at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Buds would make both players proud as they would go on to beat Chicago 4-3. Glenn Anderson netted two goals while Gilmour and Borschevsky picked up 3 points apiece!
- 2002 – Shayne Corson scores two goals and Alexander Mogilny adds three assists in a 5-3 Leafs home victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
- 2014 – Henrik Zetterberg powers the Red Wings past the Leafs as he picks up four assists in a 4-1 pummelling of Toronto. Mike Santorelli tallied the lone Leaf goal.