#28|Pittsburgh Penguins VS Toronto Maple Leafs|ACC|14MAR14|7:00PM-EST/4:00PM-PST
Pittsburgh Penguins VS Toronto Maple Leafs
March 14th 2013: 7:00PM EST/4:00PM PST @ Air Canada Center
Official Scouting Report
The Penguins travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs for the second time in six days. Pittsburgh pulled out a 5-4 shootout victory March 9 and is looking to leave the Air Canada Centre with another two points Thursday night.
The Leafs have proven to be a tough matchup for the Penguins this season. Their speed through the neutral zone and skill up front has proven difficult for Pittsburgh to contain. The Leafs triumphed at CONSOL Energy Center, 5-2, back on Jan. 23, and they came back from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits to force a shootout last Saturday.
Toronto has been one of the bigger surprises in the NHL this season. Head coach Randy Carlyle has instilled strong fundamentals into the team, and they’re getting results. The Leafs are currently fifth (tied) in the Eastern Conference as of Wednesday and could snap their eight-year playoff drought if they keep rolling.
The Leafs offense has been led by rookie Nazem Kadri. The seventh-overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft is tied for the team lead with 25 points (11G-14A) on the season, and has been their most consistent scoring threat. Kadri, 22, had his seven-game scoring streak snapped by Pittsburgh in their previous matchup. During that stretch he posted six goals – including a hat trick against the NY Islanders – and 11 points. He's gone pointless in his last two games, so he may be due to get back on the scoresheet.
James van Riemsdyk leads the club with 14 goals. He’s a big body and constant presence at the net. Phil Kessel hasn’t been filling the net with his usual regularity – only nine goals on the year – but he has been setting up scores. He leads the team with 16 assists, and is tied for the team scoring lead at 25 points. Kessel potted two goals against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night, so he's heating up.
The Leafs blue line is led by captain Dion Phaneuf. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound defenseman has 15 points and 77 hits on the season. Mr. Elisha Cuthbert has logged a lot of minutes for his club, leading the way with 25:58 per game.
Perhaps the biggest improvement for the Leafs this season has been the play between the pipes. James Reimer and Ben Scrivens have both have performed well when given the opportunity. Reimer has a 9-4-1 record with a .916 save percentage. While Reimer was sidelined with an injury, Scrivens proved himself capable of handling the load and Toronto didn’t miss a beat. Reimer allowed four goals to Winnipeg before being pulled Tuesday night. He'll be looking to bounce back against the Penguins if he gets the start.
Penguins Projected Lineup
Leafs Projected Lineup
Marc Andre Fleury
19 GP ; 13-5-0, 0 ; 2.67 GAA, .901 SV%
11 GP ; 6-3-0, 0 ; 3.07 GAA, .896 SV%
15 GP ; 9-4-1, 1 ; 2.79 GAA, .916 SV%
15 GP ; 6-7-1, 2 ; 2.51 GAA, .919 SV%
Last edited by SterlingBennett: 03-14-2013 at 12:09 PM.
Nazim Kadri had some nice things to say about Sidney Crosby, albeit nothing we all already don't know.
TORONTO - When he watches Sidney Crosby, Nazem Kadri does all he can to stop from sneaking a pad on to the Maple Leafs bench to take notes. “Everyone can take something out of his game, especially when he comes to town or we go there,” Kadri said of the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar. “Every single player on this team has to elevate their game. If you don’t, he is going to burn you.”
Unlike opposing players, fans and media, for the most part, aren’t at ice level to watch the 25-year-old work his magic. It’s one thing to marvel at Crosby from a distance, quite another to play on the same surface.
Kadri tries to soak up all he can when the Leafs play the Penguins.
“He has top-end talent but his work ethic and determination are on a whole other level,” Kadri said. “He refuses to be out-willed. He’s the guy — you can put your money on it — if the puck is going in the corner, and he is after it, most likely he is going to be the one coming up with it.
Why is Jeffrey centering the 2nd line again (is this known or just a guess?). He clearly belongs at 3C or 4C when Geno is out. Sutter is better offensively and will give Bennett and Neal more chances to score as well. We're a 2 line team with either Sid or Geno out, so we should just play that way, and make 3rd line as gritty as possible. I'd play Cooke - Vitale - Kennedy and hope for the best. Jeffrey is not going to be as physical as Vitale, and the chances of the line scoring are about the same either way because of who's on the wings.