The Official Web Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins
  • RSS

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Scouting Report

Friday, 10.28.2011 / 9:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
Share with your Friends

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 4-1-1-9
Road: 4-1-1-9

WHEN: Oct. 29, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: Air Canada Centre
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Toronto Maple Leafs
Home: 4-0-1-9

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs 






Joffrey Lupul
RW  -  #19
  5 Goals
  5 Assists
  10 Points
• Thrives against the Penguins, as he leads all Toronto players with 11 goals and 17 points in 17 career games against Pittsburgh.

• Former first-round pick (sixth overall by Anaheim in 2002) played from 2003-05 with the Ducks; 2006-07 with the Oilers; 2007-09 with the Flyers and 2009-11 back with Anaheim before being traded to Toronto on Feb. 9.

• Had notched 20 or more goals in three of the four seasons before being limited to just 23 contests in 2009-10 due to injury, including a personal-best 28 tallies and 53 points in 2005-06.
Phil Kessel
RW -  #81
  9 Goals
  7 Assists
  16 Points
• Got off to the hottest start by a Maple Leaf in over 65 years, as his seven goals in the first five games of the season was the most since Sweeney Schriner scored eight goals in Toronto’s first five games in 1944-45.

• Registered a five-game point streak (Oct. 6-19) to start the 2011-12 campaign after finishing last season on a 10-game point streak with 11 points (4G-7A) in that span – the longest by a Leaf since Mats Sundin went 11-straight games with a point in ’05-06.

• The 24-year-old Madison, WI native loves shooting from anywhere and everywhere, as he’s led the Leafs in shots on goal the past two seasons.
John-Michael Liles
D  -  #24
  0 Goals
  7 Assists
  7 Points
• Acquired from Colorado – where he had spent all seven seasons of his NHL career – for Boston’s second round pick (previously acquired) in the 2012 Entry Draft on June 24.

• Makes up for his smaller stature (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) with his skating ability and nose for the net, leaving the Avalanche as the highest-scoring defensemen in franchise history with 275 points.

Had a hot start last season, where he opened the 2010-11 campaign with assists in each of his first nine games – setting a new NHL record for the longest assist streak by a defenseman to start a season.
The Maple Leafs may have missed the playoffs for the sixth-straight season in 2010-11, but they did hit their stride and put together an excellent stretch of hockey after the All-Star break – going 18-9-6 in their final 33 games.

They seem to have carried that strong play into the 2011-12 season, as the confident Leafs have gotten off to a fantastic start – going 6-2-1 over their first nine games. They’ve got a deep forward lineup, defensemen that play a quick transition game and solid goaltending.

Their strong start has been fueled by the scorching hot Phil Kessel, who’s posted a league-leading nine goals and 16 points through nine games. Kessel – who has factored in on 55 percent of Toronto’s offense so far this year – tends to be a streaky player, seeing his seasons interspersed with hot and cold stretches. But when he’s at his best, he’s one of those players that can dictate an entire game with the odes of natural talent he possesses. While he’s a pure goal scorer that shoots from everywhere – posting 30-plus tallies each of his last three seasons – the 24-year-old has also improved his defensive game.

Kessel has found some tremendous chemistry on a line with fellow winger Joffrey Lupul, who seems to have found a home in Toronto after being acquired by the Leafs in February. Lupul, 28, has five goals and five assists on the season. Kessel and Lupul were joined Thursday by former Sabres center Tim Connolly, who made his Leafs debut in the team’s 4-2 win over NY Rangers. Time will tell if he will thrive between those two skilled wingers.

Last season’s No. 1 line of Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin remains intact and rounds out Toronto’s current top six. All three players had career years in terms of production in 2010-11, each posting 20-plus goals. They haven’t quite gotten going yet, but they’ll certainly figure it out as they were the Leafs’ most consistent line last season.

The Leafs have a skilled back end that’s capable of producing plenty of offense, led by captain Dion Phaneuf and summer acquisition John-Michael Liles. The tough Phaneuf does it all – not only does he play physical and block shots, but he already has two goals and seven assists through nine games. Meanwhile, the small but skilled Liles is a power-play threat, averaging a team-leading 5:16 minutes on the man-advantage. He’s never posted less than 30 points in his seven NHL seasons, one of just six U.S.-born defensemen to do so.

James Reimer earned the starting job last season after initially being thrust between the pipes because of injuries. The 23-year-old produced a 4-0-1 record to kick off the 2011-12 campaign, but left the Leafs’ Oct. 22 game vs. Montreal due to injury. He’s currently on injured reserve and is ineligible to return against the Penguins, which means backup Jonas Gustavsson will likely get the start. He’s been in goal for both of Toronto’s regulation losses and has a 4.08 goals-against average, but put forth a strong 28-save effort in the Leafs’ 4-2 win over NY Rangers on Thursday and will be looking to build off that.
  • Saturday's game will feature three of the NHL’s top-four goal scorers in Phil Kessel (9 goals, T-1st in NHL), James Neal (9 goals, T-1st in NHL) and Jordan Staal (6 goals, T-4th in NHL).
  • Pittsburgh enters Saturday’s game riding a season-high five-game winning streak. During their five-game winning streak the Penguins have outscored their opponents 16-6 in regulation.
  • Pittsburgh's five-game winning streak is the league’s longest current active streak and is the team’s longest streak since winning five in a row Jan. 22-Feb. 4 of last season. Only the Washington Capitals have posted a longer winning streak this season, having won seven straight games from Oct. 8-22.
  • The Penguins have gone 3-0-1 the past two seasons at the Air Canada Centre. Pittsburgh’s last loss in Toronto came on Feb. 14, 2008 (6-2) – the last game that season before Dan Bylsma took over as head coach.
  • Pittsburgh has won the season series in each of the past two seasons, going 5-2-1 against Toronto during that stretch.
  • The Penguins enter Saturday’s game with the NHL’s second-best road record at 4-1-1. Their nine road points are the most in the Eastern Conference and rank second overall behind only the Colorado Avalanche.
  • Dating back to a 6-5 shootout win at Toronto on Feb. 26 of last season the Penguins have gone 12-2-3 in their last 17 road games.
  • The Penguins have allowed two or fewer goals in six straight games (8 goals total) and eight times overall in the first 12 games. They are the only team in the NHL that hasn’t allowed more than three regulation goals in a single game this season.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury enters Saturday's game riding a personal four-game winning streak, including his first shutout of the season – the 20th of his career – with a 33-save performance at NY Islanders Oct. 25. After stopping 17 of 19 shots vs. NY Islanders on Oct. 27, Fleury has now allowed two or fewer goals in each of his last five starts, going 4-1 with a 1.20 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage.
  • Dating back to Feb. 1 of last season the Penguins are 8-1 in shootouts, with the only loss coming at Edmonton on Oct. 9 of this year. During that stretch, Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents by a 12-3 margin. After earning the ‘W’ on Thursday, Marc-Andre Fleury has now won seven straight shootouts, stopping 19 of 20 shots he has faced during that stretch. Fleury has stopped 13 straight attempts dating back to last season.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Sidney Crosby, concussion
F Tyler Kennedy, concussion
D Zbynek Michalek, broken finger
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (9) Kessel (9)
Letang (8) Three tied with (7)
Neal (10)
Kessel (16)
Engelland/Lovejoy (11) Brown (21)
Letang (6) Phaneuf (7)
Neal (3) Lupul (2)
Three tied with (1)
Lombardi (1)
Fleury (7-2-0)
Gustavsson (2-2-0)
Fleury (1.86) Gustavsson (4.09)
Fleury (.934) Gustavsson (.876)

F Colby Armstrong, ankle
G James Reimer, undisclosed





The Legend of Cardboard Orpik 
Engame: Penguins 3, Islanders 2 (SO) 
CONSOL Energy Center Fulfilling Its Promise 
Pittsburgh Draft Announcement Creates Sharks Deja Vu 
1997 Draft was Launching Pad for Today's Stars 
Cooke Part of the '97 Draft in Pittsburgh 
Draft Announcement Takeaway 
Penguins Land 2012 NHL Draft 
Pens Players Support "Hockey Fights Cancer"

If this widget fails to load, click here to read latest @PghPenguins Tweets.

Author: Michelle Crechiolo
CONSOL Energy Center CONSOL ENERGY PNC Wealth Management UPMC FedEx Ground Verizon Dick's Sporting Goods 84 Lumber American Eagle Outfitters Highmark
" "