Red-Hot Pens Will Face Even More Adversity In Toronto Tonight
Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez (Getty Images)
By Joe Depto (@PensDeptoTFP)
Another day, another injury. It’s been the unofficial battle cry of the Pittsburgh Penguins for nearly an injury now.
Tonight, as the Pittsburgh Penguins do battle with the Maple Leafs in Toronto, will be no different.
Jordan Staal, per Pittsburgh bench boss Dan Bylsma, will miss tonight’s game due a collision with Islanders center John Tavares in Thursday night’s victory over the New York Islanders. His injury situation is listed as day to day.
– For the Penguins, the timing of the injury is equally as bad as the name attached to it. Staal, who has posted six goals and three assists in twelve games in addition to spearheading the league’s best penalty kill (The Pens have killed off a whopping 97.3% of their penalties), will be missed on both ends of the ice.
– Another key Penguin, Marc-Andre Fleury will be out of tonight’s lineup as well albeit for a much more consensual reason – rest. Dan Bylsma confirmed this morning that Brent Johnson will get the nod in goal tonight. Johnson has posted a 1-0-2 record this season with a 1.91 GAA and a .925 save percentage and will make his first start in eleven days. Johnson has a 4-3 career record against Toronto.
– If the Pens want to pick up a victory tonight, they may have to do it with defense. Phil Kessel leads the entire NHL in scoring with a white-hot 9-7-16 stat line through just nine games. Kessel’s line mate Joffrey Lupul will be another name to keep in check. In seventeen career games against Pittsburgh, Lupul has averaged a point per game (eleven goals and six assists).
– If there is one substantial edge Pittsburgh has in this one it’s coaching – the Penguins have never lost in regulation at the Air Canada Centre under coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma’s Pens have five points in six road games this season. – tops in the eastern conference and second only to Colorado league-wise.
– In the wake of Jordan Staal’s injury, the Penguins lines tonight will look like the following :
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Kunitz – Park – Dupuis
Cooke – Letestu – Asham
Jeffrey – Vitale – Adams
Orpik – Engelland
Martin – Letang
Niskanen – Lovejoy
The Pens and Leafs clash at 7pm eastern tonight.