Perhaps the biggest thing working in the Leafs' favor heading in to this Saturday's game is the motivation that comes from an 8-1 win. Just last night, Mats Sundin also surpassed the club records for most goals and most points, 390 and 917 respectively. Tell me how you can slow a guy down after a feat like that on top of a monstrous win. I'd like to know.
Let's hope, for the sake of Pens fans, that Toskala gets the start in net. He's 1-2 on the season, giving up nearly 4 goals a game. Last night's win saw Raycroft in net, so perhaps they'll switch duties come Saturday.
With that being said, let's talk about how the Pens have to stop the offense.
Oddly enough, I feel the biggest threat comes from the blueline. McCabe and Kaberle both possess huge shots. As long as they put it on net, it may be in Fleury's best interest to either freeze the puck or at the least kick it to the corner so as not to unleash the animal within Sundin, Stajan or Steen on the rebound.
I predict this game to also be relatively high scoring, similar to the home opener against the Ducks. Neither team really has a solid netminder, despite Raycroft setting aside 30 of 31 shots against the Islanders. So far this season, Fleury has let in a minimum of 3 goals a game. If he does get the start this Saturday night against the Leafs, then he's going to have to do better than that. I think the fans, especially Coach Therrien, wants to see this guy step up and stop the puck. Sabourin has my vote for tomorrow's game, but should he not start then it's a definite must-win situation for MA Fleury. Teams around the league has unveiled quality backups, why can't the Pens consider?
Another concern of mine comes, again, in the defense. The Pens have allowed far too many shots, and even though Eaton has taken more than a few to the chest and shins in attempts to block, they're going to have to do a better job if they want to keep the puck out. Let's hope the Leafs don't unleash another barage of shots similar to last night, whereby they sent 42 shots on nets with 8 finding the mark.
Now the Leafs' powerplay is also pretty hot, converting at 30% last night; or 2 on 6 attempts. Not to mention, they also netted a shorthanded goal. With three goals coming from their special teams, it's no doubt something to keep the Pens on their toes, but more importantly out of the box.
Which leads me to my final point. Less penalties means less goals, and by that I mean, coming from the opposition. Keep out of the box and keep the puck out. This also means they should draw that penalty from Tucker, and refrain from retribution on his cheap shots. He's an instigator and a dirty player, the Pens can't allow themselves to fall in to that trap. At least in the worst case scenario, Roberts gives him a lesson in fighting and they each get five.
Pens are on their way to Toronto, so my game of the night: Capitals vs Rangers. 7pm EST.
At least we have somethin on Leafs fans - like, a sense of style and interest in women...ZING
More at http://pensburgh.blogspot.com