Series (Game 3 of 4)

Pittsburgh leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 10th
Maple Leafs2
Game 2: Sunday, December 27th
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 3: Saturday, January 9th
Maple Leafs1
Game 4: Sunday, March 28th
Maple Leafs4Final

Penguins 4

(28-17-1, 57 pts)

Maple Leafs 1

(15-22-9, 39 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:00 PM ET, January 9, 2010

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 2 14
TOR 1 0 01

S. Gonchar (Penguins - D): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Fleury (Penguins - G): Saves: 42, Save Pct.: .977

S. Crosby (Penguins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Penguins-Maple Leafs Preview


The Pittsburgh Penguins say they're looking forward to their upcoming trip. Considering their struggles on the road lately, that might not be the best place for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Pittsburgh looks to avoid its fifth straight road loss Saturday night when it faces a Toronto Maple Leafs team that's been playing very well at home recently.

The Penguins (27-17-1), who have dropped seven of nine overall, open a five-game trip after a 7-4 home loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. It was the most goals allowed by Pittsburgh since a 7-3 loss to Toronto on Dec. 20, 2008.

"Anytime you go on the road You kind of really get back to basics and everyone's together," captain Sidney Crosby told the Penguins' official Web site Friday. "You get that team feeling. So, it's probably a good time for us."

Pittsburgh, though, was outscored 15-6 during an 0-4-0 road trip that ended with Sunday's 6-2 loss to Florida. The last time the Penguins dropped five straight away from home was an 0-3-2 slide from Jan. 30-Feb. 16 of last season.

Pittsburgh, which has lost four of five to Toronto, snapped a three-game slide at Air Canada Centre with a 5-2 victory on Oct. 10. Crosby scored two power-play goals in that contest while Evgeni Malkin added three assists.

Malkin has three assists in his last two games, but he has not found the back of the net in his last seven. Last season's scoring champion with 113 points has five goals and 11 assists in a seven-game points streak versus Toronto.

Crosby, who leads the Penguins with 26 goals and 51 points, has 11 goals and 17 assists in 18 career games against the Maple Leafs.

Toronto (15-21-9), which is near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 39 points, is 6-1-2 in its last nine home games.

Vesa Toskala is 6-9-2 this season after making 28 saves in Friday's 3-2 loss at Buffalo, but he is 5-1-0 with a 2.71 goals-against average in his last seven starts at Air Canada Centre.

Toskala made 21 saves in a 4-3 victory at Pittsburgh on Dec. 27 and is 7-2-0 with a 3.12 GAA in nine career starts against the Penguins.

Rookie Jonas Gustavsson, 1-3-2 with a 2.98 GAA in his last six starts, has never faced the Penguins.

Whoever starts in goal would likely benefit if the Maple Leafs' special teams improved. Toronto, which is 3 for 37 on the power play in its last 11 games, has killed just 42.9 percent (9 of 21) of opponents' man-advantage opportunities in the last seven contests.

"Special teams, right now, that's all we talk about before the game," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said Friday. "I think we're a little bit psyched out."

The Penguins are last in the NHL, converting 14.4 percent on the power play, including 1 for 18 over their last six games.

Brent Johnson will likely get his ninth start of the season Saturday for Pittsburgh with Marc-Andre Fleury winless with a 4.66 GAA in his last five starts. Johnson is 3-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA in his last four starts against Toronto.

Maple Leafs center Phil Kessel, who has one goal and no assists in his last 11 games, has three goals in his last five versus Pittsburgh.