Skip to main content
game preview

Preview: Maple Leafs at Penguins

Toronto rookie Auston Matthews to face Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby for first time

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (6-5-3) at PENGUINS (9-3-2)


Maple Leafs team scope

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie forward Auston Matthews will face Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby for the first time Saturday. Matthews is without a goal since Oct. 25 after scoring six goals and 10 points in his first six games. He has had three assists in eight games since. The Maple Leafs held an optional morning skate with only healthy scratches present after a 6-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. Toronto has won four of its past five games and is 5-2-0 at home but has struggled on the road (1-3-3). Forward Zach Hyman ended a 12-game drought without a point by scoring 8:34 into the third period against Philadelphia. The goal was his fifth in 30 NHL games and first of the season. "I had so many chances and it's always fun scoring goals," Hyman said after the game. "It's been a while and the first one is always the hardest for me. It felt good to get that one out of the way." Goalie Frederik Andersen made 30 saves Friday. It remains unknown if Andersen will start consecutive nights or if Toronto will turn to goalie Jhonas Enroth, who allowed three goals on 17 shots in a 7-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.


Penguins team scope

Coach Mike Sullivan could reunite the "HBK Line" of forward Nick Bonino centering left wing Carl Hagelin and right wing Phil Kessel. Forward Matt Cullen centered Hagelin and Kessel during practice Friday with Bonino taking a maintenance day. Bonino, who skated Saturday, would likely take Cullen's place with Cullen moving to the fourth line. Crosby will face Matthews four days after his first game against Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid. He has nine goals and 11 points in eight games this season. "One of the things that makes Sid as good as he is, is the ability to play through any sort of tactics that teams employ against him," Sullivan said. "He's a great player. He can play any type of game. … He's one of those guys that personifies playing the game the right way." Goalie Matt Murray will start after backing up Marc-Andre Fleury on Thursday. Neither Murray nor Fleury has started three consecutive games since Murray returned from a broken hand on Nov. 2. 


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Peter Holland

Morgan Rielly -- Roman Polak

Martin Marincin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth 

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Nikita Soshnikov

Injured: Matt Hunwick (lower body)


Penguins projected lineup

Conor Sheary -- Sidney Crosby -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Tom Kuhnhackl, Steve Oleksy, Tom Sestito

Injured: Derrick Pouliot (lower body)


Status report

The Maple Leafs activated Hunwick (lower body) from injured reserve Friday. He last played Oct. 25 against the Tampa Bay Lightning … Pouliot (lower body) skated on his own before Pittsburgh's morning skate Saturday. He has played in one game this season, against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 20.


Who's hot

Marner has scored two points in three of his past four games. … Hornqvist has scored at least one point in 10 of 14 games. He scored his fifth goal against the Wild on Thursday.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.