Pens look to rebound with new lines tonight vs. Toronto

Maple Leafs

Penguins head coach Michel Therrien realizes that his top three lines have not scored a five-on-five goal in their last four games, so he will try to work his wizardry and do what he does best, change the lines.  The projected four lines for tonight will look like this:

 Pascal Dupuis-Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin
 
 Ruslan Fedotenko-Jordan Staal-Petr Sykora
 
 Miroslav Satan-Max Talbot-Tyler Kennedy
 
  Paul Bissonnette-Bill Thomas-Eric Godard
 

Malkin will be on Crosby's wing tonight
Malkin will be on Crosby's wing tonight

Yep, Crosby and Malking back on the same line.  It has been tried before, and has been very successful.  But the other three lines will need to prove they can score goals too.  Usually when Sid and Geno are paired together, it does not last very long.  The Pens might score a few quick goals, and then Therrien will split them apart to spread out the scoring.

Both Matt Cooke and Mike Zigomanis missed practice Friday, but Zigomanis has a possibility of playing Saturday night as a game-time decision.  If Zigomanis cannot go, hometown boy Bill Thomas will get his second start as a Penguin. 

I really like the way Zigomanis has been playing.  As I researched his numbers when the Penguins received him in an early season trade, I was initially disappointed.  He did not have great numbers, and I was hoping this was not another Kris Beech-like story.  However, Zigomanis has far surpassed my expectations, and has quickly become one of my favorite players to watch on the ice.  I hope his level of play will continue throughout the season.

As for the visiting Maple Leafs, they started the season strong by beating the Stanley Cup Champions in their own house on opening night.  However, since then, the Leafs have struggled to find another win.  They come into tonight’s game at 1-1-2, after losing to the red-hot New York Rangers last night in a shootout.

Right-winger Nik Antropov always brings a scoring threat, and has 16 points in 22 career games versus the Pens.  Standing between the pipes for Toronto will be Vesa Toskala, who has a 3-1-0 record against the Pens.  But do not be surprised if the Leafs elect to go with veteran Curtis Joseph because Toskala played Friday night in New York.  CuJo’s record against the Pens is only 11-12-2, with a 2.94 GAA.

And as many of you know, Toronto fans travel well, especially to Pittsburgh.  There will be a significant amount of Leafs fans in the Igloo tonight, and they will not be afraid to make there presence known.  Hopefully the Pens’ new lines will provide some quick scoring, and make the ride home for the Leafs fans a little bit longer. Let’s Go Pens!

~Dan @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk

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