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Winning back-to-back games on the road, and now 12-8-3 on away from the Air Canada Center, the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in their last game before the NHL All-Star break, and the last of their 3-game roadtrip (7:00PM ET, CBC).

The Leafs are most recently coming off of a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, where Andrew Raycroft's 39 saves give the goaltender another solid victory, following a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay 2 nights before.

Andrew Raycroft said:
''I feel good. Yeah, there were 40-something shots but I was able to see them.

I'd rather have a lot of pucks and get warm moving instead of standing around getting cold.''
Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/7093-gameday-48-toronto-maple-leafs-florida.html

The addition of Boyd Devereaux has so far proven to be of some worth, with Devereaux scoring the 1st goal of the game for Toronto, and John Pohl and Chad Kilger adding the others.

Another big test comes for the inconsistent Leafs again tonight though. They will be facing the much-improved Penguins, led by NHL leading scorer Sidney Crosby, as they try for their 3rd straight victory.

Related Topic: http://www.hockeyforum.com/toronto-maple-leafs/7193-crosby-up-facing-toronto.html

Raycroft faced 41 shots on the night from the Panthers, and his performance now leaves him with a 3.02 Goals Against Average and .895 Save Percentage of after 39 games. He is currently 20-15-4 on the season overall.

There is a possibility of Darcy Tucker returning to the line-up for tonight's game, but the forward is likely to return next week when the Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens after the NHL All-Star break, according to Leaf Coach Paul Maurice.

Defenceman Ian White is out for another 3 weeks with a shoulder injury, while there continues to be no time-frame set on the return of Centerman Kyle Wellwood and his hip-flexor injury.

Mats Sundin's 42 points in 41 games played continue to lead the team (18G, 24A), while Darcy Tucker's 19 Goals are stil tops on Toronto.

The Leafs are now 22-20-6 after 48 games played, and are tied with the New York Rangers for the last spot in the Eastern Conference with 50 Points, Toronto on the outside looking in.

The Leafs remain 4th in their division and 18 points behind the Eastern Conference and Northeast Division leading Buffalo Sabres.

The last game played between the leafs and Penguns was late in December, with the Penguins winning 4-1 over the Leafs.

Led by Sidney Crosby, and likely Rookie of the Year cadidate Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are having the best season the team has had in years.

They are currently 2 points back of Toronto and New York (Rangers) for the last spot in the Conference with 48 points, and have 3 games in hand of ofthe Leafs.

There were wispers of a possible trade involving Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury before the Season began, but so far the goaltender has done a decent job for the Penguins. Now 19-12-6 through 37 Games, and with a 2.90 Goals Against Average and .904 Save Percentage, Fleury may remain with the franchise for years to come.

However, the young team's dynamic duo of Crosby and Malkin has been the main core of the team.

Crosby has 69 points in 42 games played (23G, 46A), and continues to be hunted down by the ever persistent Calder Tropohy winner and fellow All-Star Alexander Ovechkin, who is tied for 2nd in the league with other All-Star Martin St. Louis, both having 64 Points on the year (both also being tied for 2nd in the NHL with 29 Goals).

Evgeni Malkin leads all rookies with 47 Points in 41 Games played (24G, 23A) and his 24 goals currently lead the Penguins club.

Pittsburgh is 20-17-8 so far on the year and are 4th in the Atlantic Divison, trailing the leading New Jersey Devils by 13 Points.

This is the 2nd meeting between the Leafs and Penguins this year.
 

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After beating the two Florida teams the Leafs should be prepared to beat the Pens. Maybe their luck on the road has run out or maybe this is just a really good road team.

I'm worried that the Leafs don't have enough offense to run with the Pens right now. They will need to control the game like they did in Tampa. Hopefully the role players continue to step up.

I'm working tonight so I'll miss the game but might catch it on Leafs tv on Sunday.

Go Leafs Go!
 

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Yeah. They'll have to play it tight if they want to win, and not leave Crosby and Malkin alone in the slot.

There's an error in the header though. Buffalo is 20 points up on Toronto now, not 18. I didn't add in their win from last.
 

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ANOTHER must win tonight! If we win we pass the rangers in the standings(they lost today!). C'mon leafers, WIN this one too!

GO LEAFS GO!
 

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2-1 Penguins right now.

Leafs just killed off a 5-3, and now go to the powerplay (where they scored their first goal)

I didn't like that penalty shot call. It looked ot me liek Ruutu fell the wrong way.

Then again, Cola did have his stick on him, however brief it was.

I didn't like the 1st goal either. Why is the slot, of all places, always left unguarded?

Toronto started off well, but they aren't looking too good right now. They better pick it up.
 

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3-1 Pittsburgh now, on a Powerplay goal by Recchi, and it's beginning to look like the route is on.

They better wake up.
 

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Well, there was McCabe to provide the back-breaking penalty. Surprisingly, it's the first time in quite a while for him really.

The Leafs were playing well to start off the 2nd, and looked to be back into things. Then there he goes sticking it to Crosby's chin and holding him up in the play.

Yet even then, he still has the nerve to argue the call and bark it up like he did nothing wrong.

The goal scored against is just the icing on the cake for the opposition.
 

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5-on-3 for Pittsburgh now, and it's looking like a blowout. Not a good way to go into the All-Star break.

*shakes head*
 

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There it is. The hats are raining in Pittsburgh.

3 Powerplay goals for Mark Recchi and it's 5-1 for the Penguins. Crosby's having a great game for the Pens.
 

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Ah well, there's some consolation.

Blur Song 2 while they're sweeping up the hats.

WOO HOO!!! :D
 

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Oh. 8-2 final.

Toronto, Toronto, Toronto... Why? :dunno:

What will Paul Maurice be doing in the dressing room. I hope all the gear the players are wearing will be enough for whatever wrath he'll let fly, since this is their last game until next week Saturday (and they just missed a chance to sneak into the last playoff spot).
 

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WOW, I thought this would be close, guess not

OH WELL AS Break is coming up so...
 

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Recchi's hat trick leads Pens past Leafs

Associated Press
1/20/2007 10:23:35 PM


PITTSBURGH (AP) - Mark Recchi scored three consecutive power-play goals and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Evgeni Malkin had five assists, Sergei Gonchar had three assists and Jarkko Ruutu scored on a penalty shot goal for the Penguins, who were 5-for-9 on the power play.

Recchi, who also added an assist, recorded the seventh hat trick of his career in a span of 16:57, starting late in the first period. His most recent was March 4 against Carolina, where he was traded five days later before re-signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in the off-season.

The Penguins enter the all-star break 3-0-1 in their last four game and in a three-way tie for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto's Jeff O'Neill scored the first goal 3:19 into the game on a power play.

But from there it was all Pittsburgh as Jordan Staal scored the first of seven straight goals 1:31 later. He tipped in a pass from Malkin while going hard to the net. Malkin has five goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak.

The Penguins took a 2-1 lead with 11:30 left in the first on Ruutu's penalty shot.

Ruutu, who hadn't scored since the season opener, was pulled off his skates by Carlo Colaiacovo on a breakaway against Toronto goalie Andrew Raycroft. On the penalty shot, Ruutu faked a forehand shot to freeze Raycroft before tucking the puck into the net with the backhand.

Recchi made it 3-1 with 2:32 to play in the opening period when Ryan Whitney's centring pass deflected off his skate and into the net.

Recchi's second of the game and 13th of the season came midway through the second off a pass from Crosby. His third came at 14:25 of the second from Crosby and Gonchar. That was Recchi's 498th career goal and his 1,306th point in his 1,302nd NHL game.

FULL STORY
 

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What a mess, I'll post more in the morning after I cry myself to sleep.

Blow the hatch!

I was lucky enough to be able to listen to the game on the radio while at work.
 

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I stopped watching after Recchi's hat trick.
This is not a great way to head into the All-Star break.
NOT at all.

That last playoff spot seems further than ever.
And with Boston and Pittsburgh on our tails with at least 2 games in hand for each of them, it's not looking good.

Good thing though-- Brendan Bell got his first NHL goal :)
 
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