Maple Leafs vs. Penguins: 3 things to watch
The Toronto Maple Leafs have full control of their own destiny.
The problem is the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins stand in their way right now. The Leafs just need a win to secure their trip to the playoffs while simultaneously ending postseason hopes for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders.
Follow here: Maple Leafs vs. Penguins -- live game updates
Here are three things to watch for during Saturday night's game in Toronto:
1. The Goalies
Frederik Andersen is coming off of a tough loss to the Lightning in which he allowed 4 goals in 30 shots. He will need to be at his best Saturday night, and likely the Leafs' best player against the league's top-scoring offense. Andersen has eight Saturday night wins this season and he is 1-2 in four career games against the Penguins.
At the other end is Marc-Andre Fleury, who hasn't started since March 29 when he allowed 5 goals by the Chicago Blackhawks. Fleury is getting the road start for the Penguins, who aren't facing such dire consequences as the Leafs. However, the Penguins will want to have a good game with Fleury between the pipes before the playoffs begin. They need to get him confident.
2. The face-off dots
This game could be won or loss on the result of one face-off. The Penguins will be pushing hard to throw pucks from the point, and winning offensive zone face-offs will be key. It's the time of year when these little things really matter.
Sidney Crosby has a face-off winning percentage of 48.1 this season while Auston Matthews has a face-off winning percentage of 46.9. Obviously, both will be at the dots for key face-offs Saturday night. The man who wins this battle could give his team a better shot at victory.
3. The Islanders vs. Devils
Yes, it still matters what the New York Islanders do Saturday night in New Jersey. A win over the Devils keeps their slim playoff chances alive. That game gets underway an hour before the Leafs and Penguins do, so keep an eye on that score as you watch the Leafs try not to lose their grip on a postseason berth.
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