Penguins

Shea-ved Ice: Maple Leafs Vs. Penguins Preview

By: Casey Shea
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will return to action Tuesday night after a week-long break for the NHL All-Star Game.

The Penguins were on a roll before the All-Star Game, having won seven straight games. Things were looking up, but some alarming news came out regarding Sidney Crosby’s injury status minutes before the Skills Competition Saturday night.

The news broke that Crosby had suffered a neck injury in the area of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. When that injury occurred is unclear at this time. According to Dr. Robert S. Bray, is has already healed.

According to a TSN report, the Penguins were unaware of the neck injury until it was diagnosed by Dr. Bray last week.

Crosby hopped on the ice with Jordan Staal and Simon Despres for about 45 minutes before the Penguins’ practice Monday afternoon.

There is still no timetable for his return as a third independent doctor is reviewing his case at this time.

As for the rest of the team, they will look to keep their winning streak going when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Leafs come into the game having won their last two games. They are also tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the New Jersey Devils.

Joffrey Lupul is having a fantastic season and leads the team with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists).

However, sniper Phil Kessel is hot on his heels with 51 points and leads the team in goals with 26.

After those two, the Leafs’ balanced scoring attack shows up as seven other players on the roster have at least 20 points this season.

In goal, Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the nod against the Penguins.

Gustavsson (16-10-0, 2.73 GAA, .910 save percentage) got off to a rocky start this season, but has been better lately and has three shutouts in the month of January.

Against the Penguins, Gustavsson is 2-2 with a 3.76 GAA and a .882 save percentage.

For Pittsburgh, their winning streak has propelled them into a tie with the Ottawa Senators for fifth place in the conference. They also trail Philadelphia by three points and the New York Rangers by six points in the Atlantic Division.

Evegni Malkin isn’t just leading the team in points, he’s on top of the entire league right now with 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists).

Keep in mind, Malkin has played in 42 of the Penguins’ 49 games this season as well.

James Neal continues to lead the way in goals for the Pens with 27, which matches a career-high set in 2009-10 with Dallas.

Six other players have already reached the 20-point plateau this season as well.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury (26-12-2, 2.25 GAA, .913 save percentage) has been a workhorse this season having appeared in 42 games already.

Against the Leafs, Fleury is 10-7-3 with a 3.11 GAA and a .892 save percentage.

This will be the second time these two teams have met this season. Toronto won the first matchup 4-3 on Oct. 29 in Toronto

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice

For More Penguins Coverage Check Out Puck Talk With Popchock.

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