Pittsburgh Penguins: 2017-18 Atlantic Division Preview

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 19: Jaromir Jagr
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 19: Jaromir Jagr /
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Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 8: Nazem Kadri
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 8: Nazem Kadri /

The Toronto Maple Leafs went from the bottom of the league in 2015-16 to being the second wild card of the 2017 playoffs. The Leafs are looking to keep up their success and get as close to the Stanley Cup as possible.

Last season, the Penguins won just one of three matchups against the budding team. In the Pens’ winning game, they topped the Leafs with a lead of three goals on home ice in Pittsburgh. In their losses, the Pens fell to the Leaf’s victorious overtime system and was held back by pushing offense and strong defense in a 5-3 loss.

The Leafs are equipped with outstanding youngtsers, like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who have revitalized the overall team’s performance, especially regarding confidence. Toronto will plan to keep this confidence alive and use it to create production against teams like the Penguins.

The Leafs want to keep defeating the Pens- it shows they can get on par with the double Stanley Cup winners. Pittsburgh needs to strike first and push through defense to the net. Start scoring early with dominating plays by the net to shake Toronto’s d-men and Frederik Andersen in goal.

If the Penguins read the Leafs and decide just the right times to strike and when to defend the net, they’ll get ahead. Getting to the net is half the battle, if the Penguins get to the net they can beat Andersen.