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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 3, 2018
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,638

Penguins' Malkin looks to stay hot vs. Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. The Penguins are 9-2-1 at home against the Leafs since December 2010; dating back to the start of the 2013-14 season, seven of eight meetings between the teams in the Steel City have been decided by one or two goals. Pittsburgh won at Toronto in this season's first meeting, 3-0, as Matt Murray made 38 saves -- the most he's had in his seven career shutouts.
  2. After going 6-1-0 and scoring 33 goals (4.71 per game) in their first seven games, the Maple Leafs have scored only 10 goals in their last six games (1.67 per game), going 2-4-0. Toronto has scored zero or one goal in four of its five defeats this season, and is 6-0-0 when scoring at least four times.
  3. With back-to-back losses to the Islanders (one in a shootout), Pittsburgh has a 2-2-2 record against Eastern Conference opponents, compared to 4-0-1 versus teams from the Western Conference. The Pens have allowed 22 goals at home, going 2-2-1; last year's club allowed only 10 goals in its first five home games, posting a 4-0-1 mark.
  4. Including postseason, John Tavares has 13 goals and 36 points in 50 career games against the Penguins -- but he has gone 11 straight games against Pittsburgh without a goal. Tavares scored six times in his first four games in 2018-19 but has only one goal in nine games since.
  5. After scoring goals in four straight games, Sidney Crosby was held without a shot in Thursday's shootout loss. It was Crosby's second game without a shot in 2018-19; he had only five such games all last season. With the exception of 2011-12, when Crosby did not play a game versus the Leafs, he has scored at least one goal against Toronto in each of his NHL seasons (prior to this one).
  6. Since John Tavares' debut season of 2009-10, Sidney Crosby (285) and Tavares (279) are the rank second and third, respectively, in goals by centers. Steven Stamkos (327) is the only center iceman with more goals in that span.

For years, Evgeni Malkin has been the other Pittsburgh Penguins star center, often even when he and uber popular teammate Sidney Crosby are both playing lights-out.

Malkin is difficult to ignore lately. Going into Saturday's against the Toronto Maple Leafs at PPG Paints Arena, Malkin has six goals, 11 points over his past six games and, overall, ranked second in the NHL going into Friday's games with 20 points in 11 games.

Centering Pittsburgh's only line that has stuck together, with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel, Malkin has been a force.

"It's not me. It's the whole line. It's the whole team," Malkin, the league's No. 2 star of the month for October, insisted. "I had a great summer. I worked with Alex (Trinca, the Penguins'), conditioning coach. We worked hard all summer. And a little bit of rest. We had some months (off) this year. I play with Phil and (Hagelin). They're great guys, great players.

"I just do my job. I try to do my best. I feel good, fresh. My legs are moving, and I just stay at the same level."

Crosby has still been a worthy bookend. After going the first six games without a goal, he has six goals and 14 points for Pittsburgh (6-2-3) going into the game against Toronto (8-5-0).

The Maple Leafs had a one-two offensive punch with homegrown young star Auston Matthews and veteran John Tavares, formerly with the Islanders, but Matthews last week sustained a shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him for another three weeks or so.

Matthews has a team-best 10 goals and is tied for the Maple Leafs' lead with 16 points. The team is 0-2 with a total of two goals without Matthews.

"What I find with most injuries is it takes your team a little bit to figure out how we're going to go again," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "It takes the coach a little bit to figure (it) out. To have success, you've got to trust all your guys. Even though your depth gets hurt a little bit, you've got to play with depth.

"We've got to find ways to win games. Just stay with the process and keep doing good things, and good things will happen to you. Let's get to work. We play a good Pittsburgh team we're excited to play."

Tavares has seven goals and 14 points, but has just one point, an assist, since Matthews got hurt.

"I know I'm counted on to produce. It's part of the game and supposed to be one of my strengths," Tavares said. "I wouldn't say I put any more pressure myself on than I do normally to play at a high level and play at it consistently."

The Penguins beat the Maple Leafs 3-0 in Toronto Oct. 18, a game that launched a 4-0 road trip through Canada. Since then, Pittsburgh went 0-1-1 in a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders.

"We think everybody's contributing at this point," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We just have to get better with each game."

Updated November 2, 2018

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