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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 14th (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (27-24-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (20-25-10), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Coming off a successful homestand, the Pittsburgh Penguins start up a brief stretch of road games with tonight's clash against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Pittsburgh just completed a four-game residency with an encouraging shootout victory over Western Conference power San Jose on Wednesday, the team's third win on the stand. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury led the way in the 2-1 triumph by making 36 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopping all three Sharks skaters he faced in the shootout.

Sidney Crosby recorded the lone goal of the shootout phase when he beat San Jose netminder Brian Boucher with a wrist shot in the third round. Bill Thomas scored in regulation for Pittsburgh, which was coming off a shootout loss to defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit on Sunday.

Despite their recent success, the reigning Eastern Conference champion Penguins remain on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment. The club is presently tied with Carolina for 10th place in the East and is five points back of both Buffalo and Florida, the teams that presently occupy the conference's final two postseason spots.

Pittsburgh will also be attempting to reverse its recent fortunes on the road, where it has lost three straight and seven of its last eight outings. That includes a 5-4 defeat to Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on January 31.

The Penguins will play four of their next five tilts away from the Steel City, including a matchup with the New York Islanders on Monday.

Toronto has been struggling no matter where the venue as of late. The Leafs are just 4-8-4 since January 6 and dropped both tests of a recent two-game swing through Florida, following up an overtime loss to the Panthers with Thursday's 6-4 setback to Tampa Bay.

Maple Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala was yanked after allowing four goals with less than 17 minutes elapsed in the game. Curtis Joseph stopped 17-of-19 shots in relief.

Lee Stempniak scored two of Toronto's four goals on the evening, with Niklas Hagman and Nikolai Kulemin also lighting the lamp.

The Leafs will attempt to get back on track with a four-game homestand that begins tonight. Toronto has lost five of its last six tests as the host, however, although that lone win did come against the Penguins.

Toronto has also won four of the six most recent matchups in this series, while Pittsburgh has lost in three of its last four visits to the Air Canada Centre.

02/14 10:47:04 ET

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