The Toronto Maple Leafs were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league this year. The Pittsburgh Penguins were supposed to challenge for the Stanley Cup. That’s the way the script played out when the season began, and now both teams are hovering around .500 in the Eastern standings. The 13-14-7 Leafs prepare to host the 17-15-3 Penguins this Wednesday (7 PM ET, TSN).
The Leafs started the season poorly enough at 1-7-2, but they’ve found their groove with James Reimer (.935 save percentage) taking over in net. Reimer has a personal record of 7-4-4 in 16 starts, and will get the nod again on Wednesday after missing nearly a month with a recurring groin injury. The under got paid in seven of Reimer’s previous 10 starts.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has won just four games in December after starting the year at 9-4. No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (.925 SV%) remains out with a concussion, but goaltending hasn’t been the problem – it’s mostly at the other end, where the Pens rank No. 28 in scoring at 2.23 goals per game. Team defense has been an issue, too, with Pittsburgh allowing 31.1 shots per game (No. 27 overall).