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3 Things to Watch: Penguins vs. Maple Leafs

The Pittsburgh Penguins play the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally won a game, and face a difficult test as a result. They travel to Toronto for their first matchup of the season against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs (7-4-3) are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division, and are coming off of an overtime loss against the Vegas Golden Knights.

After finally snapping their seven game losing streak, the Penguins are trying to establish a new streak with a win in Toronto. Here are three things to watch for in what should be an exciting Friday night contest. 

1. Limiting Turnovers

The Penguins can finally let their shoulders down with the win in Washington. Unfortunately, they played far from a perfect game. The most persistent issue still plaguing this team is turnovers, and some of their best players are the biggest culprits. Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust were both guilty of lazy turnovers in the first period against the Capitals. 

The Penguins need to limit these unforced errors against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs thrive in transition and are a much faster team than the Pens. If the Penguins give the Leafs too manny opportunities, they are bound to convert. 

2. Bottom Six Support

What stood out the most in the Penguins' victory over the Washington Capitals was the play of their bottom six forwards. Jeff Carter returned from injury and played a phenomenal game, highlighted by a shift playing the right side defense in a pinch. Carter looked refreshed after missing several games, and he conjured images of his former self with his performance. 

His linemate, Brock McGinn, also played his best game of the season. He was noticeable from the first period, frequently getting in on the forecheck. He also stepped up and played a huge part in the Penguins' penalty kill stopping all four Washinton power plays. He was rewarded for his two-way game with a short-handed goal that proved to be the game winner. 

The Penguins will need more support from the entire lineup if they want to secure a second straight win. 

3. Captain John Tavares

In the shuffle of the star power in Toronto, captain John Tavares is quietly leading his team to early success. He has eight goals in 14 games played, and he looks dominant around the net. 

After his first two seasons as a Maple Leaf were cut short, he found his form with a 76 point campaign last season. While the Penguins must find a way to shut down the elite goal scorer Auston Matthews, the Pens must also find a way to stifle the also elite goal scorer, Tavares.

The Penguins face-off against the Maple Leafs at 7:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena. 

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