Toronto Maple Leafs Shooting Blanks vs Pittsburgh Penguins?

Dino MoriAnalyst IJanuary 9, 2010

TORONTO - NOVEMBER 30:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks for an opening on Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres during game action November 30, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

It'll be interesting to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs shooters have any arms left when they play host to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Center on Saturday

The Maple Leafs fired 50 shots at Buffalo's Ryan Miller on Friday, but the Sabres netminder withstood the barrage en route a 3-2 victory. 

Toronto rallied from a 3-0 third period deficit on goals by Matt Stajan and John Mitchell to close to within 3-2, but couldn't get the equalizer before time expired.

In the third period, Toronto outshot Buffalo 22-9.

Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, who has only one goal in past 11 games, missed a glorious opportunity to tie the affair in the closing minute of the hockey game.  He failed to convert a rebound into a wide open net, thanks in large part to the active stick of Sabres center Tim Connolly, who deflected the shot out of harm's way.

Buffalo continued its dominance of Toronto, beating them for the tenth consecutive time dating back to last season.  The Sabres also tied a franchise mark of 10 straight victories against one team, a feat they accomplished against the Washington Capitals from 1981-84.

This year, Miller is now 5-0 against the Maple Leafs with a minuscule 1.58 goals against average and a lofty .960 save percentage.

"I really don't like them.  They're a rival and they're in our division," Miller told reporters after the game. "They constantly talk about how they are going to rough me up every night.  I love nothing more than to get a win against them and send them an hour and a half on their way," he added.

Toronto's penalty killing woes continued against Buffalo, surrendering three goals on three attempts.

The Maple Leafs have allowed nine goals on its last 21 shorthanded attempts.

Surprisingly, they'll face a Penguins squad last in the NHL in powerplay proficiency. Despite featuring the likes of superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh has converted a league low 14.4 percent of their PP opportunities (27 for 187) in 45 games.

After giving Vesa Toskala the start against the Sabres last night, coach Ron Wilson  will likely give Jonas Gustavsson the nod tonight against the Pens.  Pittsburgh is expected to counter with Canadian Olympic team member netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.