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Maple Leafs at Penguins: What bettors need to know

Toronto Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh Penguins (-191, 5.5)

The Toronto Maple Leafs proved, at least for one night, that they can hang with the best the NHL has to offer. They'll look to duplicate that feat Monday night as they visit Sidney Crosby and the surging Pittsburgh Penguins. The Maple Leafs put it altogether on Saturday as they walloped the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks 7-3, and now have the benefit of facing a Penguins team that could be without superstar forward Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh comes in riding a three-game winning streak, but could be in tough to extend that run if Malkin misses the contest. The NHL assists leader suffered a leg injury in the third period of Saturday night's 4-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings - a game in which he finished with a goal and two assists. Fortunately for the Penguins, they still have Crosby to lean on; he scored twice against Detroit and is on a six-game point streak.

LINE: Pittsburgh opened at -185 and has been bet up as high as -200. The total opened 5.5.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHLN, RDS, SNET-O (Toronto), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (17-14-3, 17-16 O/U): Toronto made waves in the offseason - and not necessarily good ones - by signing former New Jersey Devils tough guy David Clarkson to a seven-year deal worth a whopping $36.5 million. While the Maple Leafs aren't even halfway through the first year of that contract, it looks like an albatross. The undrafted 29-year-old has been an offensive black hole - recording just two goals and four assists through the first 23 games - and is presently serving a two-game ban, bringing his number of games suspended on the season to 12.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (23-10-1, 12-18 O/U): With Pittsburgh already among the league leaders with 146 man-games lost to injury this season, having Malkin on the shelf for any length of time will be a problem. Add in the fact that the league is playing a condensed schedule due to the Olympics in February, and the Penguins have found it difficult to strike the proper balance between practice and recovery time. "I don't know if it's (only) our team, but I feel like injuries and maintenance (days) are at a high level," coach Dan Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

TRENDS:


* Over is 8-1 in the last nine meetings in Pittsburgh.
* Over is 20-7-1 in the last 28 meetings.
* Home team is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
* Maple Leafs are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Pittsburgh.

OVERTIME:


1. Toronto has won just one of its last five trips to Pittsburgh.

2. Crosby has 19 goals and 23 assists in 27 career games versus the Maple Leafs.

3. Clarkson won't play against the Penguins but is eligible to return Tuesday night versus Florida.

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