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Here's a recap of Wednesday night's game by Jimmy Rixner.
What Went Right:
-Getting dirty. Matt Cooke (two assists) and Tyler Kennedy (one assist) did well to dig pucks out from deep behind the net, then make accurate passes to get it to the net. Eric Tangradi didn't show up on the scoreboard but he had several chances that he created through hard work. Chris Kunitz battled hard all night in front of the goal and was rewarded with a tip in.
-Winning possession battle. For the last two periods the Pens took the play to Toronto and out-shot their opposition, 20-7. It wasn't reflected on the scoreboard, but Pittsburgh did show some great signs of the play they want to have. The goals, you would hope, will come.
-No soft goals. Four goals on 14 shots looks bad. It's a putrid .714 save percentage for Marc-Andre Fleury. But none of the goals could be realistically pinned on him. It was the result of tips, faceoffs lost and defensive breakdowns. Any goalie in the league would give up at least three (and probably all four) of the shots that got by Fleury. He takes a lot of blame from the fans, and that might not change after tonight, but it is not deserved. Fleury has given up terrible goals, but tonight it's impossible to lay any blame on him.
What Went Wrong:
-Attention to detail. Twice the Pens lost clean draws in their defensive zone, twice they didn't have great coverage, and, unsurprisingly, twice the puck ended up in their net. For much of the night, Pittsburgh was the dominant team. But the Pens didn't have enough focus.
-Rag-tag defense. Recent call-up Andrew Hutchinson saw the first goal come off his misplay of the puck and would end up a -2. Deryk Engelland, though valiant in his fight, would be a -1 in just 10:52 played. These guys wouldn't be in the lineup if everyone were healthy. But in the NHL that's not the case. The Pens tried to give big minutes to Alex Goligoski, Paul Martin and Kris Letang, but the others have to pull their weight when they go over the boards.
This was a tough pill to swallow for the Pens. They played well, but they'll take no points away from this one. The Maple Leafs, now 3-0-0, played confidently and got some great saves from Jonas Gustavsson when they needed them the most. If you look at total shots attempted it was Pittsburgh 60, Toronto 32. But the scoreboard was 3-4, and that's all that matters.
Max Talbot had to leave the game in the second period after taking a shot, but he returned shortly thereafter. Talbot's status going forward is unknown, but seemingly he should be alright.
Brooks Orpik has a groin injury and is probably out for the foreseeable future, given his past history of groin troubles (had sports hernia surgery this past summer).
Zbynek Michalek has a shoulder injury, the significance still unknown, but he could be on the shelf for an extended period of time given he was spotted in a sling earlier today. Michalek is meeting with physicians to see what is required and we all wait for the exact prognosis.
Jordan Staal is still out indefinitely via a foot infection. Staal skated for 20 minutes before practice Wednesday, an encouraging sign, but due to his IR status, he can't return to the lineup before November 3. It appears his conditioning and health will keep him out longer than that anyway.
Arron Asham is out with a shoulder injury.
About five minutes into the game, new call-up Andrew Hutchinson could not corral a puck that came to him, and it ended up with the Leafs' Mike Brown. Brown passed it back to the point for Luke Schenn, who shot it quickly to goal. Hutchinson was out of position and the Pens couldn't recover in time. Tough guy Colton Orr (who had 8 goals in 329 NHL games) got a great tip on Schenn's shot and beat a helpless Marc-Andre Fleury for the opening goal.
The Penguins would strike next on the power play. After rookie Eric Tangradi got high-sticked to draw a four-minute penalty, the power play stammered through the first part before Evgeni Malkin launched a shot on net that forward Chris Kunitz tipped by goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. 1-1 game.
Late in the period Tyler Kennedy's hard work creating a turnover down low would pay off when Matt Cooke made a great pass from behind the net the Maxime Talbot got a stick on from right in front to give the Pens the lead.
After the first:
Score: Pittsburgh 2 - 1 Toronto
Shots: 5 -7
Scoring: TOR: Orr 1 (Schenn, Brown )
PIT: Kuntiz 1 (Malkin, Goligoski)
PIT: Talbot 1 (Cooke, Kennedy)
Straight off a Cooke penalty, Toronto won a draw and passed it around, and Tomas Kaberle made a terrific cross-ice pass to Clarke MacArthur who made no mistake burying it up top by Fleury. Again, having three of the top four penalty killers out of the lineup hurt the Pens here, and once Craig Adams cleanly lost the faceoff, it was basically academic.
Two minutes later, Toronto would strike again to take the lead for good. "The Great" Mike Zigomanis cleanly won a draw from Sidney Crosby, Schenn passed the puck over to Francois Beacuchemin, who drilled a shot by Fleury who was screened out effectively by the Leafs. 3-2 Leafs.
Potential turning point:
Next shift after this fight, defenseman Deryk Engelland got into a fight against the enforcer Orr. Both exchanged punches but it was Engelland who connected with a heavy shot that dropped Orr. The crowd was fired up, the team was fired up.
But the Leafs scored again when Mikhail Grabovski ended up collecting the puck behind the net and whipped a pass out that Clarke MacArthur caught Fleury on his short-side. Again, no blame to the goalie here. 4-2 Leafs.
Evgeni Malkin drew a penalty shot when Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf took him down on a breakaway with 1:57 left in the game. Penalty shots are not Malkin's forte, and he skated in slow and looked for a forehand shot, but it went wide. It was a huge missed opportunity for the Pens ... but wait...
Before the period was over, defenseman Ben Lovejoy collected a puck and sent a strong pass over to Crosby. Crosby cut in and instantly went backhand for a goal on Gustavsson. 4-3 Toronto heading into the intermission, but Pittsburgh was feeling good about its chances.
After the second:
Score: Pittsburgh 3 - 4 Toronto
Scoring: TOR: MacArthur 3 (Kaberle, Phaneuf)
TOR: Beauchemin 1 (Schenn, Zigomanis)
TOR: MacArthur 4 (Grabovski, Kulemin)
PIT: Crosby 1 (Lovejoy, Cooke)
The Leafs sat back on defense, content to clog up the middle of the ice and hang on to what they had established. The Pens out-shot them 9-2 in the third and though they pushed and pushed, they just couldn't get the puck by Gustavsson. Game over.
Pittsburgh 3 - 4 Toronto
Shots 25 -14
PIT: Fleury - 10 saves on 14 shots
TOR: Gustavsson- 22 saves on 25 shots
3. PIT: LW - Matt Cooke (0g, 2a) - Don't check your eyes, Cooke now has more points on the season (3) than Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin (both with 2). Two assists tonight for the Cookie Monster.
2. TOR: D- Luke Schenn (0g, 2a) - One assist came on a tipped in goal, the other on a nice D-to-D pass for the young defenseman who was also sturdy in his own zone.
1. TOR: LW- Clarke MacArthur (2g, 0a) - Clarke struck twice in the second period, including what ended up being the game winning goal. He's off to a fast start, scoring goals in all of his games as a Maple Leaf.
Sports Network | October 13, 2010
(Sports Network) – Coming off their inaugural win of the season last time out, the Pittsburgh Penguins take a third stab at picking up their first victory at the brand-new Consol Energy Arena this evening when they host a Toronto Maple Leafs club that is looking to begin the season with three victories in a row.
The Penguins started the season with home losses to the Flyers and Canadiens to open up their new arena before hitting the road on Monday to battle the Devils. Pittsburgh left the Garden State with a 3-1 victory, getting a goal and an assist from former New Jersey blueliner Paul Martin.
“You knew they were going to shoot and go to the net hard,” Johnson said of the Devils’ offense. “Just to make the first stop — I didn’t really need to make the second, the guys were great in front of the net. All night, our [penalty kill] was excellent.”
Pittsburgh was short-handed on the blue line after Brooks Orpik missed the game due to groin injury and Zbynek Michalek left in the second period because of a shoulder ailment. Both defenders are questionable for tonight and blueliner Andrew Hutchinson was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Tuesday.
The Pens return home for two straight games and are still looking for Sidney Crosby’s first goal of the season. Crosby notched a league high-tying 51 tallies last year and scored in each of the four meetings with the Maple Leafs.
Crosby’s six goals and seven points helped the Penguins win three of four over the Maple Leafs last year, as did goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s 2.71 goals-against average in the four meetings. Fleury is 8-6-2 with a 3.02 GAA lifetime versus Toronto, while Crosby has 14 goals and 18 assists.
Toronto, which lost five of its last eight trips to Pittsburgh’s old home, Mellon Arena, has opened up the season with consecutive wins for the first time since starting the 1999-2000 campaign 3-0. The Maple Leafs didn’t earn their first victory last year until Nov. 6 because of a 1-7-5 start.
After opening the season with a home triumph over Montreal last Thursday, Toronto recorded a 5-1 rout of Ottawa on Saturday at Air Canada Centre.
Kris Versteeg picked up his first two points in a Maple Leafs sweater with a goal and an assist and also dropped his gloves to record the infamous “Gordie Howe hat trick” and both Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur finished with a goal and a helper.
“I think we played our game and played the way we wanted to,” said Versteeg. “They’re a skilled team over there and if you give them some time and room they’ll make you look silly. But we played a good game and were able to come out on top.”
Toronto hits the road for the first time this year for two straight and head coach Ron Wilson has said that Jonas Gustavsson will make his season debut in net for one of the games. Gustavsson has lost his only career start versus the Penguins, while Giguere has dropped each of his last three starts (0-2-1) to the club, yielding 11 goals in that span.
Giguere hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh since Nov. 6, 2006 while with Anaheim.
As expected, defensemen Brooks Orpik (groin) and Zbynek Michalek (shoulder) have been ruled out for tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Forward Mike Comrie (unknown) will be a game-time decision whether or not he can play. If he can not, tough guy Eric Godard will be in the lineup for the first time in the 2010-11 season.
Expected lines tonight:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Eric Tangradi - Mark Letestu - Evgeni Malkin
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Eric Godard
Paul Martin / Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski / Ben Lovejoy
Andrew Hutchinson / Deryk Engelland
In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start.