Penguins Hold Off the Leafs Late Comeback

The Pittsburgh Penguins held off a third period comeback to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in their 3rd pre-season game on Wednesday night at Mellon Arena.  The Penguins played without the services of Sidney Crosby who sat out as a precaution with a sore groin.  Marc-Andre Fleury also took the night off as Dany Sabourin got the nod to backstop the team.  It was a night for Pittsburgh’s special teams as the Penguins picked up 2 powerplay goals and a shorthander.  But a lopsided 3rd period comeback put Pittsburgh on their heels as the Leafs outshot the Penguins 17-3, and scored 2 late goals.  Dany Sabourin maintained his composure, however, and allowed the Penguins to hang on for the win. 

The Penguins struck early in the first as Petr Sykora notched his 3rd pre-season goal at 2:05 on the powerplay.  Assists went to Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin.  Then at 7:52, just as the clock had passed the halfway point on a roughing double-minor to Kris Newbury, Ruslan Fedotenko said hello to Pittsburgh with an unassisted powerplay goal.  Late in the period, Paul Bissonnette and Jamal Mayers went for a short dance with nothing much resulting from it.  The Penguins converted on 2-of-3 powerplay opportunities in the period and went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill as they outshot the Leafs 9-5.

Just 14-seconds into the 2nd period, Ruslan Fedotenko took a trip to the box for elbowing and set up a Leafs power play.  However, at 1:10 Evgeni Malkin playing on the penalty kill spoiled the Leafs chance by dogging the defense and causing a turnover as a Leafs’ player fell to the ice.  With Jordan Staal close at hand, the two played a little give-and-go with the biscuit in front of the crease before Malkin tapped it home on the empty side.  Malkin’s shorthanded goal, with the assist by Staal, put the Penguins up 3-0.  The Penguins went on to outshoot the Leafs 9-7 in the period, were 0-for-3 on the powerplay, and killed off 3 of their own penalties, including 15-seconds of 5-on-3.

In the 3rd, the Penguins stopped skating and the Leafs managed to awake from their earlier slumber.  The Penguins ended up shorthanded 3 times, and failed to convert on 2 man advantages.  The Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky took advantage of the Penguins last penalty, a 2-minute interference call on Brooks Orpik, to get on the board at 15:22.  Assists were given to Josef Boumedienne and Mike Van Ryn.  Then with 11-seconds left in the game and goaltender Justin Pogge at the bench for the extra attacker, Mikhail Grabovski managed to get another one by Dany Sabourin.  The goal was assisted by Nikolai Kulemin and Jason Blake.  However, despite outshooting the Penguins 17-3 in the final frame, the Leafs were unable to get the tying goal. 

Evgeni Malkin was named the game’s first star with 2-points (1G, 1A) and Jordan Staal was the second star with 1-point (1A).  Dany Sabourin stopped 27-of-29 shots on goal.  The Penguins meet up with the Leafs again on Friday night for a rematch in Toronto.  It will be the last pre-season game for the Penguins before they make the trip to Europe on Saturday night to prepare for the season opener in Sweden on October 4th.     

In other news, it was announced today that Sergei Gonchar will be out indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder.  This will likely open the door for prospects Alex Goligioski and/or Danny Richmond to step up as the Penguins head into the beginning of the season.

2 Responses to Penguins Hold Off the Leafs Late Comeback

  1. johnny2678 says:

    Paul, Great write up… looking forward to another great season. Are you or any Pens fans you know heading to Sweden? I’ll be making the trip and hope to see lots of Pens fans there.

  2. Thanks Johnny! Unfortunately, I will not be making the trip to Sweden. I am envious of you! I have heard of a number of people who are planning to make the trip.

    You might want to checkout HF Boards and start a discussion thread….http://hfboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=23. They get a LOT of traffic over there and I am sure there are people attending.

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