PITTSBURGH 5 – TORONTO 4
The Penguins have defensive and penalty kill issues that are becoming long-term problems, but they sure do play entertaining hockey.
In another high scoring game, the Penguins (17-8-0, 34 pts) came up on top Saturday night, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs (15-10-1, 31 pts) 5-4 with a shootout win at the Air Canada Center
James Neal (16), Sidney Crosby (12) and Paul Martin (5) and Pascal Dupuis (9) all scored for the Penguins, while Crosby, Neal each scored in the shootout. Crosby scored the game clinching shootout goal beating James Reimer glove side as Penguins shooters are now 5-for-5 in shootouts this season.
Crosby whose game is on a different level than everyone else right now, earned his 40th point of the season with his 12th goal of the season at 14:31 of the first period. He was a dominant force in all facets and the Crosby line had excellent offensive zone time throughout the night.
After a five goal night, the Penguins have now scored a league-high 90 goals but all is not well defensively for the Penguins as the team had leads of 3-1, and 4-2 at different points in the game, but needed a shootout to prevail. The Penguins have given up 3 goals or more in six of their last seven games.
Right now they are outscoring everyone but the defensive issues continue, including woes on the penalty kill which have been an issue since last post-season. Pittsburgh gave up two power play goals tonight and have now given up 21 power play goals, tied for the season worst mark in the NHL.
The Penguins are just 78.1% on the penalty kill this season.
Phil Kessel led the Leafs with a goal and two assists in the loss. James van Riemsdyk (14), Cody Franson (2) and Clark MacArthur (7) also scored for Toronto.
Evgeni Malkin who suffered concussion symptoms just 15 days ago, was shutdown late into the third period after taking a hard hit in the neutral zone by James Van Riemsdyk. Malkin looking to avoid the hit got low which led to him taking a more dangerous hit to his upper body (shoulder) area than he would have suffered if he would have stayed up. Head coach Dan Bylsma said afterwards that Malkin was held out of overtime and the shootout as a precaution.