Post-Game Analysis & Observations
Pens rally late
The Pittsburgh Penguins rallied late in the third period as Matt Cooke re-directed a Jordan Leopold slap shot past Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere with just 2:48 remaining in the third to tie the game at 4-4 and send the game to overtime.
After a scoreless overtime, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis each scored in the shootout and goaltender Marc Andre Fleury was 2-for-2, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 win. Pittsburgh won three of four in the season series.
Crosby takes over goal scoring lead
Sidney Crosby who was scoreless in his past seven games, scored twice in the second period to record goals 46 and 47 on the season to take over the NHL lead in goals. Crosby also added his league leading 8th shootout goal as the Penguins outscored Toronto 2-0 in the shootout.
Crosby is 8-for-10 in shootouts this season and has 5 points in his last two games.
Insider trading? Ponikarovsky tips Fleury in shootout
Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury was 2-for-2 in the shootout and got a few tips from former Leaf Alexei Ponikarovsky prior to the shootout. “I tried to give Flower a couple tips, ” Ponikarovsky said, who later joked about the impact.
Bylsma calls Leafs tenacious
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and caused Pittsburgh some problems in the defensive zone. “They were tenacious in the offensive zone, ” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said.
The Leafs were outshot 45-29 by Pittsburgh but were very aggressive in the offensive zone and used their speed to stretch the Penguins defense for prime scoring chances.
Colton Orr, Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Carl Gunnarsson scored for the Leafs.
Role players spark Penguins
Colton Orr scored just 3:32 into the game on a blown coverage from the Penguins and Toronto controlled the play for the first 6-to-7 minutes of the game, coming out of the gates with an aggressive game plan.
Trailing 1-0 early in the 1st period, it was Pittsburgh’s role players that sparked the Penguins opening goal and their last regulation goal.
Off an aggressive fore-check and a battle won by Michael Rupp, Tyler Kennedy found a free lane in front of the net, beating Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a quick snap shot off of a pass from Rupp to tie the game 1-1 mid-way through the first period.
Kennedy played a strong game, leading the Penguins 5 hits and the Penguins also got solid performances from the likes of Matt Cooke, Max Talbot and Craig Adams.
Adams who has not scored in 105 games, had two prime scoring chances early in the game and recorded his 100th career point getting an assist on Kennedy’s first period tally.
Fedotenko see’s time with Crosby
Head coach Dan Bylsma continues to mix up his lines with Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup and after the starting the game with Pascal Dupuis on Crosby’s right wing, Bylsma gave Ruslan Fedotenko a strong look with Crosby mid-way through the game.
Fedotenko made a some key plays, including a screen on a set face-off play that resulted in Brooks Orpik setting up Sidney Crosby for his second goal of the game.
Fedotenko was a +1 and had 16:22 of ice time on the night.
Orpik has career game
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik is mostly regarded for his punishing defensive style but was the Penguins offensive catalyst from their backend Sunday evening.
Orpik set a career high with 3 assists against the Maple Leafs and earned the games No. 2 star.
Letang has game-high 9 shots on goal
Defenseman Kris Letang spent extra attention this past week in practice on his shooting, most notably hitting the net, and while the extra practice didn’t result in any goals, the puck moving defenseman had a game-high 9 shots on goal against the Leafs.
Penguins to move into first place
The Pittsburgh Penguins improved to 44-25-7, 95 pts on the season and are primed to move into first place with tonight’s win.
The New Jersey Devils are currently trailing 4-0 in the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers. New Jersey has one game in hand on Pittsburgh and play Tuesday night.
When the Penguins return to action Wednesday night, New Jersey and Pittsburgh will be tied in games played, following the Devils contest on Tuesday.
*Defenseman Sergei Gonchar missed his third consecutive game due to illness. Gonchar has not skated since Wedneday’s morning skate in Washington.
*Star center Evgeni Malkin missed his 4th consecutive with a right foot injury.
*Pittsburgh improved to 8-2 in shootouts.
*Marc Andre Fleury made 25 saves to record his 35th win of the season.
1. Washington 75GP-49-15-11-109 pts
2. Pittsburgh 76GP-44-25-7-95 pts
3. Buffalo 74GP-41-23-10-92 pts
4. New Jersey 75GP-44-25-5-93 pts
5. Ottawa 76GP-41-30-5-87 pts
6. Montreal 76GP-37-31-8-82 pts
7. Boston 74GP-34-28-12-80 pts
8. Philadelphia 75GP-37-32-6-80 pts
subject to change