Penguins at Maple Leafs - 10-26-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-There's a cliche in hockey about the best way to forget about a bad loss it to play right away. Frankly, a lobotomy might be the only way to forget about the mess of a loss the Penguins were involved in last night, but this is a great opportunity for them to get past last night's game.

-The "big" news of the day is the return of Matt D'Agostini. Dan Bylsma said he will play tonight after being removed from long-term injured reserve. He had been nursing what was believed to be a hip ailment since the preseason. Based on some pregame comments from Dan Bylsma, it appears he'll get a chance on Evgeni Malkin's right wing.

-We're eager to see this in action. Chuck Kobasew seemed like a good fit for that line in the absences of Beau Bennett and James Neal. Presumably, he could have functioned as the "Chris Kunitz" of that line taking on a lot of the forechecking duties as the F1 forward. But the results just haven't been there. That line has been pretty flat much of the season, especially with Kobasew.

-We're not sure how well D'Agostini will mesh with Malkin and Jussi Jokinen, but the bar hasn't been set terribly high by Kobasew. D'Agostini is a skater and a shooter. He seems like a more creative but less rugged version of Tyler Kennedy.

-It'll be curious to see Kobasew is moved to the second line or if the team sticks with Jayson Megna on the third line's right wing. Megna was okay last night and drew a penalty. And don't underestimate the importance of drawing penalties to the coaching staff.

-Kobasew displayed a lot more chemistry with Brandon Sutter than he did with Malkin.

-The combination of another strong game last night and the presence of some tougher elements on Toronto's roster such as Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren cements Deryk Engelland place in the lineup tonight as a forward.

-The Maple Leafs are a lot like the Islanders in that they offer speed. Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri and others will make the Penguins skate the entire ice.

-Unlike the Islanders, the Maple Leafs have a deep blue line. The Penguins won't have nearly as much free space or scoring chances tonight.

-The Maple Leafs defense has a lot of big bodies but not a ton of speed. Every defenseman expected to play tonight is 6-foot-1 or bigger. Conversely, every Penguins defenseman expected to play tonight is 6-foot-2 or smaller.

-With the last change after faceoffs as the home team, we're curious to see how Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle matches up against the Penguins' top line of Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. As we've said before, the defensemen who have the best success against Crosby and company are those who can skate in quick bursts like the Islanders' Andrew MacDonald or the Canadien's Josh Gorges. We're not sure if the Maple Leafs have that on this roster.

-We're eager to see Dave Bolland. He was valuable player for the Blackhawks' recent success and was moved to Toronto in a salary cap move. He seems to have added an extra intangible element to the Maple Leafs. He scores important goals, plays solid defense and if nothing else, he makes the Maple Leafs more aggravating to play against.

-The Maple Leafs are coming off t heir own rotten loss last night in Columbus. Presumably, they'll have a sense of urgency as well. This might be a "weathering the storm" type of first period for the Penguins.

-Toronto will start James Reimer in net tonight after he sat for three games. He was hit in the head accidentally by teammate Josh Leivo Oct. 17. It'll be interested to see if he'll have to combat any rustiness.

-The Penguins will be catching a break tonight as Joffrey Lupul is doubtful to play due to a foot injury. He has a pretty respectable history against the Penguins with 18 points in 22 career games against them.

-Another late break for the Penguins. Tyler Bozak, the team's top center, is out as well due to a "lower-body" ailment.

-This has nothing to do with anything relevant, but we stumbled across this funny hockey card from early in ex-Penguins star Alex Kovalev's career:

-Regardless of anything else, the Penguins need to kick start the power play. It's 1 for its past 20.

-The Maple Leafs' reconfigured lines and defensive pairings:

-The Penguins starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Dustin Jeffrey and Jayson Megna.

-Kobasew will play on the third line.

-The Maple Leafs' starters are Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, Mason Raymond, Carl Gunnarsson, Dion Phaneuf, and James Reimer.

-Their scratches are Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul.


18:55: D'Agostini feeds a little pass from the slot to Jokinen in the right circle. Jokinen lifts a wrister which Reimer rejects.

18:09: Carter Ashton tries to tuck in a backhanded wraparound from the right of the cage. Fleury holds it out.

17:16: Troy Bodie uncorks a heavy slapper from the right half wall. Fleury snags it.

15:13: Deep on the left wing, Kris Letang deals a pass to Tanner Glass to the left of the cage. Glass chops a backhander wide of the cage.

14:21: Olli Maatta whacks a slapper from the left point. Reimer steers it away.

13:50: Paul Martin pinches in on the right wing with the puck on his forehand. He flips it to his backhand and lifts a wrister. Reimer kicks it away.

13:45: A slapper by Brooks Orpik from the left point hits a body in front. Paul Ranger is called for interference against the great Joe Vitale in the slot.. Crosby, Malkin, Letang Martin and Kuntiz take the ice.

13:34: Letang rips a wrister from the right point. Phaneuf blocks it. McClement chips it up ice to James van Riemsdyk in the neutral zone. van Riemsdyk gets a step on Martin and snaps off a tricky wrister which Fleury punches away with is blocker. Letang skates it out of danger.

13:17: Letang whacks a slapper from the right point. Reimer punches it away with his blocker.

13:08: The Penguins score their first power play goal since ... R.I.P.D. was still in theaters. We think Taking a pass from Martin below the goal line, Malkin roams behind the net and deal a pass to Letang who sneaks into the right circle. Letang one-touches a shot by the right leg of Reimer on the far side. What a sneaky play by Letang. Malkin and Martin get assists. Penguins 1-0.

11:02: Off a backhanded pass by Crosby, Maatta booms a one-timer from the right point. Reimer kicks it out.

10:37: The Maple Leafs will have a chance to tie it up as Crosby tripped up Mason Raymond along the left wing wall of the Penguins' zone. Sutter Craig Adams, Martin and Brooks Orpik take the ice.

9:27: Nazem Kadri rips a heavy wrister from the slot on net. Fleury fights it off.

8:56: Jake Gardiner corrals a puck at the left point, surveys the ice and snaps off a wrister. Clarkson appears to re-direct it wide to the far side.

8:37: The Crosby minor expires. The Maple Leafs had a few solid chances with that power play.

8:26: A wrister by Ranger from the center point is blocked.

8:01: Play is halted as a scrum develops at the Penguins' blue line. Kessel is called for slashing while Jokinen is nabbed for roughing. Four on four for two minutes.

7:34: Officials are calling this tight. Malkin is sent off for hooking rookie Morgan Reilly in the Toronto zone.
The Maple Leafs will have a four-on-three power-play for 1:33. Adams, Sutter and Orpik take the ice.

6:56: Kadri controls a puck above the left circle and releases a wrister wide to the far side.

6:44: Bolland chops a slap pass from the right circle but Adams reaches in with a stick and deflects it out of play. The Maple Leafs call a timeout to get organized.

6:10: Sutter backhand chops a loose puck from his own right wing wall down ice to kill off the rest of the minors to Kessel and Jokinen.

5:37: Clarkson chops a backhander at the cage from the left of the blue paint. Fleury smothers it to freeze play.

5:34: The Malkin minor is killed. The Penguins dodged one there.

5:09: Another penalty. Carl Gunnarsson is sent off for hooking Kunitz. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.

4:49: Off a feed from Martin, Letang whacks a one-timer from the left half wall. Reimer stops it initially and smothers the rebound.

4:44: Malkin kneels down and rips a wicket one-timer which catches a piece of Reimer and deflects out of play. It appears to have damaged Reimer's mask a bit. He skates to the bench and has an equipment manager attend to his lid.

4:07: Off a feed from Malkin, Kunitz lifts a wrister from the right circle. Reimer fights it off.

3:44: Malkin fires a spinning one-timer from the slot. Reimer kicks it out with his right leg. Before Crosby can clean up the rebound, Raymond pokes it away.

3:37: From center point, Martin deals a feed to Letang int he right circle. Letang releases another big one-timer which Reimer kicks out.

3:27: Another error by Letang leads to an opposing goal. Letang make a brutal turnover as he flings a pass to Malkin from the left point. Phaneuf steal sit and slap passes the puck up ice to Bolland in the neutral zone. Bolland takes the pass, enters the offensive zone on a partial breakaway and booms a slapper from the top of the right circle by the blocker of Fleury to tie the game. What an ugly goal to allow. Phaneuf gets the only assist. Letang could claim one. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 1.

2:27: Colton Orr rips a wrister from the right circle. Fleury eats it up.

2:03: Kobasew chips a wrister on net from the right wing. Reimer steers it away.

1:12: Off a drop pass by Malkin, Adams booms a slapper from the right wing. Reimer kicks it out.

0:16: McLaren chips a puck into the offensive zone and play is blown dead. Engelland (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) challenges him to a fight. McLaren (6-foot-5, 231 pounds) uses his superior size to land some overhead rights. Engelland gets one good right in but McLaren won that fight. As that was going on, Scuderi left the ice with assistance from athletic trainer Chris Stewart. A replay shows him getting mashed into the boards by Scuderi. It looked like Scuderi's left leg got caught underneath him as he fell off the boards.

0:00: End of period. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 1.


-Kris Letang is pretty hit or miss. He either creates a goal on a beautiful play or does something that just blows up on him and the team.

-Watching him shoot into traffic makes you appreciate Sergei Gonchar's subtle ability to find shooting lanes.

-James Reimer was outstanding and he had to be. The Penguins put a lot of rubber on net.

-We're not sure what to say about the power play. It looked fantastic on one sequence and was a mess on another.

-D'Agostini looked okay for someone who has been out of the lineup for over three weeks. He skated well and had a little chemistry with Malkin and Jokinen. He has 3:24 of ice time on six shifts.

-The Penguins lead in shots on net, 15-13.

-The Maple Leafs have a 26-25 edge in shot attempts.

-Phaneuf leads the game with 8:38 of ice time.

-Letang is right behind him with 8:37.

-The Maple Leafs have a 13-11 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).

-Sutter is 5 for 6 (83 percent).

-Jay McClement is 5 for 8 (63 percent).

-Orpik and Phaneuf each lead the game with three blocked shots.


20:00: Maatta is taking the ice with Letang as Scuderi is absent.

17:51: Glass has a chance in the slot off a feed by Sutter but Kessel breaks it up before Glass chance put the puck on his forehand.

15:10: Reilly flings a wrister from the left point wide to the near side.

14:15: Wow. Just wow. Kaderi chops a shot from the right circle but has it partially blocked by Maatta. van Riemsdyk picks up the loose puck and tries to tuck in a backhander. As he lifts the puck, Fleury stretches to his right and snags it with a dazzling glove save.

13:57: Phaneuf booms a one-timer from the right point. Fleury kicks it out with his right leg.

13:26: A little wrister by Crosby from in tight is kicked out by Reimer.

12:01: Maatta cranks a slapper form the right point which is blocked away.  It looks like Engelland and Matta are paired up now.

11:28: On a partial two-on-one, Sutter lifts a wrister from the right circle to the far side. Reimer punches it away.

11:13: Phaneuf takes a pass at the right point and shows a slapper. He pulls it down then releases a wrister which Fleury fights off.

11:01: Adams backhand flings a shot from the left wing. Reimer bobbles the puck as it his off his mask. The great Joe Vitale, Dupus and Adams crash in for the rebound but Reimer holds it out.

10:35: The great Joe Vitale hustles up the right wing, fends off Carl Gunnarsson and daels a pass by Jake Gardiner to Dupuis sneaking in off the left wing. Dupuis taps the puck on net. Reimer reads the play all the way and kicks it out with his left leg. Wow what a save!

10:13: Reimer is tuned in. From the left half wall, Kunitz sneaks a cross-ice pass to Crosby below the right circle. Crosby whacks a one-timer which Reimer slides to his right and fights off.

10:06: Maatta floats a wrister from the left point. Reimer fights it off. D'Agostini digs for a rebound and is tackled by Bolland. That's two minutes for cross checking. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.

9:01: Kadri lifts a wrister from the left wing high of the cage.

8:28: Off some fancy passing by Crosby and Malkin, Letang rips a wrister from the slot wide of the cage.

8:17: D'Agostini lifts a wrister from the left circle. Reimer fights it off with his glove hand but allows a big rebound. Maatta follows up on the puck and whips a backhander wide of the open cage.

8:10: Niskanen snaps off a wrister from the left point. D'Agostinin re-directs it on net. Reimer gloves it.

5:58: Off a feed by Jokinen from the right corner of the Toronto zone, D'Agostini lifts a wrister from the right circle. Reimer gloves it.

4:33: Racing up ice, the great Joe Vitale lifts a wrister from the right wing. Reimer eats it up.

3:33: Gunnarsson booms a slapper from above the left circle. It gets blocke dinf ront.

2:18: Officials are not calling things quite as tightly this period. Root Sports just showed two replays of Clarkson getting away with potential diving and holding calls.

1:47: Sutter gets away with a trip on Ashton in front of the Penguins' bench.

0:52: Kunitz dances in off the right wing and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Reimer fights it off. Before Dupuis can get to the rebound, Cody Franson pokes it away.

0:40: Taking a pass in the right circle, Raymond rips a wrister on the near side. Fleury snags it with a glove.

0:00: End of period. As the horn sounds, Malkin gives Gunnarsson a slight shove a scrum develops but nothing comes of it. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 1.


-To our knowledge, there still hasn't been an update on Scuderi's status.

-The Penguins quietly controlled that period. They had the bulk of offensive chances and kept the puck int he offensive zone most of the period.

-The Jokinen-Malkin-D'Agostini line created a quite a few things.

-The story of that period was Reimer. He was tested A LOT and turned away everything he saw (and even a few things he didn't see).

-Fleury came through with a few tough saves too.

-The great Joe Vitale has created a few things with pure and simple speed.

-The Maple Leafs' better offensive players such as Kadri and van Riemsdyk were quiet that period.

-The Penguins lead in shots on net, 31-17.

-The Penguins have a 53-37 lead in attempted shots.

-Dupuis, Kunitz, Sutter and Letang each lead the game with four shots.

-van Riemsdyk leads the Maple Leafs with three shots.

-Letang leads the game with 16:52 of ice time.

-Phaneuf is right behind him with 16:41.

-The Maple Leafs have a 27-21 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).

-McCLement is 9 for 14 (64 percent).

-Sutter is 6 for 9 (67 percent).

-Phaneuf and Gunnarsson each lead the game with four blocked shots.

-Orpik leads the game with three blocked shots.


19:38: After Letang ices the puck, the Maple Leafs win an offensive zone faceoff and Raymond lifts a quick wrister which Fleury fends off.

18:34: The Maple Leafs turn defense into offense. Off an offensive zone turnover by Malkin, van Riemsdyk pushes it back through the neutral zone in transition. He deals to Kessel on the right wing, Kessel snaps off a pass to Kadri sneaking in off the left wing. Fleury challenges with a poke check but Kadri is able to flip the puck to his backhand and lifts a shot into the open cage. A great transition play by Toronto. Kessel and van Riemsdyk get assists. Maple Leafs 2-1.

17:36: McLaren floats a wrister from the left circle through traffic. Fleury fends it off.

17:17: D'Agostini forces Ranger into a turnover in the Toronto right wing corner. That results in a few chances in tight for Adams and the great Joe Vitale. Reimer holds them at bay.

16:38: Crosby sneaks up the right wing and snaps off a wrister which Reimer fights off.

16:17: A wrister by Raymond from the right wing is fought off by Fleury.

15:04: Kadri has a chance on the right wing but before he can shoot it, Malkin backchecks and knocks it off his stick. The puck slides in on net where Fleury smothers it.

 14:17: Malkin races in off the right wing towards the Toronto slot but is dropped hard by Franson and loses the puck.

12:44: Ranger chips a wrister from teh right wing on net. Fleury kicks it out.

12:19: A slapper by Ranger from the right point is wide on the near side.

11:58: Niskanen snaps off a wrister from the right half wall wide to the far side.

11:31: Kessel cuts inside Niskanen in the Penguins' slot and lifts a wrister wide of the cage.

8:40: Malkin is taking a shift with the great Joe Vitale and Tanner Glass.

6:41: Kobasew is taking a shift with Crosby and Kunitz. Kobasew flings a backhanded pass off the right wing to Crosby streaking in from the slot. Crosby re-directs it wide on the near side.

5:38: The great Joe Vitale is shifting with Crosby and Dupuis now.

5:19: Off a feed by Bolland, Gunnarsson chops a one-timer from the top of the right circle. Fleury snags it.

4:48: van Riemsdyk goes wide on the right wing, gets a step on Orpik and attacks the net. Orpik tries to slash van Riemsdyk's stick but breaks his own. That's two minutes for slashing. A power-play goal here could ice the game. The Penguins will have to kill this without Orpik and Scuderi, two of their better penalty killers. Sutter, Adams, Letang and Martin take the ice

4:09: Martin blocks a chance by Clarkson in the slot and skates it out of the defensive zone.

3:22: Phaneuf swipes a one-timer from the left point wide of the cage.

2:55: Game. Set. Match. After Malkin has a clearing attempt intercepted by Franson, van Riemsdyk takes a pass down low to the right of the cage and tries to jam it in with a tricky play between his legs. Fleury holds it out. van Riemsdyk is able to control the rebound. He fights off a check by Niskanen and sneaks a pass across the front of the crease to Kessel. Engelland fails to account for Kessel who punches the puck into the wide open net. A lot of breakdowns for the Penguins on that play. Heck of a pass by van Riemsdyk. He gets an assist along with Franson. Maple Leafs 3-1.

2:13: Off a feed by Crosby, Letang booms a slapper from center point. Reimer rights it off as Kobasew battles for position.

1:59: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker with a faceoff in the Toronto zone. Kunitz is being attended to on the bench.

1:19: The Penguins call a timeout to get organized.

1:03: Jokinen chops a slapper from the right point which hits a body in front.

0:41: From his own right circle, Letang tries to connects a stretch pass. He does... but to Bolland. Bolland takes it and air mails a wrister from the red line into the open cage for one of us:

-The goal is unassisted. Letang could make a case for another one. Maple Leafs, 4-1.

0:00: End of game. Maple Leafs 4, Penguins 1.


-First things first. During his postgame media availability, Dan Bylsma said there was no update on Rob Scuderi with was described as a "lower-body" injury. Scuderi will be reevaluated once he returns to Pittsburgh. The Penguins have a scheduled day off tomorrow so presumably, the earliest update on Scuderi won't come until Monday.

-Mistakes were the difference in this one. All four of the Maple Leafs' goals were a result of turnovers by the Penguins, two each by franchise players Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. That's unacceptable.

-Were not sure if this is the Penguins' doing, but all three goaltenders the Penguins faced this week - the Avalanche's Jean-Sebastien Gigure, the Islanders' Evgeni Nabokov and the Maple Leafs' James Reimer - played large. In other words, they take up a lot of space in net and don't give many looks at the twine. They challenged shots and kicked out a lot of rebounds. The Penguins could just be shooting pucks into their chest but all three goaltenders this week played well against them.

-The Penguins created several offensive chances during five-on-five play, the just couldn't bury them. Reimer stole a few goals and they didn't really do a great job following up on rebounds.

-The Penguins didn't make life that difficult for Reimer either with regards to traffic. He had plenty of clear views at shots.

-The Scuderi injury potentially played a role in the Maple Leafs' third goal which essentially iced the game. Were Scuderi available, it's hard to imagine Matt Niskanen or more likely, Deryk Engelland being on the ice for that goal.

-Marc-Andre Fleury was fine tonight. Maybe he could have made a better play on the second Toronto goal by Nazem Kadri, but pinning this on him would not be accurate.

-The power play was ... better ... tonight. It produced a goal tonight which was a positive after being shutout for two consecutive games but it also allowed a game-tying short-handed goal.

-Letang is beyond frustrating when he plays like this. He does something wonderful such as the sneaky play he made on his goal then he follows it up with some ugly turnovers such as the one he made on Dave Bolland's game-tying short-handed goal. He has all the talent in the world but he lacks composure so often. He could be Scott Niedermayer if he ever stayed composed over 60 minutes.

-A lone bright spot was Matt D'Agostini. In his debut with the Penguins, he created a few chances with pure and simple speed and had a little chemistry with Malkin and Jussi Jokinen. He had 13:01 of ice time on 21 shifts and recorded four shots.

-Dave Bolland and David Clarkson offer a blend of skill and peskiness to this Maple Leafs team which hasn't hasn't been present for a few seasons. They had significant roles in this game tonight.

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 38-30.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 64-58.

-Letang, Pascal Dupuis and James van Riemsdyk each led the game with five shots.

-Letang led the game with 25:40 of ice time.

-Dion Phaneuf was right behind him with 25:38 of ice time.

-The Maple Leafs led in faceoffs, 38-32 (54 percent).

-Bolland was 18 for 31 (58 percent).

-Brandon Sutter was 10 for 28 (56 percent).

-Carl Gunnarsson and Phaneuf each led the game with four blocked shots.

-Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin each led the Penguins with three shots.

-Malkin recorded his 350th career assist and surpassed Syl Apps, Jr. (349) for fifth-most in franchise history.

-Fleury tied Tom Barrasso for most goaltending losses in franchise history with 153. No word yet on when the parade starts.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.


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