It took a shootout, but on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to overcome a poor performance from their penalty kill to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4. The victory increases the Penguins’ winning streak to four and pads their Atlantic division lead over the New York Rangers to six points.
Once again, the Penguins jumped out to a first period lead the road when James Neal tallied his sixteenth goal of the season thirty-six seconds into the opening frame. The 1-0 lead held until 7:14 when James van Riemsdyk scored on the power play, tipping in a Phil Kessel shot to tie the game at one. Pittsburgh was able to answer the bell when Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead at 14:31 of the period. Paul Martin increased the lead to two goals when he bounced a puck off of Carl Gunnarsson to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
The second period continued to see the Penguins’ penalty kill falter when Cody Fransson wristed a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to bring the Leafs within one. Pascal Dupuis put Pittsburgh back up by two at 13:01 for his ninth goal of the campaign. From Dupuis’ goal on, the momentum would shift in favor of Toronto. Clarke MacArthur haunted the Penguins again when he beat Fleury to make it a 4-3 game. The score remained the same going into the break.
The Maple Leafs entered the final period down one to the Penguins, and it would stay that way through the majority of the period. At 15:40 of the period, Phil Kessel would wrist a shot through Fleury to tie the game with less than five minutes remaining. The accompanying overtime period would not see a game-winner, so we would head to a shootout.
It only took two shooters for the Penguins to end the game and take the victory. Both Neal and Crosby would beat James Reimer, and Fleury would stop Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri to give Pittsburgh the 5-4 win.
With their road trip concluded, the Pittsburgh Penguins return home to meet the New York Islanders at 7:00/est.
-Clarke MacArthur has now scored in eight consecutive games against the Penguins.
-Chris Kunitz failed to register a point, ending his five-game goal scoring streak and seven-game point streak.
1. Sidney Crosby (1 goal)
2. Phil Kessel (1 goal, 2 assists)
3. Dion Phaneuf (3 assists)