by Tony on 12/21/08 at 12:19 AM ET
Can’t say it any clearer than that. No need to sugarcoat it. The Penguins were flat-out horrible in every aspect of tonight’s game vs. the Leafs.
A very shaky effort by Marc-Andre Fleury, several fatal turnovers by Evgeni Malkin and lack of any sustained effort doomed the Penguins from the start.
Conversely, the Leafs came out with all the intensity and all the hustle, and it paid off with three first period goals to give them a lead they wouldn’t come close to relinquish.
Malkin may have had his worst game in a Penguins uniform. Malkin had two passes that immediately led to Leafs’ goals.
Fleury was not sharp, to put it politely. He gave up goals that he thought he stopped but squirted through, gave up goals on weak wristers that he’d stopped 99 times out of 100, and gave up two goals after good screens by Leafs in front of the net.
Former Penguin Dominic Moore started the scoring for the Leafs on the powerplay when Pavel Kubina fired a slapper from the right point that Fleury thought he made the save, but the puck squirted behind him where Moore was waiting for the easy tap-in.
The Penguins came back a couple of minutes later playing 4 on 4 when Malkin came right off the bench, took a pass from Mark Eaton and went forehand/backhand to beat Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala to tie the game at one.
However, a little more than minute later Jeremy Williams got a pass in the slot and quickly fired a soft wrister that surprised Fleury and went in the goal to give the Leafs the lead again, 2-1.
A couple minutes later the Leafs extended their lead to 3-1 when Jonas Frogren got his 1st NHL goal when he fired a slapper that Fleury couldn’t see until it was too late on a nice screen.
About eight minutes into the second period Malkin took control of the puck near his goal but turned it over right in front of Fleury. Niklas Hagman was right there to grab the puck and quickly fire a wrister to the top shelf to make it 4-1 Leafs. A Kubina powerplay goal made it 5-1 late in the second period, and HCMT made the switch to Dany Sabourin after the second period. Not that it made much difference.
The Pens did put a little dent into the lead 58 seconds into third period when Petr Sykora grabbed a loose puck near the Leafs net and wristed it home to make it 5-2.
Any ideas the Pens had for a comeback were quickly thwarted when Alexei Ponikarovsky scored five minutes into the third, then Nik Antropov a few minutes later on the powerplay again made it 7-2.
Sykora scored again on a tip of a Alex Goligoski slapper from the left point to give the final score of 7-3.
- Because of the three powerplay goals by the Leafs, the plus/minus for the Pens wasn’t too bad. Brooks Oprik was -3, Jordan Staal was -2. Tomas Kaberle was +3 for the Leafs.
- Matt Cooke was credited with 9 hits, Orpik with 7.
The Pens are back on the ice Monday night in Buffalo, then back home Tuesday night vs. Tampa Bay.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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