Mi casa es su casa: Toronto 4, Pittsburgh 3

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 13: Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps his eyes on the puck as it goes through the goal crease against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 13 2010 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

A large portion of this game was ugly, but the Penguins completely controlled play for about 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, complete control over even a third of a game doesn't necessarily make for a positive outcome.  Hit the jump for game details.

This game started with a lot of nothing, back and forth play, until the Maple Leafs extended their streak of scoring the first goal in Pittsburgh to six games when Colton Orr of all people deflected a Luke Schenn shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to open the scoring at 5:18 of the first period.

Chris Kunitz tied the game on a similar out-of-the-blue deflection from the other side of the net on a shot from Evgeni Malkin in the last minute of a double minor for highsticking on the aforementioned Schenn.  This particular power play looked as if it was going to be the same old power play from the first three games, all passing and no shooting.  Essentially, it still was:  the power play lasted about 3 minutes and managed one shot that just so happened to find its way through players and into the net.

The Maple Leafs continued to stifle the Penguins' offense with blocked shot after blocked shot until Maxime Talbot picked up some garbage by the side of the goal at 17:33 of the first period, making the score 2-1, and that's how the period ended.

The second period continued with Maple Leafs blocking everything in sight, but the Penguins kept shooting like their lives depended on it.  Unfortunately, extracurricular pushing and shoving resulted in a highsticking call on Eric Tangradi, and the Leafs cashed in when Clarke MacArthur tipped in a pass from Tomas Kaberle.  Another scrum directly after the next whistle, another penalty, and another power play goal, this time by Francois Beauchemin, again extending the list of players who have scored at least one goal this season before Sidney Crosby.

Deryk Engelland decided to mix things up by relieving Eric Godard of his duty of taking on offensive powerhouse Colton Orr.  Despite this apparently insane maneuver given Orr's fighting size and fighting prowess, Engelland succeeded in dropping Orr with a stout right jab after some back-and-forth early on.

Clarke MacArthur picked up his second goal of the game on a one-timer off a cross-crease pass from Mikhail Grabovski at 10:30 of the second period.  At this point of the game, it looked like the defense had decided to take a night off, as Fleury was hung out to dry repeatedly.

There was hope when Malkin was awarded a penalty shot late in the second period, but then we remembered it was Malkin.  Even though Jonas Gustavsson is notoriously bad at breakaways and shootouts and Malkin had him dead to rights, Malkin managed to miss the net with his shot, and so the period would have ended if not for Sidney Crosby undressed Gustavsson with less than a minute to go, making the score 4-3.

The third period began uneventfully although the Penguins controlled play, picked up a power play for delay of game on MacArthur, and yet again failed to score.  It began to become clear halfway through the period that the Maple Leafs were playing only to hold their one-goal lead.

Unfortunately, they barely did hang onto their lead even through a ridiculous onslaught in the last few minutes of the game.

Shots by period:

 

  • Period the first:  Pittsburgh 5, Toronto 7.  Both dangerous shots for Pittsburgh found twine, while one of the three Toronto shots from the same area turned into a goal.
  • Period the second:  Pittsburgh 11, Toronto 5.  Pittsburgh had 8 shots in the critical goal-scoring area, and only one turned into a goal.  Two of Toronto's shots were in the danger zone, and they both ended up as goals.  (The Beauchemin goal came from 45.6 feet away.)
  • Period the third:  Pittsburgh 9, Toronto 2.  Seven of the Pittsburgh shots were dangerous, and none of the Toronto shots were.  No goals were scored in the period.
This is only the third time in the history of the franchise that the team has lost its first three home games.  The other years were 1983, 2001, and 2005.  That doesn't bode particularly well at all.

 

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