Justin K. Aller
The Pittsburgh Penguins come out flat and lose their first game of the season with a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Pens home opener for the 2012-13 season.
The Penguins opened the scoring late in the first period on the powerplay with some good puck movement when Kris Letang passed to Sidney Crosby who fed Evgeni Malkin. Goalie James Reimer, in his first game action in 10+ months, wasn't covering his post and Malkin was able to whip the puck quickly past Reimer.
The Pens weren't playing that inspired and in the second period gave up three even strength goals in between taking four minor penalties. Like I said, not very clean play and an easy candidate for the worst period of the young season. The lone bright spot for Pittsburgh would be when Pascal Dupuis head-manned a puck to Crosby who got behind the defense and scored his first goal of the season.
Down one goal to start the third period, the Pens again came out flat, recording just one shot on goal in the first ten minutes and giving up another goal. The competitie portion of the game was over by that point and the Leafs tacked on the final goal with a few minutes left on a 5 on 3 powerplay just for good measure.
The best thing about that game is that it is over. A few random thoughts before we move on to the next one:
--A team low six shifts and 4:27 time played by Eric Tangradi, who obviously didn't last very long on what has been his regular spot all season with Malkin and James Neal. Tangradi's action turning a puck over (though Simon Despres certainly didn't help) caused Toronto's opening goal in the beginning of the second period. The team never seemed to recover and Tangradi only got two more shifts after that.
--The Pens were credited with 30 shots on goal, but not many of them were very dangerous or testing of Reimer as you would expect from those numbers.
--Eight minor penalties. The penalty kill went 7 for 8, surrendering only a 5-on-3 goal at the very end of the game, which is a good thing, but they need to stay out of the box more to keep guys like Malkin in the flow of the game.
--Marc-Andre Fleury got hung out to dry on a bunch of those shots. Never a good sign to let in five goals but as far as this performance goes, it's hard to put too much blame on MAF. No one showed up.
--Deryk Engelland got the worse of a first period fight with Colton Orr. Engelland suffered a nasty looking "mouse" under his eye and had to go to the lockeroom for a while. He would return and try to tough it out, but his status for the next couple games oould be in jeopardy and as a result of this Letang had to play 27:31, Paul Martin ogged 24:49 and Brooks Orpik played 23:48. That's the peril of having a team's prmary tough guy/fighter also bein one of their six defensemen playing in a game.