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Pittsburgh Penguins drop Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2

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Penguins_maple_leafs_9-24_medium On a night when the Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans were advised Sergei Gonchar will be out of the lineup indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder, the Penguins' forwards at least showed that they can handle the workload up front.  Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora and newcomer Ruslan Fedotenko all lit the lamp, while Jordan Staal and Miroslav Satan each dished a helper.  Malkin tagged one as well on Sykora's first-period goal. 

The Penguins held a 3-0 lead after the first two periods thanks to some work from the special teams.  The first two, Syko and Fedo, were scored on the power play (which has clicked at least once in each preseason game).  Malkin's goal in the second was on the PK, part of Michel Therrien's strategy of using Sid and Malkin as extra threats while knocking off penalty time.

Dany Sabourin put up a strong showing in net, keeping the Leafs scoreless through two and a half before giving up a goal to Josef Boumediene in the third.  Who that is and whether he's good is beyond me - you'll have to check Pension Plan Puppets for the 4-1-1 on their prospects.  Judging by their utter surprise on the Open Thread, I think it's safe to say he's not exactly making waves in the system.  Then again, they could've just been excited to see a goal.  It's been a while.  CORRECTION: Chemmy from PPP advised me Panikarovsky received credit for the goal, a tip-in from the Boumediene shot.

But then Toronto fans had another cheap thrill towards the end of the game when Mikhail Gribovski popped the second and final Toronto goal with the extra skater and only 11 seconds left on the clock.  Pens hang on 3-2.

The good: The defense held up well without Whitney and Gonchar, which is at least promising for the first month or so of the season depending on when Gonch may come back to the lineup.  The forwards didn't mind stepping it up a bit too which is always good to see.  The power play is going to be sick this year.

The bad: It was nearly one of those give-up-the-game-in-the-third sort of games.  Sure, it's only preseason and the Leafs came within one with only eleven seconds left, but two third period goals is not exactly a habit I condone.

The ugly: Paul Bissonnette - does he really think spending 15 minutes-plus in the box per game is increasing his chances of making the team?  And when was the last time you saw an Aggressor penalty?  At least he's taking guys with him and not handing over power plays.  At least that's respectable.  Cut before Friday?

Next game: Toronto on Friday