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Penguins vs. Maple Leafs recap: Pens power through, win 4-1

Sidney Crosby gets two points in the 3rd period and Bryan Rust has his first multi-point game of the season as well as the Pens defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs by the score of 4-1.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When I was young, well before I got to high school, my HS football team had a simple but imposing sign hanging off the press box that read, loud and proud for all to see, TOO STRONG. The team hadn't lost a division game in what ended up being 10 years, and rarely lost at home in general. In short, they were men among boys and the sign just read the truth; "we're bigger and better than you, so abandon all hope because you have no chance".

The Pittsburgh Penguins probably could hang a similar sign from their arena at this point. Just too strong a team for the upstart and young Toronto Maple Leafs to stick with right now.

1st period

Toronto opens the scoring with Zach Hyman tipping in a Matt Hunwick effort past Matt Murray.

Shots are 14-10 Penguins, and that's generally reflective of the play. Pittsburgh got more and the better of the chances but couldn't hit pay-dirt.

2nd period

The Pens tie it on the power play, Kris Letang s shot goes wide but the puck pops off the lively back-boards right to Evgeni Malkin who's able to smack the puck into the empty net.

As the period is dying away, Ian Cole makes a nice power move into the offensive zone and goaltender Andersen makes a nice follow up save on Bryan Rust. Unfortunately for TOR though, the rebound skips out to Chris Kunitz who snaps his second goal of the year off Andersen and in the net.

Shots up to 29-21 in favor of the Pens.

3rd period

Bryan Rust fights to lift of the stick of Morgan Reilly and he collects his own rebound and scores on it to make it 3-1.

Crosby strikes with his 10th goal in 9 games (lol) by getting a stick on a Brian Dumoulin shot. Not too much more to do but marvel at his greatness.

That's the last goal and the Pens put a relatively easy W in the books, and deservedly so. Too strong for the Leafs tonight.

Some Thoughts

  • Interesting how coming off a loss (and after giving up more shots than they like) the Pens revert back to the exact same lines of their spring Cup run, all the way down to dressing Tom Kuhnhackl for the first time in 6 games and scratching Scott Wilson for the first time all season.
  • The reuniting meant HBK was back...And they did virtually nothing. Carl Hagelin had a pretty good scoring chance in the 2nd period, and Phil Kessel got a couple of shots on a shift in the 3rd, but overall not all the impressive.
  • Deep in the 2nd period, perhaps the worst power play of the young season for the Pens. They surrender 3 shots on goal, about all generous scoring chances as well but Murray made 3 great saves.
  • Sidney Crosby was 13-3 in faceoffs in the first two periods and 16-7 overall on the night, and through two periods it looked like a quiet game offensively. A goal and assist in the 3rd period and, yep, that's Sid.
  • Kuhnkackl draws back into the lineup for the first time in a while and while he did have a nice shot block in the 1st period, his lasting memory might be taking a high-sticking penalty in the 2nd period. Did he do enough in Sullivan's eyes to get a jersey next game?
  • Speaking of next game, Matt Murray's started four of the last five games, and he's won all 4. His save % is well north of .960. He's played his way into playing some more at this point, and that's about all there is to it.
  • It's really amazing how much better, more visually confident and just steadier that Justin Schultz gets, day by day, week by week and month by month. He's not as offensively dynamic as perhaps hoped, but there's been value in his all-around play, which has been a most pleasant surprise to watch this player grow.

The Pens enjoy a win and now get a couple days off too before gearing up next week for Wednesday-Friday-Saturday on the road for all three.