Leafs remain perfect with 4-3 win over Pens
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:09 AM
The Toronto Maple Leafs
are off to their best start in more than a decade. The Pittsburgh Penguins
still can't figure out how to win in their new home.
The Leafs got two more goals from Clarke MacArthur
on Wednesday and hung on for a 4-3 victory at the Consol Energy Center to improve to 3-0-0 -- and drop the Penguins to 0-3-0 in their new home.
For the Leafs, it's the first time since 1999-2000 that they've started a season with three wins in a row. Toronto began last season by going 0-7-1 -- effectively ending its playoff hopes.
"Everyone keeps bringing up last year," captain Dion Phaneuf
said. "Well, it doesn't really matter right now. We're focused on this group and this year."
They won this time despite being outshot 25-14, including 9-2 in the third period.
The Penguins started their home schedule with three consecutive wins for the fourth time in franchise history -- but the third time in the last 10 years.
"Each game that goes by, especially when you expect to win each one, it starts to get discouraging," defenseman Paul Martin
said. "That's something we can't concentrate on."
The teams matched tip-in goals early. Toronto's Colton Orr
deflected Luke Schenn
's shot behind Marc-Andre Fleury
at 5:18 -- the sixth consecutive time the Leafs have scored first in Pittsburgh -- and the Penguins tied it at 11:28 when Chris Kunitz
redirected Evgeni Malkin
's power-play shot behind Jonas Gustavsson
Pittsburgh went ahead at 17:33 when Max Talbot beat Gustavsson after the Leafs turned the puck over behind their own net. But Toronto ran off three unanswered goals in the first 10:30 of the second period to take command.
"We didn't have the best skate this morning, we weren't sharp and it carried over," Martin said.
MacArthur tied the game at 3:01 when he took a pass from Tomas Kaberle and beat Fleury just seven seconds after Pittsburgh's Eric Tangradi
was called for high sticking. Mike Zigomanis
' faceoff win led to Francois Beauchemin's slap shot from the point that beat Fleury 2 1/2 minutes later. MacArthur, who signed with Toronto after Atlanta walked away from his arbitration award, then got his second of the night and fourth in three games at 10:30, snapping a passout from Mikhail Grabovski
behind Fleury, who had no chance.
"The pass he made through the skates there was unbelievable," MacArthur said. "I think the goalie was still looking behind the net."
The rest of the night belonged to Gustavsson. He got a break when Malkin missed the net on a penalty shot at 18:03 after being hauled down by Phaneuf, then was beaten with 44 seconds left when Crosby grabbed a hard pass from Ben Lovejoy
and beat him with a short backhander for his first goal of the season.
But he stood tall in the third period, most of which was played in the Toronto zone -- the Leafs didn't get a shot on Fleury for the first 11:40 of the period. Crosby, Malkin and Mark Letestu
all failed to capitalize on good scoring chances.
"Fourteen shots against, usually you're pretty happy with that," Crosby said. "But I don't think we generated enough ourselves."
The Penguins will try again for their first win at their new home when the New York Islanders come to town on Friday night. They'll have to be they were in the losses to Philadelphia, Montreal and the Leafs -- all of whom left with one-goal victories.
"There's got to be a certain level of execution," coach Dan Bylsma said. "If you don't have it, you can't expect to be a good team and you can't expect to win."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report