Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Slow Start Costs Leafs

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs



PITTSBURGH --
  Evgeni Malkin and Olli Maatta scored first-period goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins held on for a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Malkin scored his second goal in as many games and Maatta collected his first of the season for Pittsburgh, which won its second straight after dropping the first three games. Forward Phil Kessel faced Toronto for the first time since the Leafs shipped the three-time All-Star to Pittsburgh in a blockbuster July trade.

Marc-Andre Fleury, playing in his 600th career game, made 26 saves as Pittsburgh won its sixth straight against Toronto.

Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby hasn't scored in the team's first five games, a career-worst stretch to start the season. The Penguins are also one of just two teams without a power-play goal this season, coming up empty in 16 chances through five games.

Leo Komarov scored his third goal in as many nights for Toronto, which has lost four of five to begin the season. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 31 shots.

Kessel said he enjoyed his six sometimes turbulent seasons in Toronto where he helped the Maple Leafs make the playoffs just once, despite scoring 181 goals, the fifth-most in the league during that span.

Pittsburgh added Kessel to help bolster an already-dynamic offence, centred around Crosby and Malkin. But he has scored just one goal and added an assist through the Penguins' first five games as he tries to adjust to playing with Crosby.

Before Saturday, Kessel hadn't faced Toronto in almost seven years.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs won for the first time on Friday, breaking out against slumping Columbus as Toronto has 11 goals in three games after scoring just one in its first two.

Malkin and Maatta scored 39 seconds apart less than seven minutes into the game, staking Pittsburgh to an early lead.

Malkin accelerated around Mark Arcobello along the right-side boards and snapped a wrist shot to the far-side blocker, beating Bernier.

Soon after, Sergei Plotnikov's point shot, blocked by a Maple Leafs' defenceman, ricocheted to Maatta where he swept it past an out-of-position Bernier from the top of the circle. The assist was Plotnikov's first NHL point.

A timeout steadied the Maple Leafs, who got a goal back later in the period when Gardiner took a Nazem Kadri pass and beat Fleury with a slap shot from the blue line.

NOTES: Maple Leafs' F Tyler Bozak was scratched against Pittsburgh after leaving Friday's game against Columbus with a lower-body injury. D Tim Erixon, who was part of the Kessel trade, sat for Pittsburgh along with F Bobby Farnham and D Adam Clendening . Fleury is the ninth player and first goaltender in franchise history to appear in 600 NHL games. . Pittsburgh continues a season-long five-game homestand Tuesday against Florida. The Maple Leafs visit Buffalo on Wednesday.

View More