TORONTO - Jason Blake saved the Toronto Maple Leafs from a third-period collapse.
The streaky winger scored for the fourth straight game as the Maple Leafs pulled out a tight 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
He beat Mathieu Garon with a wrist shot at 10:05 of a wild third period and the Maple Leafs managed to hold on for the win. They'd already blown a pair of two-goal leads to the desperate Penguins in the opening half of the frame.
Ian White, Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan also scored goals for Toronto (19-23-8), which honoured Doug Gilmour's No. 93 during a pre-game ceremony.
Miroslav Satan, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy replied for the Penguins (24-22-5), who currently find themselves out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
The Maple Leafs appeared in control of the game with a 3-1 lead at the start of the third period. Then Crosby set off a goal-scoring spree with a goal 55 seconds in. Stajan soon put Toronto back ahead 4-2 before Malkin and Kennedy tied it for Pittsburgh.
That set the stage for Blake's team-leading 17th goal of the season. He now has seven goals in as many games and has already eclipsed his total from last year.
It ensured a happy ending on a night that featured several tributes to Gilmour.
The best player in blue and white might have been Luke Schenn, who couldn't have picked a much better time to exert himself. The Maple Leafs rookie defenceman made his presence felt at both ends of the ice just hours after the team announced that Tomas Kaberle will be out four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand.
The teenager will be among those carrying more of a load in Kaberle's absence and the early returns were good. He levelled Malkin with a big hit, held his own in a fight with Kennedy and made a nice play on Stajan's goal in the third period.
Garon was making his first start since being acquired in a trade from Edmonton on Jan. 16 and surrendered a goal 5:23 into the game. He was unable to get his blocker on White's hard backhander from the slot as Toronto took a 1-0 lead.
It wasn't long before Satan evened the score. The Penguins winger skated up the left side and fired a shot that appeared to deflect off Anton Stralman's stick before getting by Vesa Toskala at 9:03.
The second period got the home fans believing that they might see the Leafs register a rare home win.
Antropov put them ahead at 7:53, knocking a rebound behind Garon on a power play after the Pittsburgh goalie had made a nice diving stop. That gave the big forward goals in two straight games after going 16 without scoring.
The building was rocking less than two minutes later when Schenn rode Malkin hard into the boards right in front of the Penguins bench. The 19-year-old defenceman then squared off with Kennedy in the kind of a fight that is likely to be under scrutiny by the NHL at the GMs meeting in March - both players took off their helmets before going at it.
The momentum seemed to shift to Toronto's side at that point, with Ponikarovsky making it 3-1 at 13:39 - a lead that quickly evaporated in the third period.
Notes: Crosby and Malkin have combined for 42 career points against the Maple Leafs in just 22 games. ... Moore and Blake each extended their point streaks to four games. ... Pavel Kubina is tops among Toronto defencemen with eight goals even though he hasn't scored in 13 games. ... Announced attendance was 19,570 - the largest crowd of the season at Air Canada Centre.