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Comeau's 3rd goal lifts Penguins by Maple Leafs

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Blake Comeau's hat trick lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

After a scoreless third period with a combined eight shots, Comeau scored 2:53 into overtime by slapping a shot past a screen by Sidney Crosby, who had an assist on the goal to become the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 800 points, and through Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier.

It was Comeau’s second hat trick, first since March 2, 2010, when he played for the New York Islanders. He has scored eight goals in 20 games after scoring five with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season.

“I’m getting a good opportunity to play with some really good players,” Comeau said. “And it feels good to contribute offensively. Sid’s 800th point tonight, so it’s pretty cool I could be a part of that one as well.”

Crosby said reaching 800 points is satisfying mostly because it’s another milestone he can put behind him.

“It’s a nice number,” he said. “It’s nicer when you win, for sure. And when you get around those, you’re told and it’s talked about. Hopefully you get it and you can move on. So it’s nice to get it in a win and can just keep going.”

Marc-Andre Fleury won the 301st of his career by stopping 24 of 27 shots. Pittsburgh swept its season series with Toronto and kept pace atop the Metropolitan Division with the Islanders, who defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime.

The Maple Leafs used a three-goal second period to recover from a two-goal deficit after one period.

Mike Santorelli slipped a pass by Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta to Leo Komarov, who tipped the puck over Fleury's glove 8:11 into the second for his first of two goals, cutting the Penguins lead to 2-1.

Komarov scored 2:37 later by deflecting Dion Phaneuf's shot down onto the ice. The puck ricocheted over a falling Fleury's glove to tie the game 2-2 with 9:12 remaining. Komarov had two goals entering the game.

"It was a great [second-period] effort,” Bernier said. “I thought we came out a little sloppy in the first, but we bounced back. It's not an easy building, it's not an easy team, and they have a lot of speed. We played a pretty good game.”

Pittsburgh regained the lead when Chris Kunitz whipped a shot toward the net from the blue line near the left boards that Comeau tipped through Toronto defenseman Cody Franson and Bernier to put the Penguins up 3-2 with 6:41 left in the second.

With Stephane Robidas in the penalty box for hooking, Pittsburgh's top-ranked power play had a chance to re-establish a two-goal lead. Tyler Bozak made sure that didn't happen.

Bozak scored a shorthanded goal after poking a pass from Crosby past Kris Letang and beating Letang to the puck down the ice. Bozak put a wrist shot under Fleury's left pad to tie the game 3-3 with 3:39 left in the period.

“I thought we played pretty well for a lot of the night,” Bozak said. “I think when you get off to a start like that, you get behind the 8-ball, it’s always tough to crawl back, especially against a team like Pittsburgh. So it’s nice to see that we were able to get back in that game and come out of it with a point.”

Comeau scored his sixth goal 26 seconds into the game. Evgeni Malkin collected a rebound off of a Christian Ehrhoff shot behind the goal and slid a pass through Bernier and into the crease. Comeau, who has been moved to the second line to play with Malkin and Kunitz, battled Morgan Rielly and backhanded a shot into the Toronto net.

“I didn’t think we had a very good start,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “Obviously, we got scored on in the first minute of the game, but then it settled down after that. I think we took lessons from the first goal that they scored, and our power play took momentum away from them.”

Pittsburgh finished the first period at a 14-7 shot disadvantage, which was due in large part to two Toronto power plays. The Penguins successfully killed each chance, with Fleury the key to the second kill, when he stopped seven shots before David Clarkson was called for holding with four seconds remaining on the man-advantage.

“I believe we were inconsistent tonight,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “We had a pretty good start, even thought the shots weren’t in our favor. We had some great chances that we missed the net. We missed some touches around the net. I thought we had the better scoring chances through two periods, but I didn’t think we had the energy.

“I didn’t think we had the speed. We made some mistakes with the puck on puck management; we have to be better in that area. So, in some way, we weren’t sharp, and I’m hoping we’re going to get better as we move along.”

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