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On top line, Dupuis pushes Penguins past Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- The good news for Pascal Dupuis is he was reunited with his old linemates.

The even better news is he responded with two goals when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in the 17th annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game at Air Canada Centre on Friday.

Dupuis has played the better part of the past five seasons on a line with center Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz, but the Penguins opted to use newcomer Patric Hornqvist with them to start this season.

Following Pittsburgh's 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, which snapped a seven-game winning streak, Penguins coach Mike Johnston decided to shuffle his lines. Hornqvist was moved to a line with Evgeni Malkin and Nick Spaling, and Dupuis was back with Crosby and Kunitz.

"Obviously I know where they are going to be and they know where I am going to be," said Dupuis, whose goals were his fifth and sixth of the season. "I know what to expect. Chemistry on and off the ice helps. It worked out tonight, so I am pretty happy to be back with these two guys. We've got to keep going. In hockey you have to find chemistry; you have to finds duos and trios that work together."

Johnston felt comfortable returning Dupuis to the top line and was pleased with the results. Crosby, who had an assist, has gone seven games without scoring a goal.

"At least you know that group has chemistry from the past, and [Pascal] hadn't been with that group for quite a while because he wasn't there in training camp and he was out for most of last year, so putting them back together was good," Johnston said.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Maple Leafs. After going 3-for-4 on the power play in a 6-1 win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, Toronto was 0-for-6 against Pittsburgh.

"We were handling the puck way, way too long," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We were handling the pass and then we were trying to make the stick-handle play where we weren't as sharp with the puck as we needed to be. They did a good job of forcing things to the outside and blocking shots, but we didn't do a very good job of handling the puck. We overhandled it and maybe played too slow."

The Penguins with 2:42 left in the second period when Dupuis tipped home a Christian Ehrhoff slap shot from the right point that was traveling wide of the net.

Dupuis made it 2-0, 15 seconds into the third period when he took a no-look feed from Crosby in the slot and put a one-timer past goalie Jonathan Bernier.

"I have learned to expect those unexpected passes from him, and Sid seems comfortable playing with us," Dupuis said. "He thinks the game differently than everybody else and at the same time you have to be ready for everything. It makes for an interesting game sometimes."

A bad clearing attempt by the Penguins ended up on the stick of Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson, whose snap shot from 40 feet beat goalie Thomas Greiss at 6:32 to pull the Maple Leafs to within one.

Greiss, playing for the second time since Oct. 23, made 30 saves, and Pittsburgh killed a Toronto power play in the final 2:14. Malkin was given four minutes for roughing Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf after Phaneuf hit Hornqvist into the boards.

Johnston said he expects Greiss to see more action through the rest of November because the Penguins have a number of back-to-back games.

The Maple Leafs have been better at getting good starts in their recent games, but against the Penguins they failed to register a shot on goal until 6:05.

"We weren't skating in the early going," Carlyle said. "In the first 10-12 minutes we were in awe of the Penguins and were watching what they were doing. It showed on the shot clock. We were dramatically being outshot because we were standing around watching."

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