Penguins assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of Pittsburgh’s 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
1. First and foremost the penalty kill did a great job, especially when they pulled the goalie and it was 6-on-4. I thought the four guys out there stayed in lanes and made sure that we stayed tight, didn’t get out of sync.
2. Dupuis having two big goals. The one at the start of the third period was a big one.
3. Greiss, the way he played, he was composed. The goal that went in was a bit of a knuckle ball. It dropped on him. All in all, controlled his rebounds and did a solid job.
Sam Kasan gives his three takeaways from the press box.
The Penguins were very displeased (top to bottom) with the way they started the game against the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh was punched in the mouth at puck drop and was never able to recover. The coaches and team said they needed a better start. The Penguins responded masterfully against a surging Toronto team. From the outset, Pittsburgh controlled the play. The Penguins rung up the game’s first five shots and even had a decisive 9-1 edge to start the game.
If I had to sum up the Penguins-Leafs game in one word it would be: disjointed. There were a lot of stoppages in play, which didn’t allow either team to really find a groove. Both teams like to skate and push the pace, but the constant interruptions disrupted any type of flow in the game. The first period alone featured 24 faceoffs. Even during play both teams looked out of sync, missing passing, making bad reads and poorly executing. It seemed like both teams were just a half stop off.
3. Strong Finish
The Penguins were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Evgeni Malkin went to the aid of his teammate Patric Hornqvist following a big hit he absorbed from Dion Phaneuf. Malkin was given an additional roughing penalty for attacking Phaneuf and Pittsburgh was forced to kill a penalty in the final two minutes. The Leafs pulled Jonathan Bernier, therefore giving them a 6-on-4 for the final 120 seconds. It was a frantic finish as Toronto put a lot of shots on net. Thomas Greiss was cool under the heavy fire, batting away pucks and even had to use his paddle to swat away a dangerously bouncing puck. Pittsburgh’s PKers cleared the rebounds and battled for every inch of ice. The Penguins survived the Leafs pressure thanks to a gutsy effort at the end.