Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime win against the Maple Leafs.
1. The play of Blake Comeau. Three goals, we got him playing with a good player in Malkin, but that line was really good. Blake Comeau seized his opportunity. It was a great job by him.
2. We had a couple of spotty times and we bounced back from it. Toronto took over in some parts of the game. Sometimes when that happens you can let the game get away from you. I thought we got the game back.
3. Malkin had a nice night. The three points, controlled the play, scored a big goal for us.
BONUS: To me, Crosby was excellent tonight. His leadership and I thought he played very well tonight, very well.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box.
1. In the first game with the adjusted top-six forward lineup, the trio of Spaling, Crosby and Hornqvist stood out the most on Monday in Boston. Tonight, it was the combination of Kunitz, Malkin and Comeau that impressed the most. They set the tone for their team right away with a goal just 26 seconds in and just kept on going. Comeau, of course, got the hat trick and was outstanding in the game. He got to the net and good things happened. Meanwhile, Malkin has just been on another level these past couple games. He set up the first goal, scored the second, assisted on the third and had what felt like a few hundred incredible scoring chances to boot.
2. The Pens couldn’t have asked for a stronger first. They got out to a 2-0 lead, and I think the best way to describe it is that it felt like they were just playing keep-a-way with the Maple Leafs. Crosby told me going into the game that “holding onto the puck” was going to be key. “I think it’s going to be a battle of who does a better job (of) being able to carry the play that way,” he said. The Penguins executed that to perfection in the first 20 minutes. Toronto couldn’t get possession, and as a result, they had virtually no decent scoring chances – save for a few well-placed shots on their two power plays. But I think that dominance made the Pens complacent going into the second. They took their foot off the gas and put it in cruise control, and the Maple Leafs made them pay for it.
3. There was definitely a fair share of negatives from this game, most notably inconsistency and turnovers (Crosby in particular had one that directly resulted in a shorthanded goal for Toronto, and called himself out after the game for it). The Pens could have gotten down on themselves after the Maple Leafs tied it at 2-2 and then 3-3, but instead, they put their heads down and gutted out a win. It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day, they got the result they wanted.