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Penguins-Maple Leafs Recap

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
TORONTO -- The Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Ryan Bayda and Chris Conner in the first period. Toronto battled back and tied the game at 2-2 with a late goal in the third period. The Maple Leafs prevailed, 3-2, in a shootout.


Notable players that participated were Ontario natives Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Dustin Jeffrey and Jay McKee, as well as Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Rupp, Alex Goligoski, Mark Eaton and Brent Johnson.

Below was the lineup for the game with combinations/pairings:




The Penguins are in the midst of playing three games in four nights with all three contests being on the road. Pittsburgh played in Montreal Monday, in Toronto Tuesday and will travel (via bus ride) to Columbus on Thursday.

The Penguins finish off their pre-season schedule with a re-re-match of the past two Stanley Cup Finals with a match-up against the Red Wings in Detroit on Sunday.

Alex Goligoski is having a spectacular training camp and continues to play like a 10-year veteran on the ice. His blend of speed, stick handling and calm under pressure are really impressive for a player of his age (24).

Goligoski’s play helped lead to Pittsburgh’s opening goal. The Penguins managed to sustain a long stretch of offensive pressure in the Toronto zone, thanks in part to Goligoski’s quarterbacking of the play. Whenever the forwards ran out of space, they threw the puck to Goligoski at the point.

On three separate occasions, Goligoski either skated the puck out of danger or made the perfect pass to keep the Leafs pinned in their zone. His pass to Mike Rupp led to the eventual score.

Goligoski also made a great defensive play in the second period. A rebound trickled to the stick of Toronto’s Viktor Stahlberg, who had an empty net to shoot into but Goligoski dove to knock the puck off of Stahlberg’s stick. All while logging 30-plus minutes of ice time.

Speaking of the Penguins’ first goal, that was text book crashing the net. Rupp took a pass from Goligoski below the goal line and threw the puck into the slot. Pittsburgh had three players near the crease and Bayda managed to lift a backhand shot over a sprawling Vesa Toskala.

Conner has also had an impressive camp. The speedy winger was flying all over the ice at the Air Canada Center. He converted the team’s second goal after Rupp chipped the puck out of Pittsburgh’s zone off the boards and Conner blew by everyone to retrieve it for a breakaway. Conner deked before slipping the puck through Toskala’s five-hole.

Tim Wallace also leveled Jamal Mayers with a check that left the Leaf lying on the ice for several minutes before skating to the bench.

Goaltender Brent Johnson left the game after the second period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Johnson was hobbled after Toronto’s Tyler Bozak ran into him, knocking Johnson awkwardly backwards to the ice.

Paul Bissonnette wasn’t afraid to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates. Bissonnette fought twice against Toronto (vs. Jay Rosehill and Francois Beauchemin). In the second bout, Bissonnette was responding to a crushing hit that Beauchemin landed on Wallace. Bissonnette immediately challenged Beauchemin and the two tangled.

Staal went toe-to-toe with Maple Leaf Michael Komisarek. The Toronto defenseman hit Cooke in the near corner of the Penguins zone. Staal came over to retaliate and then the duo boxed a little.

Quick hitters:

The Penguins penalty killing units held the Leafs to zero power-play goals on six chances.

Goligoski led all players with 30:15 minutes of ice time. He finished the game with an assist and a plus-2 rating.

Mike Rupp recorded two assists.

Ruslan Fedotenko worked the point on Pittsburgh’s power play.

Fedotenko and Pittsburgh native Nate Guenin each notched a game-high six hits.

McKee totaled a game-high five blocked shots.

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