Another Leafs penalty as Ponikarovsky goes for high-sticking.
Crosby walks out of the near corner on a setup from Guerin and just misses the net on an attempt for the hat trick.
John Mitchell lays a good hit into Godard, knocking him to the ice.
Toronto kills the penalty as the Penguins fail to score on a power play for the first time tonight.
Malkin draws a slashing call on Mayers.
The Penguins kill another Leafs' power play.
Alex Goligoski is penalized for clearing the puck into the stands.
Kunitz is robbed by Toskala as he walks in following a great setup by Malkin.
Crosby levels Tomas Kaberle with a clean, solid body check.
As the Leafs' frustration grows, Rosehill gets into a fight with Rupp. Both get quality shots in on each other.
Malkin steals the puck from the Maple Leafs John Mitchell in the far corner of the ice and feeds Staal wide open in front for the goal. Staal buries the puck top shelf. Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 2.
Niklas Hagman puts the rebound of a Rickard Wallin shot past Fleury. Schenn also gets credited with an assist. Penguins 4, Maple Leafs 2.
The third period is underway.
The Penguins extend their lead after two periods, leading 4-1. They have a 22-12 shot advantage as well.
Crosby deflects home a shot from the right point by Malkin. Gonchar gets the other assist as the Penguins score their third power-play goal of the evening. Penguins 4, Maple Leafs 1.
Rosehill gets penalized for boarding Gonchar as the Penguins go on the power play for the third time. They are currently two-for-two with the man advantage.
Great glove save by Toskala on Staal from point-blank range. Pascal Dupuis
set the play up.
Dan Bylsma calls timeout after the Penguins are trapped in their own zone for an extended period after the penalty to Malkin expires.
The Penguins kill Malkin's penalty and both teams are at full strength.
Malkin is penalized for high sticking.
Jay McKee makes two outstanding plays to block shots in the slot area of the Penguins' efensive end. 14:18:
Luke Schenn levels the Penguins Mike Rupp with a solid check.
Crosby gives the Penguins the lead back by slamming home a Malkin rebound off the boards and into the net. Guerin also gets an assist. Penguins 3, Maple Leafs 1.
Toronto heads back into the penalty box as Matt Stajan goes for holding.
Jay Rosehill's first NHL goal cuts into the Penguins' advanatage as he puts home a loose puck. Penguins 2, Maple Leafs 1.
Crosby almost banked a shot off Franois Beauchemin past Toskala.
The Penguins look to stretch their lead as the second period begins.
The Penguins lead 2-0 after one period and hold a 14-2 advantage in shots as the Leafs leave the ice to a chorus of boos.
Malkin nearly goes through the whole team inside the Leafs end before Toskala bails out his teammates with the save.
Tempers heat up again after Toskala makes a save on a shot from the point by Letang. Cooke is again in the center of it.
Lee Stempniak high sticks Orpik behind the Penguins net. No penalty is called.
6:52: Kris Letang
is speared by Jay Rosehill. Bill Guerin quickly jumps to his defense. Guerin gets two minutes for roughing and Rosehill two for high-sticking.
The crowd gives a Bronx cheer to Toskala after a long-range save on Tyler Kennedy
Alexei Ponikarovsky almost banks a goal in off Marc-Andre Fleury
Adams drops the gloves with Jamal Mayers after the ensuing faceoff.
Gonchar shoots through a screen past Toskala for the power-play goal. Chris Kunitz
and Fedotenko get the assists. Penguins 2, Maple Leafs 0.
Cooke and Orr mix it up after the whistle in front of the Toronto bench.
Orr gets two minutes for roughing.
Sergei Gonchar gets good wood on a shot after a solid cylcling effort by Crosby, Evgeni Malkin
Toronto turns another puck over just inside their own zone but Crosby just misses the net.
16:10: Brooks Orpik
goes for a big hit and instead hits teammate Jordan Staal
16:40: Matt Cooke
gives the Penguins the lead by blistering a shot over the shoulder of Toskala. Penguins 1, Maple Leafs 0.
Vesa Toskala makes a save on Craig Adams
at the side of the net.
Eric Godard exchanges punches with Toronto's tough guy, Colton Orr. Both receive five minutes for fighting.
Ruslan Fedotenko has a great chance blocked in front of the Leafs net.20:00:
The puck drops and play is under way.FIRST PERIOD
Matt Dusk sings both the American and Canadian national anthems.
The Penguins and Maple Leafs are minutes away from squaring off for the first of four meetings this season. Pittsburgh's scratches are Chris Bourque and Martin Skoula. Garnet Exelby, Wayne Primeau, Mike Van Ryn, Viktor Stahlberg and Jonas Gustavsson will sit for the Leafs. Sidney Crosby
will start the game between Matt Cooke
and Tyler Kennedy
5:43 PM:AROUND THE RINK (AIR CANADA CENTRE EDITION)
Here are some pics from around the Air Canada Centre:
Left is entrance; Right is LeafsTV studio inside the concourse
Another shot of LeafsTV studio and the Captains Wall
Jumbotron and ice shot
Sights and sounds from around the locker room (post-morning skate edition):Dan BylsmaOn being targeted after winning the Cup
If you want to be a good team, and we want to be a good team, you know teams are going to be running for you, using you as a measuring stick and they're going to be ready to go. We've already seen that this year in the first few games and we expect it tonight. On the Penguins' biggest challenge
Our biggest challenge is ourselves. Early in the season we're still trying to get to our game and figure out how we're going to play and win as a team. We've had some good periods and moments of hockey. We've also had a mixture of ones we were not happy with. Right now it's more of a focus on us getting to our game and playing for 60 minutes. We worry about the opponent and who we are playing against but our focus is mostly on ourselves. On last year's Feb. 14 game vs. Toronto (a 6-2 loss that prompted his hiring)
That was a low point or turning point for the team. After that we turned the corner. That's a challenge in every season. There are highs and lows. That was certainly a low point in that stretch. The boys turned it around after that and went strong into the playoffs. Right now we're trying to keep focused so we don't go into a lull. We're focused on trying to develop a good team. We're not there yet and we know it. We have to improve as a team and that's where our focus is.Sidney CrosbyOn being targeted after winning the Cup
|Crosby always commands a large media gathering in Toronto |
Coming off a winning season, everyone is measuring themselves against you. They're making sure they're at their best. We never really surprise teams anyway. That's something that comes with the territory. We're fine with that. On the difference in the team since the Feb. 14 game vs. Toronto
Our attitude and mindset is different obviously given the circumstances. I think the way we play, a little more of a faster pace, trying to force teams into making mistakes. That's the way we play and our mindset heading in. On if Feb. 14 was the low-point of the season
I don't know for most guys but that wasn't the greatest feeling we had that night. That was a tough night. When anyone talks about that night we have to say it was a low point. We don't want to have that feeling ever again. Marc-Andre FleuryOn if last year's tough start helped the team
It helps as a team when you go through tough times and you're able to get out of it. You can take it as a learning experience. We know more what to expect. On the Feb. 14 game vs. Toronto being a low point
It was a tough point in our season. It wasn't only that game but for a month we were struggling, weren't getting many wins. But after that we had a new coach and new players coming in. Gonchar came back. Those helped us.On playing Toronto
I don't know why but every time we play Toronto it's always a tough game. I think we'll come out and play our game the way we should and they're always dangersous. They've got guys that can score goals. They play hard; they play physical. It should be a fun game.
Although head coach Dan Bylsma has experimented recently with Jordan Staal
on a line with Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko, the Penguins stuck with their usual line combinations at Saturday's morning skate:
Fleury in net.
Bylsma did say that he will not hesitate to switch things up if necessary. So even though the morning skate lines didn't reflect it, Staal could get another shot alongside Malkin.
Appearantley the word optional doesn't mean a thing to the Penguins. Bylsma's declared this today's morning skate as optional, but no Penguin decided to exercise that option. Every last member of the team took the ice for Pittsburgh.
Here are some shots from the skate:
Every goalie's favorite morning skate drill. All against one.
To the right is Penguins assistant equipment manager Danny Kroll (aka "Banker") handing a new stick to one of the players.
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson just finished his post-morning skate press conference in the ACC Media Centre and he made an interesting piont. Toronto had a 3-1-0 record against the Penguins last year, including a franchise-changing game on Feb. 14.
In that contest, Pittsburgh lost a 2-1 third-period lead in an eventual 6-2 loss. Following the game, general manager Ray Shero relieved head coach Michel Therrien of his duties and promoted Dan Bylsma. The move sparked an 18-3-4 finish to the season and the organization's third Stanley Cup championship.
Wilson was asked about his team's success last year against the Penguins, to which he replied:
"I asked Ray Shero when Burke and I getting my Stanley Cup ring. It was our game last year that was the final straw. After they moved, unfortunately, Michel Therrien and went on to win the championship. So I wanted to know when I get my ring."
The Penguins are taking the ice now for their morning skate in preparation for their showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m. Pittsburgh is holding an optional practice this morning.
The Leafs completed their skate earlier today (which was open to the public). Here are some pics from Toronto's morning skate: