Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-3 loss against Toronto at Air Canada Centre.
*Maybe the most important aspect of the game was the fact that the Pens escaped without any significant injuries. For a team that has suffered 282 man-game lost this season and with 5 players still out of the lineup, it's a small victory. But a much needed victory.
*With all due respect to Sidney Crosby, who will almost assuredly win the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL goal-scoring champion after netting his 44th of the season against Toronto, Jake Guentzel is the hot hand on the Pens right now. He extended his career-long goal/scoring streak to 5 games (5G-3A) and did so with a sweet setup to Crosby on the power play. He's got the skill. He's got the talent. And he's racking up the production.
Early in the 3rd period Guentzel had a chance at a wide-open net, but shot it off the post. As luck would have it, he would later score his 16th of the season on a fluke play. His centering pass went off of 2 Maple Leaf players before squirting through the wickets of Curtis McElhinney. That's hockey for you.
*Finally. Finally. Finally Phil Kessel scored against his former club, and he picked a critical time to do it with Toronto fighting for its playoff lives. In his 6th game against the Maple Leafs Kessel tallied for the first time since being traded to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2015. He made a beautiful play on the boards to maneuver the puck into the circle and with his patented snap shot gave the Pens a 1-0 lead. Kessel was all smiles as the fans booed him. You know he wanted that goal so bad. Good for him to finally get it done.
*Good for Kasperi Kapanen, the former Pens 1st-round pick. He scored his 1st career goal (and 1st career NHL point) late in the 3rd period to tie the contest at 3-3. Nice to see him come through.