Toronto 4 Pittsburgh 3 (Air Canada Centre)
Unfortunately I’m in the state of New York, Newburgh to be exact, and it’s been snowing all day and no way to watch the game so… today’s Leaf Report comes courtesy of the Canadian Press and tsn.ca. Glad to see the Buds won!
TORONTO — Phil Kessel picked an opportune time to score his league-leading 10th goal for the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs.
The puck barely touched his stick before he fired a shot past Brent Johnson at 10:08 of the third period Saturday as the Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.
Kessel and Pittsburgh’s James Neal entered the evening tied for the NHL lead in goals. The Leafs sniper edged ahead shortly after the Penguins erased their third one-goal deficit of the game and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made sure it stood up by stacking his pads on a great opportunity by Neal with less than five minutes to play.
Not only were they playing for the 13th time in 26 days, they had to do so without a number of top players. Jordan Staal is sidelined with an undisclosed lower-body injury, Sidney Crosby continues to recover from a concussion and No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury watched from the bench while Johnson made his fourth appearance of the season.
Malkin, the only Penguins star on the ice, had a tough start to the night.
He was in the penalty box for Toronto’s first two goals. Grabovski tipped home a Dion Phaneuf point shot at 11:31 of the first period before Connolly knocked home a rebound for his first goal as a member of the Leafs. That came at 11:30 of the second period and made it 2-1.
The lead was short-lived as Kunitz capitalized on a Penguins power play to tie the game at 15:06.
MacArthur’s second goal of the season put Toronto ahead 3-2 at 3:08 of the third period before Malkin tied it with a one-timer during a 5-on-3 man advantage at 7:59.
Gustavsson was given his third straight start in place of injured starter James Reimer, who is experiencing whiplash-like symptoms. He had a strong night — making a five-alarm save on Steve Sullivan in the first period before shutting the door in the dying minutes — and picked up wins in consecutive appearances for the first time since March 2010.
Notes: Former Leafs captain Mats Sundin was in attendance and received a long ovation during the first period … Sundin’s No. 13 will be honoured on Feb. 11 before a game with Montreal … Penguins forward Steve Sullivan is wearing a No. 3 sticker on his helmet in honour of good friend Wade Belak, who died Aug. 31 … Injured Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby didn’t make the trip to Toronto … Announced attendance was 19,526.
Next up: The Buds hit the road again to tussle with the streaking Senators in Ottawa. The Sens have won 3 games in a row. Sunday night!!!