By Chris Adamski
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) — Nik Antropov recorded a goal and two
assists and defenseman Pavel Kubina added a tally and set up
another as the Toronto Maple Leafs used goals from seven
different players in a 7-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Dominic Moore, Jeremy Williams and rookie defenseman Jonas
Frogren scored first-period goals, while Niklas Hagman and
Alexei Ponikarovsky also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who have
won four of their last five contests.
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan notched three assists
in support of Vesa Toskala, who made 20 saves.
“We dominated in all areas of the game,” Maple Leafs coach Ron
Wilson said. “We had a great forecheck, a lot of rush chances
moving through the neutral zone. And we played really well in
our own end and denied their skill players a lot of open ice, so
we frustrated them.”
Petr Sykora scored two goals and Evgeni Malkin added his 15th
goal of the season, but the Penguins fell for the sixth time in
nine games in December.
“I don’t know if they were completely on their game tonight, but
that doesn’t matter,” Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger said. “We
stuck to our gameplan, and it worked for us. Whatever we did
tonight we want to continue to do.”
Playing in his second game after missing five weeks with a groin
strain, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 33 shots
before being relieved by Dany Sabourin at the start of the third
“I don’t want to use (the injury) as the reason (for poor
play),” Fleury said. “I played Thursday and was fine.
Hopefully I can learn from this. It just was not a good game.”
After Malkin answered Moore’s goal to tie the game at 1-1 midway
through the first, Toronto quickly struck to reclaim the lead
for good when Williams tallied 62 seconds later on an
innocuous-looking wrist shot from above the right-wing circle.
“When you’re confident and things are going your way, it just
seems to snowball,” Williams said. “This stuff happens when
you’re doing so well away from the puck.”
Frogren got his first career goal in similar fashion and Hagman
tallied his ninth by capitalizing on a Malkin turnover in front
of his own net midway through the second, and Kubina got his
seventh while on the power play with 3:40 to play in the second.
The only signs of life by Penguins came from Sykora’s 11th goal
of the season off Malkin’s league-leading 40th assist less than
a minute into the third. But Toronto was not done yet, as
Ponikarovsky and Antropov scored within the ensuing eight
“We got that 5-1 lead, but coming out in the third we knew they
would come out hard,” Antropov said. “For five minutes, they
were all over us, but we got through that and kept playing
Sykora added his second tally by converting a pass from
defenseman Alex Goligoski with 2:59 left.
“We didn’t get momentum at any point of the game,” Pittsburgh
captain Sidney Crosby said. “We got a goal at the beginning of
the third period but they got one right back. It was not a good
effort at all.”
The Maple Leafs had lost, 8-5, to Boston in their previous game
“It was a really complete game for us,” Hagman said. “We played
a good first period with a lot of shots, guys were going to the
net. The Boston game, we scored five goals and did a lot of
good things, but defensively we weren’t on the same page.
Today, we wanted to respond by playing a really good game, and
that really showed.”