TORONTO (Ticker) — Jason Blake’s quick strikes ignited a powder
keg for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Blake scored twice in a 19-second span in the third period as
the Maple Leafs scored six unanswered goals en route to a 6-2
triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov recorded a tally and two assists
apiece and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored and set up a goal for
Toronto, which scored five times in the third.
Rookie John Mitchell also tallied, Dominic Moore notched a pair
of assists and Vesa Toskala turned aside 25 shots for the Maple
Leafs, who improved to 4-2-2 in their last eight contests.
Matt Cooke scored, Bill Thomas added a shorthanded tally and
Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves for Pittsburgh, which fell to
3-4-1 in its last eight.
With the Penguins nursing a 2-1 lead, Blake leveled the contest
just 55 seconds into the third period. After grabbing a rebound
on the doorstep, he backhanded the puck past outstretched pad of
After pressing the Penguins into a turnover in their own end,
Moore alertly fed Blake in the slot. The veteran quickly spun
around a would-be check, shifted the puck to his forehand and
beat Fleury for his 21st goal of the season and 13th in 2009.
Nearly six minutes later, Mitchell snapped a 17-game goalless
drought by wristing a shot from the slot past Fleury, staking
Toronto to a 4-2 lead.
Blake’s bid for his seventh career hat trick was denied mere
moments later, as his backhander was denied by Fleury, who made
a sprawling glove save.
Ponikarovsky and Stajan added insurance tallies just over 2 1/2
minutes apart later in the session to seal the win.
The Penguins claimed a quick 2-0 advantage as Cooke scored 83
seconds into the first period and Thomas netted a shorthander
just over seven minutes later.
Antropov halved the deficit with 7:07 remaining in the second,
deflecting defenseman Jeff Finger’s shot from the point past
Fleury for his 18th goal.