Penguins scorers: Malkin (2), Maatta (1)
Leafs scorers: Komarov (3)
Goalies: Fleury (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 26 saves, 1 GA, Bernier (Loss), 58:07 minutes played, 31 saves, 2 GA
Fresh off their first win of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for another two points against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. The match up came with high anticipation, as it would be the first time the Leafs faced off against former Leaf, Phil Kessel.
After a tough 2014-2015 season with the Leafs that would be his last with the team, it was clear Phil Kessel’s patience with playing in Toronto was wearing thin. Run-ins with the media were well documented throughout the season, so it came as little to no surprise that the right-winger would find himself in a new jersey to start the 2015-2016 season.
With the first period underway, it was clear that old habits die hard for the Leafs as it took just six minutes for them to find themselves down by one on a goal from Evgeni Malkin. Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Leafs when Olli Maatta added to the Penguins lead less than a minute later.
Although it seemed like the game could quickly get out of hand, the Leafs proved they weren’t quite ready to call it a night when Leo Komarov got his team within a goal in the final minutes of the period.
The Leafs set to regroup with the start of the second period and had a much better start from the first. Although the period remained scoreless, the Leafs looked to be keeping pace with the Penguins and generated several scoring chances. It appeared to be anyone’s game during the third with both teams having power play opportunities, but neither could find the back of the net and the Penguins skated away with a 2-1 victory.
Former Penguin Nick Spaling spoke to the media after the game about the tough one goal loss. “We don’t want to lose, especially coming back to (my) old team, it’s tough to swallow that one. We did some good things. We’re going to continue to build. Obviously, at the end of the day, we’ve got to get wins and that’s the focus moving forward.”
The Leafs will head to Buffalo on Wednesday for a match up against the Sabres.