The Maple Leafs took advantage of a weary Penguins team and staged a second period comeback to rally for a 3-2 win at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night. It was just the second game for the Leafs since last week’s All-Star break. Conversely, Pittsburgh was playing its fourth game in six nights.
- Auston Matthews extended his goal scoring streak to three games. Prior to that, he had found the net just once in his previous 13 games.
- Jake Muzzin made his home debut in a Leafs uniform and did not disappoint the crowd, delivering a punishing check to Jake Guentzel in the first period.
- Travis Dermott had a goal and an assist. It was the fourth multi-point game of the defenceman’s career.
- Zack Hyman, doing what he does best, drove to the net to collect the game-winning goal.
- Garret Sparks made 28 saves for the win.
- As the Leafs hosted Armed Forces Appreciation Night, Corporal Jeremy Hillson surprised his family by returning from overseas to drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff. If you can’t get misty-eyed watching this, you don’t have a pulse.
Welcome home Jeremy. pic.twitter.com/k03rbf0dxd
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 3, 2019
- A slow start was nearly the Leafs’ undoing. Sidney Crosby got Pittsburgh on the scoreboard first with a power play marker, although sometimes you just have to tip your hat to one of the best players in the world.
- Of bigger concern to Toronto fans was the Penguins’ second goal. In a familiar refrain, the Leafs lost a puck battle in their own zone and paid the price. Teddy Blueger was the beneficiary of Andreas Johnsson’s failed clearing attempt.
- The Leafs power play continues to spiral downward. After going 0-for-2 Saturday, it has gone 6-for-52 (11.5%) in the past 21 games.
In 2016, Rob wrote “Hockey’s Enforcers: A Dying Breed”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.