PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins had been lacking a number of key regulars, however they didn’t have any downside with a high-powered Toronto staff caught in an early hunch.
Drew O’Connor scored twice, his first profession two-goal sport, and the Penguins routed the Maple Leafs 7-1 on Saturday night time.
O’Connor, who’s tied for the NHL scoring lead amongst rookies, bought his second and third objectives of the season. Marcus Pettersson additionally scored and added two assists for a career-high three factors. The Penguins, enjoying with out 5 of their greatest gamers, together with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, broke a 1-all tie with a four-goal second interval.
“This group has been very profitable for a very long time,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan mentioned. “A part of that’s that there’s an expectation to win each night time no matter who’s in your lineup.”
Evan Rodrigues scored his third purpose, whereas Jason Zucker and Brian Boyle each bought their second of the season. Mike Matheson additionally scored his first for Pittsburgh, which has 23 objectives, produced by an NHL-most 14 totally different gamers this season.
Tristan Jarry made 28 saves for the Penguins, who’ve scored a minimum of 4 objectives in all however one sport this season.
“We’ve been on this scenario earlier than with a number of guys lacking,” Pettersson mentioned. “When you have got an awesome system and everybody trusts it, I believe it reveals, and it did tonight.”
Jason Spezza scored his third for Toronto, which misplaced its third straight sport. Jack Campbell allowed 5 objectives on 21 pictures by means of two durations. Michael Hutchinson stopped 10 pictures within the third.
“The temper ain’t nice,” Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin mentioned. “You lose like that, it’s not a superb temper. However it’s early within the season. It’s a check for us. Let’s see how we reply.”
Pittsburgh opened the scoring at 11:53 of the primary when Pettersson’s level shot hit O’Connor and went into the online. Spezza tied it 51 seconds later when he flipped a rebound over an outstretched Jarry from the facet of the online.
Then, the Penguins took over.
Pittsburgh opened a 3-1 lead with objectives on its first two pictures of the second interval. Matheson scored on a wraparound at 1:38 and Zucker added one other purpose 15 seconds later. Zucker’s shot from the left-side wall hit off the skate of Toronto defenseman Timothy Liljegren and beat Campbell to the close to publish.
O’Connor scored his second of the sport similarly at 11:01. His centering go on a 2-on-1 hit Muzzin’s skate and went into the online. Pettersson gave Pittsburgh a 5-1 lead at 13:59 with a wrist shot from the slot off the frenzy.
Boyle scored 20 seconds into the third and Rodrigues added a power-play purpose at 2:24.
“(Pittsburgh) did a number of issues proper,” Muzzin mentioned. “It began with outworking us. That simply fueled them.”
Letang didn’t play as a result of he was in COVID-19 protocol. Sullivan mentioned Saturday morning that Letang had a optimistic check, but it surely wasn’t a confirmed optimistic.
Pittsburgh additionally performed with out Crosby (wrist surgical procedure) and Malkin (knee surgical procedure), along with Bryan Rust (decrease physique) and Jeff Carter, who was additionally in COVID-19 protocol. Rodrigues, who usually performs on the staff’s third or fourth line, was Pittsburgh’s high heart towards Toronto.
The Penguins final performed a regular-season sport with out Crosby, Malkin and Letang on April 9, 2017, towards the New York Rangers. That sport was additionally Jarry’s first NHL begin.
“I believe the gamers deserve a lot credit score as a result of they set the usual,” Sullivan mentioned. “Nobody appears for excuses. I believe everybody rallies round it and tries to make a distinction.”
STRUGGLING MAPLE LEAFS
Toronto has misplaced 4 of its final 5 video games.
The Maple Leafs, who misplaced 5-3 towards San Jose on Friday, have allowed 12 objectives over the previous two nights. On offense, Toronto has scored 12 objectives in its first six video games.
Auston Matthews, who returned from offseason wrist surgical procedure in Monday’s additional time loss to the Rangers, is with out a level in three video games. In six video games, Mitch Marner, the Maple Leafs’ main scorer final season, has one help, whereas John Tavares has a purpose and three factors.
“We now have a number of hockey left to play,” Tavares mentioned. “Little question we’ve to reply.”
Kasperi Kapanen was initially chosen by the Penguins within the first spherical of the 2014 NHL draft, however he spent his first 5 seasons within the Maple Leafs’ group following a commerce that despatched him to Toronto in trade for Phil Kessel in July 2015.
Kapanen, reacquired by Pittsburgh on Aug. 25, 2020, hadn’t performed towards his former staff till Saturday due to final season’s division realignment.
In 202 video games, Kapanen scored 41 objectives and 90 factors with the Maple Leafs. Kapanen, who had two assists on Saturday, has 11 objectives and 34 factors in 45 video games with Pittsburgh.
Maple Leafs: Play at Carolina on Monday.
Penguins: Proceed an eight-game homestand, their longest of the season, Tuesday towards Tampa Bay.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/information/8292792/oconnor-pettersson-help-penguins-rout-maple-leafs-7-1-2/ | O’Connor, Pettersson assist Penguins rout Maple Leafs 7-1