The Pittsburgh Penguins came into Toronto after a big win in Montreal and knocked off the Maple Leafs 2-0 Saturday. Tristan Jarry stopped all 26 shots that he faced to earn his second straight shutout victory for the Penguins.
The Penguins had been slumping before hitting the road and stomping the Canadiens 6-0 Thursday. Toronto had been riding high, winning 10 of the previous 11 games, before getting stymied by the Penguins’ defensive play.
Jake Guentzel opened the scoring for Pittsburgh at 5:46 of the first period. Attacking down the left wing, he cut to the middle of the ice on his backhand, catching Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin angling towards the outside. Guentzel’s backhand went through Jack Campbell’s legs for his seventh goal of the season.
The Penguins took advantage of a bouncing puck at 17:15 of the first period. Jason Zucker was a step ahead of Justin Holl to win the race to the puck and found Jeff Carter a step ahead of Jake Muzzin in the slot. Carter deposited the puck into a nearly empty net behind Campbell for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Neither of those plays appeared to be exceedingly dangerous until, all of a sudden, the puck was in the back of the Maple Leafs net.
Carter and Guentzel tied for the Penguins lead with six shot attempts and five shots on goal in the game.
Auston Matthews had eight shot attempts and five shots on goal for the Maple Leafs but the rest of the Core Four had trouble finding the target. Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares combined for 18 shot attempts and just three of them made it on net.
Jack Campbell turned in another strong game in goal for Toronto, stopping 27 of 29 shots by the Penguins. Once the Maple Leafs were down two, Campbell made several saves on dangerous chances that could have put the game out of reach.
The Power Play
With 5:02 remaining in the third period, the Maple Leafs had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:49 when Zach Aston-Reese tripped Auston Matthews. It provided a last gasp for the Maple Leafs but Toronto had trouble generating chances against the Penguins penalty kill.
I wrote yesterday about how well the Maple Leafs power play had been going recently, so of course it would go 0-for-4 in this game. Pittsburgh has a disciplined team, and they did not allow the Maple Leafs to generate much with the man advantage.
Four weeks ago, the Maple Leafs lost 7-1 in Pittsburgh in what was their worst loss of the season.
The Maple Leafs are now 12-6-1 and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. They will travel to face the New York Islanders Sunday, with Joseph Woll expected to get the start in net for Toronto.
Pittsburgh is now 7-6-4, currently in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division.
Takeaways and quotes coming soon.
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