Kovalev Nets Winner For Pens In 6-5 SO Over Leafs
TORONTO (KDKA/AP) – The Penguins got back in the win column Saturday evening in a wild 6-5 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
In his second game back with the Penguins, Alex Kovalev notched a goal in regulation, his first since being reacquired by the Pens on Thursday, and the only goal in the shootout.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves in the win. He also stopped Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski in the shootout. The Leafs’ James Reimer made 35 saves in the loss.
Lupul opened the scoring with his first goal for the Maple Leafs at 16:43 of the first period.
With 46.8 seconds remaining in the period though, Kovalev scored to tie things up. It was his first goal with the Penguins since Feb. 8, 2003.
Shortly after Lupul had an apparent goal wiped out because the puck was directed in off his skate in the second period, former Penguin Colby Armstrong made it 2-1 Toronto by scoring his eighth of the season after nice work from linemate Mike Brown behind the net.
But two quick goals gave the Pens the lead heading into the third period. Letestu used a nice screen from Jordan Staal to beat Reimer at 16:00 before Dustin Jeffrey broke free from defenseman Keith Aulie and scored at 19:44.
In the third period, Grabovski found Clarke MacArthur open in front at 2:52 and Lupul scored off a rush 35 seconds later with a shot that trickled through Fleury’s legs.
Then the goals just kept coming as Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf turned over the puck to allow Max Talbot to tie it with a short-handed breakaway at 6:34.
Less than a minute later though, Phaneuf made up for his error as he one-timed home a shot to put Toronto back ahead 5-4.
But a floating wrist shot from the Mike Rupp tied things up at 5-5 at 9:08 to eventually send the game to overtime. Letestu assisted on the goal.
The Penguins are 11-9-3 since losing captain Sidney Crosby to a concussion in January. Defenseman Paul Martin missed his fourth straight game with a neck and shoulder injury, but Letestu returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 25.
The Penguins will play Toronto again on Wednesday, March 2, before continuing their road trip in New Jersey and Boston on Friday and Saturday.