Maple Leafs
6 - 5 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Kovalev's SO goal lifts Pens over Leafs

Feb 27, 2011 - 6:30 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Alex Kovalev paid quick dividends for his new team by scoring the only goal of the shootout, ringing the puck off the right post, to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kovalev, acquired from Ottawa on Thursday, was the fourth skater in the shootout, and following his goal, Marc-Andre Fleury smothered Mikhail Grabovski's attempt to secure the victory in a wild game.

The teams combined to score five times in a span of 6:16 early in the third period. Pittsburgh's Michael Rupp netted the last of those goals to tie the game.

Mark Letestu, playing for the first time since January 25, had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. He had missed the last 13 games with a knee injury, but returned to help Pittsburgh snap a four-game slide.

"We'll leave [Toronto] with the two points, and we got them in an uncharacteristic way," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma.

Maxime Talbot scored a shorthanded goal for the Penguins, while Fleury ended with 26 saves. Kovalev also scored during regulation.

Joffrey Lupul lit the lamp twice for Toronto, which had won its last two. James Reimer turned aside 35 shots.

"I think it's just a case where the puck was just avoiding me tonight," Reimer said. "I don't know if there was any one thing where I kind of thought, 'Man, I didn't do that right.'"

The Penguins held a 3-2 lead when the scoring spree started at 2:52 of the third period.

Toronto forward Nikolai Kulemin forced a turnover just inside the blue line to keep the puck in the Pittsburgh zone, and he turned around to take the puck away from two Penguins along the right boards. He poked it to Grabovski in the right circle, and Clarke MacArthur finished Grabovski's cross-ice pass.

Just 35 seconds later, Lupul beat Fleury between the pads during a 3-on-1 rush, giving Toronto a 4-3 edge.

A few minutes after that, the Leafs were in the Penguins' zone setting up their power play attack. But Talbot poked the puck away from Dion Phaneuf at the right point, raced into the Pittsburgh end uncontested, and netted a backhander at 6:34.

But Phaneuf needed to wait only 53 seconds to atone for the mistake. Toronto still had most of its power play left after Talbot scored, and Tim Brent fed Phaneuf for a blistering one-timer from the right circle.

However, Rupp made it a 5-5 contest at 9:08 when he beat Reimer to the upper left corner with an off-balance wrister from the slot.

The score stayed that way through the rest of regulation and overtime, despite Pittsburgh firing six shots on Reimer in the extra frame.

Both teams scored once in the first period -- Lupul with 3:17 left during a power play, and Kovalev in the final minute.

Lupul appeared to score again in the second period, but the goal was waved off after replays showed he kicked the puck in. However, Toronto did get its second goal shortly thereafter.

Mike Brown forced a turnover near the left circle, preventing the Penguins from clearing, and centered for Colby Armstrong's one-timer at 10:31.

Letestu used a Jordan Staal screen to net a power-play goal with four minutes left in the period, and Dustin Jeffrey backhanded in a rebound with 16 seconds remaining to put Pittsburgh on top.

Game Notes

Lupul, who Toronto acquired from Anaheim earlier this month, scored his first two goals with the Leafs. He was skating in his eighth game with his new club...Phil Kessel had two assists for Toronto...Pittsburgh improved to 1-1-0 on its five-game road trip, which continues Wednesday, back in Toronto.