for this game

Maple Leafs hold on, end Penguins' three-game run

Dec 2, 2007 - 5:04 AM
TORONTO (Ticker) -- After building a comfortable lead, the Toronto Maple Leafs were forced to hold on for dear life.

Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky each had a goal and an assist and captain Mats Sundin set up a pair of tallies as the Maple Leafs skated to a 4-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Vesa Toskala made 30 saves for Toronto, which has won two straight following a four-game skid.

"I saw the puck well and felt pretty good," Toskala said. "Position-wise, I was always in a good spot, and that helps to make the saves."

Mark Bell got things started less than four minutes into the game with his first goal of the season. Off a feed from Sundin, Bell took a quick shot from the left faceoff circle that beat goaltender Dany Sabourin to the short side at 3:56.

Bell equated his first tally for the Maple Leafs with the first of his career.

"This is right up there," the Ontario native said. "Scoring a goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs is a very special thing."

Entering the game, Bell had just three assists in 11 contests this season.

"He's got really good hands and I know he's been working hard," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "I know he's getting better."

The assist was Sundin's 1,275th career point, moving him past Hall of Famer Al MacInnis for sole possession of 31st place on the all-time list.

An odd-man rush early in the second led to a 2-0 lead for the Maple Leafs.

From his own zone, Alex Steen dished to Kyle Wellwood, who led a 2-on-none rush down the ice. Wellwood made a short cross-slot pass to Jason Blake, who beat Sabourin to the stick side from the top of the crease at 2:01 for his third tally of the campaign.

"I played the pass a little bit too much," Sabourin said. "But it's 2-on-none. It's tough."

The goal was Blake's third of the season and first in 19 games.

"Obviously, it hasn't been the start I was looking for coming to Toronto," said Blake, who netted a career-high 40 tallies with the New York Islanders last season. "But it was nice to start a new month, and hopefully I can build on this and keep it going. It's not like I'm not getting my chances, and that's the most frustrating part."

"A lot more relief than any celebration," Maurice added. "He's used to scoring a lot of goals, and it's been hard for him."

Toronto cashed in on a power play later in the session to extend the advantage to three goals.

With Jordan Staal in the penalty box for hooking, defenseman Bryan McCabe unleashed a wrist shot from the top of the slot. The puck hit the leg of Antropov in front and made its way into the net with 5:51 remaining, giving the Kazakhstan native his 10th tally in 27 games this season.

In 2006-07, Antropov netted a career-high 18 goals in 54 contests.

"We didn't play well for two periods," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Those were our worst two periods in a long time. When you don't battle, when you're not focused, when you don't work for 60 minutes, it's tough to win in this league. I was not pleased with the first two periods."

Pittsburgh spoiled Toskala's shutout bid at 8:15 of the third.

Colby Armstrong unleashed a shot from the right circle that the Finnish netminder stopped. But the rebound bounced off Ryan Malone's right hip and into the net, cutting the Penguins' deficit to 3-1.

Erik Christensen netted a power-play goal with 2:05 remaining to pull Pittsburgh within one, but Ponikarovsky sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Sabourin stopped 37 shots for the Penguins, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"Every chance they had to shoot the puck on the net, they did," Sabourin said. "They crashed the net just like they did the last time we played against them."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 2 2
    TORONTO 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MARK BELL 1 (MATS SUNDIN) 3:56
    2ND PRD: TOR - JASON BLAKE 3 (KYLE WELLWOOD, ALEX STEEN) 2:01
    TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 10 (BRYAN MCCABE, ALEXEI
    PONIKAROVSKY) 14:09
    3RD PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 8 (COLBY ARMSTRONG) 8

    Dec 1 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    TORONTO 4
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY 9 (NIK ANTROPOV) 19:02

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 9:32 PM
  • 15
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    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    TORONTO 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 3 (SIDNEY CROSBY, RYAN WHITNEY)
    17:55

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 9:28 PM
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  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    TORONTO 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 8 (COLBY ARMSTRONG) 8:15

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0
    TORONTO 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MARK BELL 1 (MATS SUNDIN) 3:56
    2ND PRD: TOR - JASON BLAKE 3 (KYLE WELLWOOD, ALEX STEEN) 2:01
    TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 10 (BRYAN MCCABE, ALEXEI
    PONIKAROVSKY) 14:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD

    Dec 1 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) NIK ANTROPOV 10 (BRYAN MCCABE, ALEXEI
    PONIKAROVSKY) 14:09

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 8:30 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    TORONTO 2
    2ND PRD: TOR - JASON BLAKE 3 (KYLE WELLWOOD, ALEX STEEN) 2:01

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 8:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    TORONTO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - MARK BELL 1 (MATS SUNDIN) 3:56
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 9 9
    TOR 14 14
    GOALIES: PIT - DANY SABOURIN
    TOR - VESA TOSKALA

    Dec 1 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - MARK BELL 1 (MATS SUNDIN) 3:56

    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsDec 1 7:17 PM
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    Penguins vs. Maple LeafsNov 29 11:06 AM