Pittsburgh Penguins Rally Late to Top Maple Leafs in NHL Preseason Action

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Pittsburgh Penguins Rally Late to Top Maple Leafs in NHL Preseason Action

Newly acquired Penguins' agitator, Matt Cooke scored the game winning goal in the final two minutes of regulation to propel the Penguins past the Maple Leafs on Friday night in Toronto.

I didn't listen to the game, which was supposedly broadcast through the Maple Leafs' website, so this recap is coming entirely from the pittsburghpenguins.com recap of the game.

Recap

Sidney Crosby, who was uncertain if he would play in Friday night's game due to a groin injury, was in the lineup for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury got his second start of the preseason for the Penguins, and Vesa Toskala was between the pipes for the Leafs.

Late in the first period, former Penguin Dominic Moore tallied a shorthanded goal to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead.

On the same power play, Finnish star Janne Pesonen scored his first goal as a Penguin, to even the score at one.

Alex Ponikarovsky, whose goaltender interference penalty led to Pesonen's goal, responded with under 20 seconds left in the period. His goal made the score 2-1 Leafs heading into the first intermission.

In the previous Penguins-Leafs game, I had mentioned that Leafs' rookie defenseman Luke Schenn had an unnoticeable performance. Tonight, Schenn proved that he is indeed NHL material, as he scored his first NHL goal less than two minutes into the second period to give the Leafs a 3-1 advantage.

The Penguins would respond once again, this time from a much more unlikely source. Sidney Crosby set up Mark Eaton for the goal that pulled the Penguins to within one.

The two teams played out the rest of the second period evenly, with the Leafs owning a large advantage in the shots on goal department.

Five minutes into the third period, Sidney Crosby proved that his groin was perfectly fine as he beat Vesa Toskala to even the score at three.

Leafs' defenseman Tomas Kaberle responded just two minutes later to put the Leafs ahead once again.

With under four minutes to play in the game, the Penguins trailed by one goal. Enter Kris LeGAME. LeGAME's even strength goal evened the score once again, this time at four apiece.

With 1:35 left in the game, Matt Cooke banged home a loose puck in front of the net to give the Penguins their first lead of the game. One lead would be all the Flightless Birds needed tonight.

Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has just left the building.

Final Score: Pens 5 Leafs 4

Notes

- Ruslan Fedotenko had three assists for the Pens tonight. He is proving himself to be a much more valuable acquisition than most people, myself included, have given him credit for.

- Toronto out shot Pittsburgh 40-25 in the game. Fleury was good, but not great, stopping 36 of 40 shots.

- The Pens signed Tyler Kennedy to a two-year contract extension earlier today, which pretty much solidifies his place in the lineup. The remaining positions should be filled by some combination of Pesonen, Jeff Taffe, Bill Thomas, and/or Eric Godard.

- Sergei Gonchar received some grim news today, as the MRI on his shoulder indicated a dislocation. The prognosis is that Gonchar should miss at least six weeks, but could miss up to eight weeks due to the injury.

- The Pens will be heading to Europe tomorrow afternoon, where they will play an exhibition game in Helsinki, Finland against the Finnish team, Jokerit on October 2. The Penguins will then open the regular season with two games against the Ottawa Senators on October 4 and 5 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Full recap at Experiencing the Evolution.

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