The fourth and final meeting between these two teams featured some good news and some really bad news. The good news is one for the entire hockey world to enjoy – Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact and could return as soon as next week. The bad, is really bad for all of us Leaf fans. Joffrey Lupul will most likely miss the rest of the season with a separated shoulder. Carter Ashton made his Leafs debut. On to the points and probably, a considerably high draft pick.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 30-30-7 and this was a very big loss, personnel wise and game wise.
2 â€“ Two huge saves by Gus early after the Pens kept pressuring with their trademark forecheck. Mike Brown headed to the dressing room early, was favoring his right leg.
3 â€“ Cody Franson also headed off to the dressing room after a slash, and Gus kept making big saves. Geno (Malkin) got robbed by the glove as the early part of the game didnâ€™t go according to Carlyleâ€™s plan.
4 â€“ Rosehill was taking unnecessary penalties early in the game which helped swing the momentum in the favor of the Pens. However, at the start of the second period it was the Leafs getting a 4 on 3 PP with one of the best Penguin penalty killers (Staal) in the box. Kessel scores a tap in after Bozak created space by going to the net (or goalie). Contact looked worse than it was and wandering far from the crease, yeah, youâ€™re not getting that interference call kid.
5 â€“ MacArthur makes a great through the legs play, Grabo fires the puck and it just touches Gunnarsson to make it 2-0 Leafs. Grabo was really flying tonight and was easily the most motivated Leafs player out there.
6 â€“ The two goal lead didnâ€™t last long though. After a lost boards battle, Matt Niskanen fires the puck from the point, Dupuis redirects and the Pens cut the lead to 1. Why canâ€™t the Leafs just clear guys in front of our net? Gus wasnâ€™t a happy camper, F-bombs dropped.
7 â€“ Hitting really picked up late in the second, Neal dropping Gunnar, Phaneuf answering soon after. Gus made another huge save at the start of the third. First he stopped a shot from after a faceoff win by Pittsburgh and then he stopped Kunitz up close. Futile effort though because right after that the team defense lets the Leafs down once again. Staal scores to tie the game after a redirect in front. No matter how much good this team does, if it isnâ€™t the goalie, itâ€™s the defense.
8 â€“ Gus letâ€™s in a softie right after that, his confidence visibly lowered, the puck goes in through him on a soft backhand from a bad angle. Not saying he didnâ€™t keep the Leafs in it up until that point of the hockey game, but you just canâ€™t lose your composure after giving up goals.
9 â€“ Ashton seemed somewhat tentative and the game seemed to move a bit fast for the kid. This isnâ€™t saying anything except that heâ€™ll need an adjustment period, which is just common sense. Liked how he didnâ€™t shy away from contact and went to the net on a couple of occasions. Not an amazing debut, but not a completely bad one either.
10 â€“ Suck for Galchenyuk? It just may well be the case. Not intentionally though. Once again, the effort was mostly there but defensive breakdowns cost the Leafs once again. That and the overall quality of the Penguins. Keep in mind this team played without Franson and Brown for virtually the entire game.