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NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Toronto



(Saturday, January 31st)

Final Score: Toronto 5, Pittsburgh 4

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Jason Blake got the game-winner midway through a wild third period as Toronto nipped Pittsburgh, 5-4, at Air Canada Centre.

Ian White, Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who have won back-to-back games following a four-game slide.

Vesa Toskala got the win despite unsteady play, making 22 saves for his 17th win of the season.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each posted a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who have dropped three of four.

Mathieu Garon, making his Pittsburgh debut after coming from Edmonton in a January 17 deal, surrendered five goals on 26 shots, falling to 6-9-0 on the year.

Crosby opened the scoring 55 seconds into the third to bring the Pens within 3-2, but Stajan knocked in his own rebound from a Luke Schenn feed at 2:33.

"Any time the coach has confidence in you, it's great," Schenn said of his third-period role. "When he puts you out there against your top players, it makes you feel real good that he knows you can get the job done."

Ryan Whitney's blast from the point deflected off Malkin and pulled Pittsburgh to 4-3 at 5:33, and a little more than a minute later Toskala was beaten by Tyler Kennedy from the bottom of the right circle.

Blake restored Toronto's lead at 10:05, as he was in the right spot to corral a loose puck in the right circle and pump it past Garon. Pavel Kubina had taken the initial shot, which Garon kicked out past a pair of battling players in front of the crease.

Toskala made a key save at the left side of the net on Crosby with 3 1/2 minutes remaining and Pittsburgh didn't challenge even with the extra skater inside the final minute.

White's backhander from the slot put Toronto on the board 5:23 into the contest, then Miroslav Satan ripped a shot from the left wing home for a 1-1 game at 9:03.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead courtesy of the power play, when Antropov tapped home a loose puck in the crease at 7:53 of the second period. Alexei Ponikarovsky connected on a spinning backhand chance for a two-goal Leafs lead with 6:21 left in the frame.

"I don't know what happened in the second period. We lost focus," noted Penguins forward Jordan Staal. "We had a solid first period, but they came out with a power play goal and got rolling. Back-to-back (games) is no excuse. You've got to play hard no matter where it is."

Game Notes

Prior to the contest, the Leafs honored former forward Doug Gilmour. Gilmour came to Toronto in a blockbuster deal from Calgary in January, 1992 and stayed until being dealt to the Devils in February, 1997, then came back at the end of the 2002-03 season. He compiled 131 goals and 452 points over 393 games in that span, including a franchise-best 127 points in 1992-93...Gilmour added 77 points in 52 playoff games...Toronto has won four of the last seven meetings...Penguins forward Matt Cooke returned after serving a two-game suspension...The Maple Leafs played without defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who suffered a hand injury Thursday and is expected to miss four weeks.

01/31 23:14:02 ET


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