NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Pittsburgh
(Saturday, January 20th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 8, Toronto 2
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Mark Recchi's hat trick and Evgeni Malkin's five assists led the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-2 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Mellon Arena.
Sidney Crosby posted a goal and two assists, Sergei Gonchar added three helpers, and four others lit the lamp for the Penguins, who hit the All-Star break winners for the third time in four games. Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 stops for the win.
Jeff O'Neill and Brendan Bell tallied for the Maple Leafs, who had their four- game road winning streak broken. Starter Andrew Raycroft picked up the loss, shelled for five goals on 21 shots through two periods.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped only six-of-nine shots in relief over the final 20 minutes of action.
The eight goals ties a season-high in one game by the Pens, achieved twice against Philadelphia, October 28th and December 13th.
Already up by two goals after one, the second period belonged to the Penguins and Recchi, who scored twice to complete his trifecta and help Pittsburgh to a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes.
He picked up his second of the game on the power play, one-timing a perfect feed by Crosby at 11:08 for a 4-1 Penguins lead, and hats rained down on the Mellon Arena ice as Recchi made it 5-1 on a 5-on-3 advantage, taking another excellent Crosby feed and blowing it past Raycroft with 5:35 to play.
"I was the recipient of some wonderful passes. I'll take those any day," Recchi said. "If I could find those openings for these guys, they are wonderful players and they make great plays."
Aubin started the third in the net for the Leafs, but the change did not help as Toronto went down two men just 2:38 in. Crosby was credited with his 24th goal when his shot from the left circle appeared to deflect off a body on its way in for a 6-1 lead at 4:02.
The rout was on as Ouellet notched the Pens' fifth power-play goal of the night, making it 7-1 on another deflection at the edge of the crease at 11:08, mere seconds after Hall Gill was sent off for roughing.
Bell cut the deficit to 7-2 with 6:16 left in regulation, shooting a puck which deflected off Pens defenseman Ryan Whitney and past Fleury, but 55 seconds later, Ryan Malone once again provided a six-goal margin off another uncontested shot from the right side.
"When those two guys (Malkin and Crosby) go on the power play, they want to make things happen," O'Neill said. "That's what happened and they pretty much beat us in all facets of the game."
Toronto actually opened the game on a good note, getting the first goal of the night on a power play at 3:19, as Pavel Kubina caught three skaters off guard with a cross-ice pass to O'Neill, who slammed the puck into a wide open net.
Jordan Staal netted the equalizer 91 seconds later, finishing off a great play by Malkin to get him the puck for an easy tip-in from the high slot. Jarkko Ruutu then put the Penguins on top 2-1 when he slipped a backhander past Raycroft on a penalty shot, 8:26 into the first.
With Tomas Kaberle in the box and 2:32 left in the period, Recchi made it 3-1 on a neat deflection, just barely getting his stick on Malkin's centering feed as he was checked by a Leafs defenseman right in front of Raycroft.
Toronto has won seven of the last ten meetings, but the Pens have won both games this season...Recchi's hat trick gave him 498 goals for his career, seven career trifectas, and a trio of three-goal games in a Penguins uniform...Pittsburgh last defeated Toronto by a six-goal margin in a 6-0 win at Mellon on January 28, 1999...Pittsburgh finished 5-of-10 with the extra man, Toronto ended 2-of-10...Crosby was the leading vote-getter among all NHL All-Star selections, while Staal, Whitney and Malkin will head to Dallas in the Young Stars game.
01/21 00:22:53 ET