NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 2nd (All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (37-21-6) at Toronto Maple Leafs (27-27-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After a wild meeting on Saturday, the Penguins and Maple Leafs will meet tonight for another encounter at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs hosted the Penguins on Saturday and Pittsburgh halted a four- game losing streak with a 6-5 shootout win over Toronto. This marks the Penguins' second straight test in Toronto, but the Maple Leafs have played since that encounter, dropping an overtime decision Sunday in Atlanta.
The hero for Pittsburgh on Saturday was new addition Alex Kovalev, who paid quick dividends by scoring the only goal of the shootout, ringing the puck off the right post and into the net.
Kovalev, acquired from Ottawa last Thursday, was the fourth skater in the shootout, and following his goal, Marc-Andre Fleury smothered Mikhail Grabovski's attempt to secure the extra point for the Pens.
With 80 points, the Penguins are currently sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, while Toronto is 10th and six points out of a postseason spot.
Pittsburgh has won two of three against the Leafs this year and can claim victory in the season series tonight. The Pens have taken four of five overall from Toronto and have won three straight at Air Canada Centre.
The Pens led Saturday's game, 3-2, after 40 minutes, but the offenses were just getting warmed up at that point. The teams combined to score five times in a span of 6:16 early in the third period and Pittsburgh's Michael Rupp netted the last of those goals to tie the game at 5-5.
Mark Letestu, playing for the first time since January 25, had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. He had missed the last 13 games with a knee injury.
"We'll leave [Toronto] with the two points, and we got them in an uncharacteristic way," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma.
Maxime Talbot scored a short-handed goal for the Penguins, while Fleury ended with 26 saves. Kovalev, who previously played for the Pens from 1998-2003, also scored during regulation to get his second stint in Pittsburgh off to a good start.
Joffrey Lupul lit the lamp twice for Toronto, while James Reimer turned aside 35 shots in the setback.
"I think it's just a case where the puck was just avoiding me tonight," Reimer said. "I don't know if there was any one thing where I kind of thought, 'Man, I didn't do that right.'"
Toronto fell to 14-11-7 as the host after Saturday's loss, while the Pens improved their road record to 17-10-4.
Reimer also started Sunday's game in Atlanta, but he left in the second period with an undisclosed injury. He had stopped all 18 shots he faced before departing, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed all three goals on 25 shots in the 3-2 overtime setback.
Reimer, who is 10-4-3 with a 2.31 goals-against average during his rookie campaign, is expected to get the start tonight.
Ron Hainsey scored halfway through overtime to complete the Thrashers' comeback win over the Maple Leafs at Philips Arena. Toronto led the game 2-0 after one period, but were never able to score after that.
Nikolai Kulemin and Phil Kessel scored for the Maple Leafs in the setback.
03/02 10:37:57 ET