Antropov, Kubina lead charge as Leafs blitz Penguins

Author:
Publish date:

By Chris Adamski

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Nik Antropov recorded a goal and two

assists and defenseman Pavel Kubina added a tally and set up

another as the Toronto Maple Leafs used goals from seven

different players in a 7-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins

on Saturday.

Dominic Moore, Jeremy Williams and rookie defenseman Jonas

Frogren scored first-period goals, while Niklas Hagman and

Alexei Ponikarovsky also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who have

won four of their last five contests.

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle and Matt Stajan notched three assists

in support of Vesa Toskala, who made 20 saves.

"We dominated in all areas of the game," Maple Leafs coach Ron

Wilson said. "We had a great forecheck, a lot of rush chances

moving through the neutral zone. And we played really well in

our own end and denied their skill players a lot of open ice, so

we frustrated them."

Petr Sykora scored two goals and Evgeni Malkin added his 15th

goal of the season, but the Penguins fell for the sixth time in

nine games in December.

"I don't know if they were completely on their game tonight, but

that doesn't matter," Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger said. "We

stuck to our gameplan, and it worked for us. Whatever we did

tonight we want to continue to do."

Playing in his second game after missing five weeks with a groin

strain, Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 33 shots

before being relieved by Dany Sabourin at the start of the third

period.

"I don't want to use (the injury) as the reason (for poor

play)," Fleury said. "I played Thursday and was fine.

Hopefully I can learn from this. It just was not a good game."

After Malkin answered Moore's goal to tie the game at 1-1 midway

through the first, Toronto quickly struck to reclaim the lead

for good when Williams tallied 62 seconds later on an

innocuous-looking wrist shot from above the right-wing circle.

"When you're confident and things are going your way, it just

seems to snowball," Williams said. "This stuff happens when

you're doing so well away from the puck."

Frogren got his first career goal in similar fashion and Hagman

tallied his ninth by capitalizing on a Malkin turnover in front

of his own net midway through the second, and Kubina got his

seventh while on the power play with 3:40 to play in the second.

The only signs of life by Penguins came from Sykora's 11th goal

of the season off Malkin's league-leading 40th assist less than

a minute into the third. But Toronto was not done yet, as

Ponikarovsky and Antropov scored within the ensuing eight

minutes.

"We got that 5-1 lead, but coming out in the third we knew they

would come out hard," Antropov said. "For five minutes, they

were all over us, but we got through that and kept playing

well."

Sykora added his second tally by converting a pass from

defenseman Alex Goligoski with 2:59 left.

"We didn't get momentum at any point of the game," Pittsburgh

captain Sidney Crosby said. "We got a goal at the beginning of

the third period but they got one right back. It was not a good

effort at all."

The Maple Leafs had lost, 8-5, to Boston in their previous game

Thursday.

"It was a really complete game for us," Hagman said. "We played

a good first period with a lot of shots, guys were going to the

net. The Boston game, we scored five goals and did a lot of

good things, but defensively we weren't on the same page.

Today, we wanted to respond by playing a really good game, and

that really showed."

TOP HEADLINES

0
Play

Prospect Watch: Savoie's a Saint

One of the top 2022 prospects has arrived in Dubuque and he's made an impact right away. Learn about him and nine other kids making noise.

USATSI_15452719_168393428_lowres
Play

Brand New Season, Same Old Oilers

It's only four games into the season...but it's already four games into the season. And some very familiar bugaboos are showing up in northern Alberta.

Belarus
Play

The Right Call: Belarus Loses Worlds

It's official: the IIHF is changing hosts for the 2021 World Championship due to safety concerns in the European nation.