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Penguins, Leafs continue in opposite directions

Mar 14, 2013, 9:52 PM EDT

vitalegunnargetty Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs were right there with the Pittsburgh Penguins through most of Thursday’s game, but the Pascal Dupuis-Sidney Crosby-Chris Kunitz line made sure that the two teams’ recent trends continued.

The Maple Leafs held a 1-0 lead until Dupuis tied it up 12:42 into the third period. The 33-year-old then notched the game-winner about five minutes later before Craig Adams got the insurance empty-netter to give the Pens a 3-1 win.

It’s a tough way for Toronto to drop its fourth game in a row while Pittsburgh is now on a seven-game winning streak (including three straight with Evgeni Malkin on the mend).

Once again, the Maple Leafs find themselves at a fork in the road a little beyond the midway point of a season. We’ll see if they can shake off tough losses like this after failing to do so for several years.

  1. pens5829 - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Man Crosby sucks????

    • crosberries - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      The crosberries taste like crosberries

  2. killerpgh - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    2nd straight game the Penguins were shutout through the 1st 53 minutes of the game and came back to win in regulation. Down 2-0 to the Bruins and won 3-2 and tonight they were down 1-0 and won 3-1. Not a good habit to get in but a win is a win.

    • JoeAvg - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      You got it all wrong killerpgh. Three weeks ago if they hadn’t scored by the third period they’d be down by at least 4 goals. They’re heading in the right direction – and not a minute too soon.

  3. malkinrulez - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Don’t look now but Pens looking sound defensively and Flower making big saves

    • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:09 AM

      they had to be, gotta give credit to toronto, if they play like they did against the pens for the rest of the season they have to win some games. fleury kept them in it, the save on kadri and then koarov on the breakaway were game savers.

  4. Stiller43 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    PENS

  5. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Just my luck. First game I go to this year and an NHL goalie shows up for Pittsburgh. This last week has been a bummer for the Leafs. They haven’t even played badly but they’re just not getting the breaks. That evens out over the course of a normal season but there’s less time for that to happen this year.

    A couple of things. First, there’s nothing worse than stupid fans. 60 minutes of listening to people telling Kessel to shoot from the half boards was bad enough, seeing people leave after the second Pens goal was just pathetic. Second, the refs. Someone needs to sit #9 down and read him the rule book. And that linesman kicking guys out on every faceoff and slowing down the game was ridiculous. Nobody pays to watch the zebras do their thing.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      Not sure why you’re getting thumbs down – I agree about the comments about the refs. The hand pass on the Leafs on the PP was ridiculous, as was the boarding call against Orpik late in the game (while Fraser – who I really enjoyed watching – lost his stick and threw Crosby down and it wasn’t called) – bad calls on both sides. Leafs played very well.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        i about lost it when the linesman broke up crosby’s rush in the 3rd period…he had a winger and a trailing d man entering the zone, wouldve been a 3 on 2 with speed and crosby with space. that was really the only time i got upset about the refs…the phantom charging call wouldve had me pissed if i were a toronto fan though

  6. steelers88 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    If the Pens keep playing good defense and keep having good goaltending the Pens will score their goals and if that does happen the Pens will be really hard to beat in the playoffs.

  7. ironman721 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    “March” of the Penguins🐧❗

    • crosberries - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      Now back to Dan and Dan….

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    If anyone out there doesn’t think Crosby is the best player in the world needs to get his hockey IQ checked. This guy’s ability to see the game is absolutely the best since the great 99. He knows where everyone is on the ice all the time and makes excellent decision when moving the puck. A thing of beauty to watch.

    • withseidelinn - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      I agree, and I can see how someone may not be the biggest fan of him if you’re a philly or new york fan, but you have to appreciate his skill level and work ethic. He is is so far above any other player right now it’s ridiculous. Guys have hot streaks, they go on pretty impressive scoring binges, but Crosby is just NEVER bad. Even if he is held off the scoresheet (which is rare) he is working his ass off in the defensive end. I’m not a Penguins fan but I hate seeing foolish people say “Crosby sucks” or “Crosby is a crybaby”. Yes, maybe he whined on a lot of calls but that was about 3 years ago. Get over it, you have to give the guy a tremendous amount of respect for the way he plays the game.

  9. 19to77 - Mar 15, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    The level to which Crosby is beating down the entire Eastern Conference is ridiculous. His nearest competitors are Stamkos and Kunitz, his own freaking winger. He’s absolutely the best forward in the game.

  10. tsi431 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Pens Power Play needs help. They can’t keep getting by with late goals. 4-23 (17%) this week in PP.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      The power play was sad last night – but part of that was an outstanding job by the Leafs. They couldn’t even get the puck in the zone, much less get decent shots off.

  11. hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Good game – Pens do tend to do as well as they need to do to win, but can’t complain about the defensive style their playing now. Only thing that scares me is is the margins they are winning by – but, it’s better than losing by the same margin:

    vs. MTL – 7-6 (OT)
    vs. TB 4-3
    vs. PHI 5-4
    vs. TOR 5-4 (SO)
    vs. NYI 6-1 (nice)
    vs. BOS 3-2
    vs. TOR 3-1

    They either know how to make things entertaining or are trying to give their fans fits.

    Also – I know this will never happen – but do you know who a great wing for Crosby would be? JVR. Kid impresses me more every time I watch him.

    • pghcityofchampions - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      Yeah, because the Penguins need to find a LW for Crosby. Kunitz just is not cutting it.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        Nice sarcasm, but unless you just started watching the Pens, you’d know that a ‘wing for Sid’ has been on Shero’s list for a number of years, especially since Kunitz did so well with Malkin and Neal last year. However, so that you feel better about the statement, how about ‘you know who’d be a good winger for Malkin….’. Happy? Thanks for the value-added comment, as always.

      • aso513 - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        withdrawal,

        The Pens don’t need any wingers unless we are talking about the 4th line.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:32 AM

        Long term, Kunitz and Dupuis don’t have many years left…short term – you really thinking a cup can be won THIS YEAR with the wingers we have now, please back up your statement with facts, or stats. Bennett will be a great wing. Not sure he’s going to help win a cup THIS YEAR. The Pens still need help on wing if they are going to beat Chicago/Anaheim/Boston consistently. Worst case, drop TK to line 4 or scratch him entirely, move Bennett down, and bring in a wing that is already in his prime.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        Why would you break up what is arguebly the most dangerous line in the NHL right now? Malkin and Neal and Bennett are doing just fine together when healthy. The pens are the highest scoring team in the NHL and quite possibly the best team 5 v 5. The only weakness on this team i see is in their bottom 6, not the top 6. Once you have line with the chemistry of dupuis, crosby,kunitz you dont break it up because something else looks better on paper. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        By the way the pens have 2 players in the leagues top 5 of every offensive stat. +/- (Crosby ,Kunitz), assists (Crosby, Kunitz), goals (Neal, Kunitz), points (Crosby, Kunitz). It would be so counter productive to mess with our top 6 because we’re firing on all cylinders right now.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:52 AM

        Sportsfreak – fine – I understand the comments, but I think some of them are off base – don’t break up the Crosby line and may Jesus spit on my soul for even mentioning that the Pens need a wing, if for no other reason than to be prepared if someone goes down.

        We need two legimate scoring lines and the Malkin/Neal line can improve, whether Bennett is on it or not. So you’re saying if Bennett or Kunitz is hurt, you are ok with TK stepping up to a top 2 line scenario? Cooke? I think Kunitz is fine where he is – but I’d bet that is not Shero’s plan to say “we’re fine at wing”, nor would it be mine.

        Hockey is NOT an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sport, like baseball/basketball is. It is an “if this breaks, are we able fix it” sport. Pens need another scoring wing, the only question is whether they get one thats interchangible with Bennett on line 2, or a strictly top 6 guy and Bennett takes a temporary tour of duty on line 3 (again).

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        I’d also point out that Malkin’s goal scoring this year is no where near where it could be and 1/2 of james neals goals are on the PP. The second line can improve. As can the third and fourth, actually. Outside of Sutter, and maybe Cooke, there’s no scoring depth.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Bennet is too skilled of a player to not be playing top 6 minutes. He needs to be playing with a skilled center and sniper like malkin and neal to get his game developed at the NHL level. To put him on a line with a more defensive minded center and winger (sutter, and cooke) is counter productive also.The malkin, neal, bennet line has only played together for 3 games before geno went down. They looked real good while doing it. Crosby kunitz and dupuis click so good because they have been playing on same line since 2010 (except when crosby came back and malkin, neal, kunitz line were firing) and they built chemistry. Let malkin,neal, and bennet develope that same chemistry and uprgade the bottom 6 where we need more grit. Crosby said the only reason his filthy no look behind the back pass worked is because they have played together so long he knew where he would be (chemistry). The highest scoring team in the NHL doesnt need a offensive upgrade. sorry.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        I understand your points, I honestly do. I just disagree, completely and inherently. You’re banking on letting Bennett develop with quite possibly the hardest to read Center in the game (he’s everywhere) over the course of a shortened season, and said yourself Malkin has only been in for 3 games together. That’s hockey – people go down. As could Bennett. The second line may develop chemistry, but will have to do so in a hurry – that’s risking a lot. Another early round exit will have people in hysterics, and all the people that said ‘we’re fine’ will turn into the people that say “I can’t believe we didn’t trade for someone”.

        Neal, Kunitz, Dupuis, or Bennett could go down long term. Need a scoring wing. Whether it’s Sid’s or Malkin’s line. They’re doing GREAT. Love the way Bennett looks out there. But there’s a reason Pittsburgh is linked to rumors forwards like Iginla, they need it. If they have too many fowards, waiver TK.

      • sportsfreak13 - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        Nothing wrong with disagreeing. I respect your opinion. I think other needs (like the depth scoring you mentioned) would be easier to acquire via trade becaue you wouldnt have to give up so much and if injuries happen then you can have a guy like say clowe (hypothetical) who could maybe slide up down the lineup as needed because of injuries. When i hear you say get a scoring winger i think of guys like iginlia. perry, alfredson and you are going to have to pay a good amount to get someone like that. Prospects and picks only go so far in a trade and you cant trade our worst roster players (kennedy comes to mind) for their best roster player even if you do throw in a prospect and a pick. It just doesnt happen. Trades in todays NHL tend to be more fair and quite honestly thats a good thing.

    • tbell1980 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      I hate to say it… but the last 3 games have been without Geno who was having a turnover problem when he was on the ice. Just look at how well we’ve been holding opponents to lower scores.

      Geau Pens!

  12. ironman721 - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Not as much trolling these days…..kinda nice.

  13. myroncopesflask - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    As a Pens fan one thing has stood out over the past few weeks. I realize he is a fan favorite but Brooks Orpik has been the root cause of many of the goals the Pens give up. We he is in the box our PK is outstanding. Even strength or short handed he almost always follows the puck around like puppy dog instead of staying at home and playing the man. Ever since that amazing shift against the Wind in SCF i have been a big fan but as of now I would avoid having him on the PK and would move him down on the depth chart.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      he is not making the big hits he used to, he used to be an intimidating presence and it made up for some of the flaws in his game. i love orpik and what he has done over the years but he seems indecisive at times and has had quite a few lost battles/turnovers behind his own net and in the corners. this is 2 seasons now that i’ve been seeing it from him, last year he was apparently nursing injury but i dont know about this year…somewhat troubling but i’m not saying he should get sold down the river either, he is still a good 2nd pairing/2nd pk unit d man.

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