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game recap

Penguins 8, Maple Leafs 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 8, Maple Leafs 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 8

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Penguins had made it a goal to hold one of the Eastern Conference's eight playoff spots by the All-Star break.

With an emphatic win in their final game before the five-day league layoff, the Penguins achieved just that.

Mark Recchi scored three consecutive power-play goals and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists to lead the Penguins to an 8-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Evgeni Malkin had five assists, Sergei Gonchar had three assists and Jarkko Ruutu scored on a penalty shot goal for the Penguins, who moved into a three-way tie for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

"I'm not going to lie to you; we wanted to get there before the break," Recchi said. "And we got to that goal. Guys were talking about it and paying attention to it. Now we can enjoy our break."

Recchi, who also added an assist, recorded the seventh hat trick of his career in a span of 16:57, starting late in the first period. His most recent was March 4 against Carolina, where he was traded five days later before re-signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in the offseason.

The Penguins, who enter the All-Star break 3-0-1 in their last four games, were 5-for-10 on the power play.

"We were really into it starting the game and the execution was there with the puck," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "The guys stuck to the plan and it was a great team effort."

Toronto's Jeff O'Neill scored the first goal 3:19 into the game on a power play.

But from there it was all Pittsburgh as Jordan Staal scored the first of seven straight goals 1:31 later. He tipped in a pass from Malkin while going hard to the net. Malkin has five goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak.

"I'm feeling much more comfortable right now," said Malkin through a translator. "I feel the size of the ice much better and I'm feeling much more comfortable now."

The Penguins took the lead for good with 11:30 left in the first on Ruutu's penalty shot.

Ruutu, who hadn't scored since the season opener, was pulled off his skates by Carlo Colaiacovo on a breakway against Toronto goalie Andrew Raycroft. On the penalty shot, Ruutu faked a forehand shot to freeze Raycroft before tucking the puck into the net with the backhand.

Recchi made it 3-1 with 2:32 to play in the opening period when Ryan Whitney's centering pass deflected off his skate and into the net.

"It doesn't matter who you play, if you're out there moving your feet and keeping the puck moving forward and not making mistakes," Crosby said, "you're going to get your chances and (tonight) we did a great job putting them in when we got them."

Recchi's second of the game and 13th of the season came midway through the second off a pass from Crosby. His third came at 14:25 of the second from Crosby and Gonchar. That was Recchi's 498th career goal and his 1,306th point in his 1,302nd NHL game.

"I feel great out there," Recchi said. "And obviously when you're getting great passes like that out there, it makes it a little bit easier."

Crosby added a 5-on-3 goal 4:02 into the third against backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin, an ex-Penguin, and Michel Ouellet added a power-play goal with 8:52 to play.

Brendan Bell scored a power-play goal for Toronto with 6:16 to play before Ryan Malone - off a pass from Malkin - scored his seventh 1:01 later.

"Overall our play was not very good tonight," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. "I thought the first five minutes we played well. We looked good at the beginning tonight because we knew how important this game was for us. (But) we took too many penalties, and Pittsburgh took advantage of it."

The Penguins matched their season-high in goals - done twice against Philadelphia - and the six-goal margin of victory matches the 8-2 Pittsburgh win over the Flyers Oct. 28. The Maple Leafs also have 50 points to join the Rangers and Penguins in a tie for eighth.

"The only good thing about this is today is that we'll get off the plane and take a little break," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said.

Notes: Pittsburgh is 3-for-4 on penalty shots this season. RW Nils Ekman scored Dec. 7 against the Rangers, Staal converted one Oct. 21 versus Columbus and Staal's attempt was saved by the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist Nov. 25. ... Ouellet has a five-game point streak, Recchi has a four-game point streak and Whitney has an assist in each of his last five contests. ... Toronto had won seven in a row in Pittsburgh until a 4-1 defeat here Dec. 29.

scoring summary
1st Period
03:19
TOR
PPG - Jeff O'Neill (16) ASST: Pavel Kubina (7), Matt Stajan (17)
1 - 0 TOR
04:50
PIT
Jordan Staal (15) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (24), Michel Ouellet (17)
1 - 1 Tie
08:26
PIT
PS - Jarkko Ruutu (2) ASST: NONE
2 - 1 PIT
17:28
PIT
PPG - Mark Recchi (12) ASST: Ryan Whitney (23), Evgeni Malkin (25)
3 - 1 PIT
2nd Period
11:08
PIT
PPG - Mark Recchi (13) ASST: Sidney Crosby (47), Sergei Gonchar (27)
4 - 1 PIT
14:25
PIT
PPG - Mark Recchi (14) ASST: Sidney Crosby (48), Sergei Gonchar (28)
5 - 1 PIT
3rd Period
04:02
PIT
PPG - Sidney Crosby (24) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (29), Evgeni Malkin (26)
6 - 1 PIT
11:08
PIT
PPG - Michel Ouellet (9) ASST: Ryan Whitney (24), Evgeni Malkin (27)
7 - 1 PIT
13:44
TOR
PPG - Brendan Bell (1) ASST: NONE
7 - 2 PIT
14:36
PIT
Ryan Malone (7) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (28), Mark Recchi (28)
8 - 2 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
01:39
PIT
Noah Welch  Tripping against  Jeff O'Neill
09:16
TOR
Chad Kilger  Interference on goalkeeper against  Marc-Andre Fleury
11:09
TOR
Matt Stajan  Hooking against  Michel Ouellet
12:46
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Interference against  Alexander Steen
16:36
TOR
Tomas Kaberle  Holding against  Ryan Malone
19:39
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Cross checking against  John Pohl
2nd Period
09:38
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Interference against  Sidney Crosby
13:23
TOR
Mats Sundin  Hi-sticking against  Evgeni Malkin
14:10
TOR
Hal Gill  Slashing against  Mark Recchi
17:14
PIT
Jarkko Ruutu  Hooking
19:43
PIT
Ryan Malone  Hooking against  Alexander Steen
3rd Period
02:38
TOR
Travis Green  Hooking
02:38
TOR
Jeff O'Neill  Unsportsmanlike conduct
02:38
TOR
Jeff O'Neill  Misconduct (10 min)
05:22
PIT
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Bryan McCabe
05:22
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
06:04
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Hooking
06:42
TOR
Nik Antropov  Hooking against  Jordan Staal
06:55
PIT
Michel Ouellet  Hooking against  Alexei Ponikarovsky
10:52
TOR
Hal Gill  Roughing against  Jarkko Ruutu
12:15
PIT
Chris Thorburn  Fighting (maj) against  Hal Gill
12:15
TOR
Hal Gill  Fighting (maj) against  Chris Thorburn
12:51
PIT
Michel Ouellet  Hooking
15:08
TOR
Nik Antropov  Interference
15:08
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Misconduct (10 min)
15:08
TOR
Bryan McCabe  Roughing against  Brooks Orpik
15:08
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Misconduct (10 min)
15:08
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Roughing against  Bryan McCabe
15:08
PIT
Brooks Orpik  Roughing against  Bryan McCabe
15:11
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Fighting (maj) against  Wade Belak
15:11
TOR
Travis Green  Fighting (maj) against  Maxime Talbot
15:11
TOR
Wade Belak  Spearing (maj)
15:11
TOR
Wade Belak  Game misconduct
18:57
PIT
Jarkko Ruutu  Hooking against  Bates Battaglia
goalie stats
Andrew Raycroft
SA: 21TOI: 39:50
Saves: 16EV: 6 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 13
SV%: .762SH: 0 - 0
Jean-Sebastien Aubin
SA: 9TOI: 20:00
Saves: 6EV: 3 - 4
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .667SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 28TOI: 59:52
Saves: 26EV: 18 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .929SH: 1 - 1
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