NHL: Penguins rally, fall to Leafs in OT
Saturday, March 31, 2007
The Pittsburgh Penguins need points, but not as bad as the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was evident, Saturday, as the Maple Leafs held on to defeat the Penguins 5-4 in overtime. Toronto threw away a four goal advantage, as the Penguins managed to pick up a precious point in the quest for home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Every game is crucial for Toronto, as they currently sit in ninth spot in the east, one point back of Montreal for the final playoff spot.
It didn't take long for Toronto to take over the game, scoring 4:28 into the first period. Chad Kilger beat starting goaltender Jocelyn Thibault for his 14th goal of the season. Kyle Wellwood and Darcy Tucker assisted Kilger on the goal. Gary Roberts, the product of one of Pittsburgh's deadline trades anwsered just over two minutes later to tie the match. Sergei Gonchar, one of the NHL's highest scoring defenders picked up an assist along with Rookie of the Year contender Evgeni Malkin. Toronto would strike back at 18:30, when Alexei Ponikarovsky scored his 20th goal of the season, assisted by Nik Antropov and Mats Sundin. The Maple Leafs kept piling on goals, with Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe each scoring to make it 4-1. The goals caused Pens coach Michael Therrien to pull goaltender Jocelyn Thibault in favor of Mark Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh's Max Talbot scored at 16:31 to end the second period at 4-2. Pittsburgh climbed back into the game with less than five minutes remaining, when Sidney Crosby, assisted by Ryan Whitney and Evgeni Malkin, scored his team-high 36th goal of the season. Trailing by one goal, Ryan Whitney stepped up for the Penguins, firing a pass from Sergei Gonchar beyond Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft with four seconds remaining in regulation. The stunned fans inside the AirCanada Center got their money's worth, however, as Toronto's Tomas Kaberle, the eventual 1st star of the game would score in overtime to give the Maple Leafs the win and the critical extra point.
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Three Stars of the Game
- Dave Molinari. "Maple Leafs top Penguins, 5-4, in OT" — , 4/01/07
- Rob Rossi. "Pens salvage point after being down, 4-1" — , 4/01/07