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Maple Leafs bounce back with team win on Military Appreciation Night

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night by a final score of 3-2.



Lucas Viveiros | Report

Bouncing back from a loss to the Red Wings less than 24 hours before, the Toronto Maple Leafs outplayed the Pittsburgh Penguins on Military Appreciation Night this past Saturday, gaining a valuable two points in a 3-2 victory. 

Before the puck dropped, the Maple Leafs honoured the Canadian Armed Forces for their 13th annual Military Appreciation Night, with Corporal Jeremy Hilson being reunited with his family as a special surprise. Check out the emotional reunion below.

Following the abundance of tears in Scotiabank Arena the Maple Leafs aimed to take care of a business against Sidney Crosby’s Penguins, and they came out with speed and loads of attacking pressure.

Garret Sparks was in goal for the blue and white, getting a shot between the pipes due to a back-to-back situation. Sparks wasn’t too busy early on, but made a point blank save on new Penguin Nick Bjugstad to keep the game tied with 12:41 to play in the opening period.

Shortly after, Sparks would have to be called upon again, but this time due to a Pittsburgh power-play. On the advantage, Sidney Crosby would receive a tape-to-tape feed from Kris Letang, and blast a one timer over the glove of Sparks to put Pittsburgh out front 1-0 with 9:59 left in the first.

The Maple Leafs would continue to out skate and out work the opposition, but kept failing to out execute them, as Pittsburgh would be rewarded with a second goal before the end of the period. The snipe would come off the stick of Penguins rookie Teddy Blueger, scoring his second in as many nights with a wrister over the glove of Sparks to secure a 2-0 Penguins lead.

Toronto failed to give in to the Pens however, as just over a minute following the Blueger goal, Auston Matthews would cut the lead in half on a juicy rebound let out by Murray off of a Travis Dermott point shot. Matthews’ tally would be his 23rd of the season and second in as many nights, as the 21 year old pumped his fist to get the crowd and his team back in it.

After some trading chances in the early stages of the second, Toronto was able to convert on a new look d-pair for coach Mike Babcock. That defense pair consisted of Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott, as after a Marleau face-off win Gardiner would T-up Dermott for a blast which fooled Murray to tie things up at two’s.

The momentum for the Buds would continue with under four minutes to play in the second, as Zach Hyman would get a scrappy goal in front of the Penguins blue paint, outmuscling All-Star Kris Letang and flicking the puck over the outstretched glove hand of the Pens goaltender.

Murray and Sparks would put on a goalie battle in the third period, and both would bend but not break, as Toronto would hang on to secure the 3-2 victory.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

Up next, Toronto will get set to take on their former head coach Randy Carlyle and the struggling Anaheim Ducks.

Game time is set for 7:00pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be viewed on TSN4.

More news from the ice

  • The game marked the Maple Leafs 13th annual Military Appreciation Night, now with a 6-3-4 record on the special occasion
  • Sidney Crosby now has 59 points in 43 career games vs the Maple Leafs (27 goals, 32 assists)
  • Mitch Marner now has 10 points in nine career games against the Penguins (one goal, nine assists)

Out of town scoreboard

Saturday, February 2

Edmonton 4 Philadelphia 5 (OT)

New Jersey 3 Montreal 2(OT)

Anaheim 3 Winnipeg 9

Detroit 2 Ottawa 0

Vegas 1 Florida 3

Los Angeles 2 NY Islanders 4

St. Louis 4 Columbus 2

Tampa Bay 3 NY Rangers 2

Dallas 3 Nashville 1

Chicago 4 Minnesota 3 (OT)

Vancouver 5 Colorado 1

Arizona 2 San Jose 3 (OT)

More coverage to follow. Image from SB Nation.

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