Penguins win seventh in a row
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The Penguins scored three unanswered goals for their seventh win in a row, 3-2, against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Consol Energy Center.
It was also the fifth home win a row for the Penguins, who are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points and opened a four-point lead on fifth-place Philadelphia and a six-point lead on sixth-place New Jersey. They are six points behind the conference-leading New York Rangers.
Evgeni Malkin's point streak came to an end at eight games and remains one point shy of 500 for his Penguins career.
It was the second win in as many career starts for Penguins rookie goaltender Brad Thiessen.
There was no scoring in the first period, when the Penguins made a point of playing tight defense in front Thiessen. The Penguins outshot the Maple Leafs, 11-3, in the period.
Toronto opened a 2-0 lead with goals by Phil Kessel and Carl Gunnarson.
When Brad Thiessen came out beyond the crease to stop a shot by Toronto's Dion Phaneuf during four-on-four play, the Penguins' Brooks Orpik was chasing the Maple Leafs' Tyler Bozak, and Bozak bowled over Thiessen. Kessel was able to easily score on Phaneuf's rebound for a 1-0 lead at 1:00 of the second period.
At 7:36 of the second period, a shot by Mikhail Grabovsky glanced off the stick Gunnarson and past Thiessen to make it 2-0.
The Penguins closed to within 2-1 at 9:25 of the second period when Pascal Dupuis, his back to the net, deflected a shot by Matt Niskanen. Jordan Staal also got an assist, extending his points streak to six games.
Staal tied the game, 2-2, at 1:34 of the third period on a redirection of a shot by Orpik.
The Penguins got their first lead of the game, 3-2, on Dupuis' second goal third point. From the lower half of the right circle, he took a pass from Steve Sullivan that weaved through several skates and backhanded the puck between the pads of Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson at 4:10 of the third period.
The Penguins homestand continues Friday with a game against Florida.
For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: email@example.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly
First Published 2012-03-07 21:08:16