Leafs Vs. Penguins Recap: Saturday November 3rd, 2018.

By: Vanessa Serrao

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Leafs were looking to end a two-game losing streak still without superstar Auston Matthews. It was going to be tough especially against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but with hockey, anything can happen. Tavares head to head with Sidney Crosby would definitely spark some power as it is a good matchup. Ten times this season the Leafs have given up the first goal, but of course, scoring the first goal doesn't guarantee to win the game. Malkin is a player the Leafs needed to look out for as he is on a 9 game point streak. 

As the Leafs were looking to capitalize early and be aggressive it wasn't easy with Matt Murray making a quality save five minutes into the game. When you are hungry like the Leafs, the goals will come you just have to keep putting the puck to the net. This came easy for Mitch Marner shooting the puck with a high tip by Tavares that was right over the glove of Matt Murray. The Leafs were in need to score first to give them some confidence. A nice shot by Mitch Marner tipped by John Tavares made it 1-0 for the Leafs. It was a smart move putting Hyman, Marner, and Tavares together. The puck just seems to find a way to get to Marner. 

The Leafs showed that they were the better team in the first period as it could have been 2-0 early on. Leafs goalie Andersen actually has a 4-0-0 record on the road this season and was looking to make it 5. The Leafs were predominantly all over Pittsburgh in the first period with Tavares winning many of the faceoffs.  

The Leafs were looking to continue with success in the second period and they did with a goal by Patrick Marleau. With his third goal of the season, the Leafs continued where they left off in the first period. The patience of Kapanen helped in order for the Leafs to lead with a score of 2-0. The Penguins soon after were looking to capitalize on a power play but they couldn't get anything going offensively. In fact, the Leafs did a killer job killing off the penalty and also had a couple scoring chances during the power play. It was looking like another tough start at home for the Penguins. The Leafs were stellar on the penalty kill and weren't going to allow the Penguins to capitalize on their mistakes. 

It looked like a good night to be a Toronto Maple Leaf and a Toronto fan as the Leafs were playing better than their two previous games. The Leafs got on the power play in the second period looking to continue to capitalize against the Penguins but were unsuccessful. Although they couldn't score on the power play the Leafs scored right after. Kapanen, to Tavares to Rielly with his fifth goal of the season. Rielly has continued to show how effective he has been this year with 17 points. The Leafs have been chasing some games this season but this wasn't the case in this game as the Leafs top two lines were playing well. 

The Leafs were continuing to look to score with a breakaway by Kapanen. His feet were moving as quickly as his hands but unfortunately, he was unable to score. Kapanen has shown that he maintains offensive power this season. So when he didn't score on the breakaway he showed his frustration. The second period came to an end with shots in favour of the Leafs 30-18.

As the Leafs went into the third period they were looking to leave the Penguins scoreless on the scoreboard. It wouldn't be easy as the Penguins went on the power play once again, although being left scoreless so far in the game. The Penguins were not able to score on the power play. All the Leafs needed to do was remain offensive in the Penguins zone and they would have no problem wrapping up the game. Phil Kessel was definitely not as engaged in this game and this left him frustrated. With eight minutes left in the game, the Leafs continued to control the Penguins. 

With 0 for 2 on the power play for the Leafs, they were looking to score on the power play to really seal the deal. And they sealed it quite nicely with a power play goal by Morgan Reilly, his second of the night. A two-point night for Tavares as well as for Marner. Four penalties killed by the Leafs and a dominance and well-played game by Morgan Reilly, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner. Reilly was ultimately the top performer of the game. But let's not forget Frederick Andersen who received the shutout and the Penguins have not been shut out since January 4th, 2017. The Leafs continued to dominate even with the Penguins on the power play once again as Zack Hyman scored shorthanded, with a final score of 5-0. 

Thank you for reading. I am Vanessa Serrao, sports writer for Barn Burner and author of Anxiety Girl that is available on Amazon.