Second-period miscues spell doom for Penguins
On the ice
Next up: Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh Penguins,Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet
The Associated Press
TORONTO — Jake Muzzin had a goal and two assists, Frederik Andersen made 24 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 on Thursday night.
Toronto bounced back nicely after dropping three of four, including a 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. It was Andersen’s second shutout of the season and No. 18 for his career.
William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Zach Hyman also scored for Toronto (32-22-8), which moved back into third place in the Atlantic Division. John Tavares added two assists.
Matt Murray made 26 stops for Pittsburgh (37-16-6), which suffered its most lopsided loss of the season.
Toronto went ahead to stay when Muzzin’s point shot pinged in off the post 7:45 into the second period. Newly acquired Denis Malgin helped out by providing some traffic in front of Murray.
The defenseman celebrated his fifth goal by high-fiving jubilant backup goalie Jack Campbell on the bench before being congratulated by the rest of his teammates.
Toronto got a 5-on-3 power play for 1:53 midway through the second — deploying five forwards for the second straight game — and cracked the Penguins’ penalty kill when Nylander beat Murray through the pads for his 27th.
Kapanen then made it 3-0 with his 12th at 13:04 when he was sprung by Alexander Kerfoot and fired past Murray’s blocker.
The Leafs spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning answering questions about their work ethic and level of urgency in a season that could be slipping away, but showed plenty of pushback Thursday night — and not only between the whistles.
Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist took a couple of runs at rookie defenseman Rasmus Sandin late in the second. Kapanen intervened and got a cross-check up high for his troubles before dropping the gloves with Pittsburgh’s Jared McCann.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Tavares, his Toronto counterpart, jawed at each other after a scrum that saw Hornqvist land on Andersen, and the two continued the conversation as the teams headed off for the second intermission.
Hyman made it 4-0 3:56 into the third when he collected his own rebound off a deflection and slid home his 19th.
The Penguins host Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, then play at Washington on Sunday afternoon.