Leafs’ four power-play goals beat Penguins

blake1Four different goal scorers helped propel the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in exhibition play at the Mellon Arena on Friday night.

Jason Blake, Ian White, John Mitchell and Juraj Mikus all scored their first goals of the preseason in the second period for the Maple Leafs (2-1), who have now won two in a row.

Reigning Art Ross and Conn Smythe trophies winner Evgeni Malkin scored his first of the preseason for the Penguins (1-1), as did winger Matt Cooke and defenceman Brooks Orpik.

After being outshot 10-3 in the first period, the Maple Leafs’ fortunes began to turn around in the second as Penguins forward Craig Adams was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing Darryl Boyce at the 2:26 mark.

The Maple Leafs took full advantage of the power-play as Blake scored at 2:41 after defenceman Carl Gunnarsson’s point shot deflected off the boards, allowing the Leafs winger to put it past Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson.

White tied the game up for the Leafs at 4:45 when his top corner point shot beat Johnson.

A Ben Lovejoy hooking penalty at 7:12 gave Toronto a 5-on-3 power play, where centre Jason Allison set up Mitchell, whose wrist shot 24 seconds later beat Johnson to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead.

The Penguins’ frustration began to boil over towards the end of the second as defenceman Paul Bissonnette dropped the gloves with the Leafs’ Andy Rogers.

Penguins forward Bill Guerin was then called for tripping 10 seconds later at 16:37, putting the Maple Leafs on the power play.

Mikus responded by beating Marc-Andre Fleury, who replaced Johnson midway through the second, at 18:26 to give Torono its fourth unanswered goal.

Leafs head coach Ron Wilson praised his young defenceman, who was playing in his first career game.

“When you look up and see Malkin and Billy Guerin, some of the people who are bonafide superstars in the league, he was a little nervous,” Wilson said.

“But he got better as the game went along, scored a nice goal and showed some poise.”

It was a far cry from the first period for the Maple Leafs, who did not register a shot for the first 11 minutes of the game and received four minor penalties.

Cooke got the game’s opening goal at 6:43 when Leaf goaltender James Reimer was unable to control an Alex Goligoski point shot. The Penguins winger got the rebound and his backhander gave Pittsburgh an early 1-0 shot.

Malkin put the Penguins up 2-0 at 13:24, when Reimer once again misplayed a rebound.

The Maple Leafs will return to the Air Canada Centre tomorrow in a rematch with the Philadelphia Flyers while the Penguins’ next opponent will be the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.