Leafs 5 v. Penguins 6 (OT): Grit and Determination
Due to some problems that Hockey-Recap has run into the format for the game recaps will revert to it's original form. Thankfully, Hockey-Recap will return for next season because his stats page was one of the better creations on the net.
Anyone that missed this game missed one of the more exciting games of the season as well as a national coming out party for one of the game's great young talents. Jordan Staal scored a hat-trick, including the OT winner, and showed that the Calder race is probably being run between Penguin teammates.
The bright side of the game was that the Leafs managed to get a point from a game in which they were trailing 3-0 at the halfway mark. I am sure some of the fairer-weather fans had packed it in at that point but the Leafs stuck to their game plan of dumping it in and using their size to get their cycle going. The Soviet Bloc got the comeback rolling as Antropov scored the opener on a nice feed from Ponikarovsky from the side of the net. Mats knocked in a loose puck after some good forechecking resulted in a good scoring chance for Antro. Fleury made the initial save but it trickled behind him and was slipped in by Sundin.
The newly formed Redemption Line of Devereaux-Kilger-Battaglia chipped in with two goals as they constantly harried and hassled the Penguins defence into a number of turnovers and used their size and strength to match the top line's ability to control the puck in the offensive zone.
At the end of the day, the Leafs picked up a valuable point, regulation losses should be viewed as anathema, from a game in which it would have been easy for them to pack it in. It could have been two points if Bryan McCabe didn't break rule # 1 of defence - don't flop on your stomach within 6 feet of the net - but you can't teach an old dog new tricks.