Maple Leafs fall to Malkin and Penguins in Hall of Fame game


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An emotional start to the night at Scotiabank Arena ended in frustration for the Maple Leafs.

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Despite occasionally winning the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, the Leafs couldn’t count on three wins in their previous four games, losing 4-2 to the Penguins in the annual Temple game. of fame.

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The Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2022 – Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Riikka Sallinen and the late Herb Carnegie – were honored with a pre-game ceremony.

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Among the former inductees in attendance were Leafs legends Borje Salming, Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin. Salming, who was battling ALS, was helped onto the mat along the redline by Sittler and Sundin and received a warm ovation as Sittler helped Salming wave to the crowd. Sittler and Sundin had misty eyes as Salming was cheered by the crowd of 19,229.

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The Penguins got the winner from Brock McGinn at 1:54 of the third, when his shot went past a block attempt by defenseman Mark Giordano and goaltender Erik Kallgren.

Jake Guentzel scored in an empty net with 13 seconds left.

The Leafs weren’t able to mount much offense in the final period, registering just four shots on Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith.

Toronto, which hosts the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday to complete a rare back-to-back set at home, could have Matt Murray in goal for the game.

Murray continues to make good progress in the final stage of his recovery from a groin injury, although Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe, after morning practice, was not yet ready to say Murray would start against the Canucks. Murray was injured during morning practice on October 15 and was placed on long-term injured reserve.

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« No final decision has been made on how we’re going to handle tomorrow, » Keefe said. « We’ll go through today and make the decision from there. »

With Ilya Samsonov (knee) also out, Kallgren is fine, but the Leafs need to find a full-time NHL goaltender.

The Leafs managed to keep tabs on Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, but couldn’t do the same with Evgeni Malkin. The latter had two points and now has 67 points in 41 career games against Toronto.

Obviously, Crosby will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, but given his continued impact on the game, it won’t be for several years yet.

« Played in a (Hall) game before here and it was a fun game to be in, » Crosby said after morning practice. « It’s pretty cool to see guys being inducted and all the festivities that go with it. It’s always a special weekend and you’re thrilled to be a part of it.

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“(The Hall is a) pretty unique place. They do an amazing job displaying the history of hockey and some of the interactive things they have.

The Leafs spotted the Penguins with a one-goal lead in the second and tied the game on a late power play.

Michael Bunting shot an NHL-record 12-minor five-for-five, and the Leafs took advantage of the final penalty after Kris Letting tripped Bunting.

William Nylander, who hit the post moments earlier, caught a pass from Morgan Rielly past DeSmith at 17:17 to put the Leafs level at 2-2.

The Penguins scored on their first shot of the period after Justin Holl stumbled at the Toronto blue line. Malkin passed him. Malkin fed an open Jason Zucker, and it was 2-1 Pittsburgh on the one-timer.

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After Nylander’s goal, Kallgren made a nice save on Malkin, sliding through the crease to stop the Penguins star.

Leafs winger Zach Aston-Reese had a personal success against his former club with a goal, but ex-Leaf Kasperi Kapanen didn’t have a chance to make a dent against Toronto. Kapanen, who had one goal and five points in 12 games, was eliminated healthy for the second game in a row. The struggle is real for Kapanen, whose contract carries a cap of US$3.2 million this season and next.

Opportunities at both ends in the first period resulted in a goal for both teams.

The Leafs were first on the scoreboard at 1:49 when Aston-Reese ignored a control from Letang and slammed the puck past DeSmith. The goal came after good work from Denis Malgin, whose work and shot created the chance. David Kampf also helped, putting the line further in Keefe’s good books.

Malkin, who took two minors earlier in the period, atoned with 36 seconds left in the first. The Leafs failed to clear the area and Malkin had an open net when a Chad Ruhwedel shot was blocked.

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