The Toronto Maple Leafs simply don’t look like a very good team this early in the season, which posed no problem for the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, to make an easy road game out of their visit to Canada, beating the most underachieving team in the NHL 5-2.
The Maple Leaf might get the benefit of the doubt for their 0-2 start because of the teams they faced to start the season – The Canadiens, who made the Eastern Conference Finals last year and the Penguins, probably the most offensively talented team in the league, with the two best players as well in Crosby and Malkin. But losing both games at home, and especially not coming even close to the Penguins on the second night, makes for a disappointing and disheartening season to a franchise that’s quite used to being a disappointment to its fans.
And the Penguins? They’ll have tougher tests than early-season form of Toronto. Crosby finished with a goal (his third of the season) and two assists as the Penguins did a great job of taking advantage of the power play, scoring 3 out of five. Toronto weren’t too bad either at 2-of-5, but being on the power play was probably their only way of actually making things difficult for Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 23 saves out of the 25 shots at him.
The busier of the two goalies was Jonathan Bernier. He still made 36 saves, but out of 41 shots, as the Maple Leafs made it very clear who were the inferior side in this encounter. Their defense lacked discipline, making it too easy at time for the Penguins to have 3-on-2 or worse situations, leaving Bernier often under immense pressure, without anyone standing between him and one or two Penguins players.
Patric Hornqvist continues to settle in nicely with his new team, scoring the opener goal to make it 2-for-2 for him since joining the Pens. Sidney Crosby scored on the power play being the first to react to a Bernier save to give the Penguins a two goal lead and Chris Kunitz scored from a similar spot with 2:14 left in the first period to pretty much finish the game before some fans managed to get into the arena and get settled in their seats.
The Penguins are always talented, especially since Crosby began playing the sport and quickly becoming the best player in the NHL in the eyes of most. But there’s nothing new about their impressive ability during the regular season or the overflowing talent they have on offense. Things get more interesting a few months from now or during this season, as we’ll learn if this Penguins team is a bit different than the version that often stumbles disappointingly towards the finishing line.