PITTSBURGH (AP) — James van Riemsdyk could feel the pressure increasing when the Toronto Maple Leafs forward went scoreless his first two games with his new club.
The Pittsburgh Penguins did their best to ease van Riemsdyk's load. The speedy forward scored twice and added an assist in Toronto's surprisingly easy 5-2 win over the Penguins on Wednesday.
"Both those goals, I really didn't have to do too much," van Riemsdyk said.
Not the way the sloppy Penguins were handling the puck.
Van Riemsdyk gave Toronto the lead for good late in the second period when a weak clearing pass by Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin ended up right on van Riemsdyk's stick at the top of the left circle. The quick shot that followed whizzed over Marc-Andre Fleury's glove and highlighted a night that sent the Penguins crashing back to earth after rousing opening weekend road wins in Philadelphia and New York.
Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak also scored for the Maple Leafs. Nikolai Kulemin added three assists and James Reimer stopped 28 shots in his first start of the season.
"I think we've showed we can play the rugged defensive game and tonight we have the ability to score as well," MacArthur said. "If we can find a way to use both things every night, you've got a good team and a good chance every night."
The victory took some of the sting out of losing forward Joffrey Lupul to a fractured forearm in the second period. The 29-year-old, who signed a five-year contract extension on Sunday, got drilled by a slapshot from teammate Dion Phaneuf and did not return. Lupul will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
"It's tough but what can you do, you've got to move on," MaCarthur said.
Something the Penguins are only too happy to do when hockey's festive return following a nine-month absence quickly turned sour.
Sidney Crosby and Malkin — the league's reigning MVP — scored their first goals of the season for Pittsburgh, but the Penguins struggled with Toronto's quickness and failed to play with the kind of discipline. The two superstars picked up misconduct penalties in the final minutes with things out of hand.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 19 shots for the Penguins but Pittsburgh couldn't get off to its first 3-0 start in 18 years.
"There just wasn't enough execution with the puck and management of the puck to play where we needed to play," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.
The Penguins rolled through the first weekend of the truncated 48-game season, drilling the Flyers and Rangers and doing little to dampen expectations about Pittsburgh being an early Stanley Cup favorite.
Continue reading this story on the...