Heading into the third period of the Penguins game with the Maple Leafs in Toronto, it appeared that things would be going in the right direction for the Peguins as they held a 2-1 lead thanks to goals by Chris Conner and Matt Niskanen. When the third period rolled around, however, it would be Phil Kessel striking back hard for Toronto to tie the game up and force overtime.
In overtime, Mikhail Grabovski would keep the Leafs hopes of cracking the East’s top eight for the playoffs alive scoring the game-winner in the extra session. The Leafs were able to pull within four points of Carolina for the eighth spot in the East. The level of key, clutch play the Leafs have gotten out of Kessel, Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin (who had the Leafs first goal tonight) has been huge for the largely two-line team.
Making things stand out even bigger for the Leafs is goalie James Reimer. Reimer made 27 stops in tonight’s win and improved his record on the season to 11-4-3.
For Pittsburgh, their hold on the fourth seed in the East is becoming tenuous as the Capitals are just two points behind them in the standings. Obviously the Penguins road is a bit tougher having to do without Sidney Crosby in the lineup but going up against a motivated Leafs team on the road makes for the brand of game they won’t like to play much more often than they’ve gotten to lately. They’ve still got five points on Montreal in sixth place, but unless they can string wins together more often than not, their hold on home ice in the first round might be disappearing.