How do you stop arguably the hottest team (the Pittsburgh Penguins) and hottest player (Evgeni Malkin) in the NHL? Apparently you just have to call upon a guy who hasn’t played in two weeks.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer’s been waiting in the wings since Jan. 17 as Jonas Gustavsson played some of the best hockey of his shaky NHL career, but he’s likely to receive more reps after Wednesday. The Leafs should-be starter stopped all 25 shots as the Maple Leafs halted the Penguins’ eight-game winning streak with a 1-0 decision.
Clarke MacArthur scored the only goal of a rather sleepy game, which closed out a back-to-back set that featured a wild Penguins come-from-behind victory on Tuesday. Toronto is now fairly comfortably placed in seventh place in the East with 58 points in 51 games.
This was a valuable win for Toronto because February represents an early challenge with six of its next eight games coming on the road.
Thin margin of error for Penguins
To some extent, it seemed like it was a matter of time for Pittsburgh, as much of its recent wins came in dramatic fashion lately. Five of the Penguins’ last six victories came via shootout or overtime triumphs, with quite a few coming thanks to late heroics from Malkin.
The Penguins’ next game should be an interesting measuring stick of where they really are right now, as they’ll visit the Bruins in Boston on Saturday.