TORONTO (AP) — After two listless performances, Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe wanted to see his team step up.
It was only one game, but the Maple Leafs delivered.
Jake Muzzin had a goal and two assists, Frederik Andersen made 24 saves and Toronto beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 on Thursday night.
The Maple Leafs bounced back nicely after dropping three of four, including 5-2 road losses against Buffalo on Sunday and Pittsburgh on Tuesday. It was Andersen’s second shutout of the season and No. 18 for his career.
“You just don’t like to get embarrassed,” Keefe said. “Our guys have a lot of pride in themselves, a lot of pride in the jersey and the organization.
Toronto got a 5-on-3 power play for 1:53 midway through the second — deploying five forwards for the second straight game — and cracked the Penguins’ penalty kill when Nylander beat Murray through the pads for his 27th.
Kapanen then made it 3-0 with his 12th at 13:04 when he was sprung by Alexander Kerfoot and fired past Murray’s blocker.
The Leafs spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning answering questions about their work ethic and level of urgency in a season that could be slipping away, but showed plenty of pushback Thursday night — and not only between the whistles.
Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist took a couple of runs at rookie defenseman Rasmus Sandin late in the second. Kapanen intervened and got a cross-check up high for his troubles before dropping the gloves with Pittsburgh’s Jared McCann.
“Stuff happens,” Kapanen. “If it wasn’t me out there, I’m sure someone else would have stood up.”
Crosby and Tavares jawed at each other after a scrum that saw Hornqvist land on Andersen, and the two continued the conversation as the teams headed off for the second intermission.
Hyman made it 4-0 3:56 into the third when he collected his own rebound off a deflection and slid home his 19th.
“We learned a lot from that previous game in Pittsburgh. When we play like this we can compete with anyone,” Andersen said.
NOTES: Malgin, who came over in a trade with Florida on Wednesday, skated on a line with Tavares and Nylander.
Penguins: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Maple Leafs: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
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