TORONTO (AP)Brock McGinn and Jake Guentzel scored in the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins top the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Friday night.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which earned its second straight win since its seven-game slide. Jason Zucker also scored, and Casey DeSmith made 28 stops.
William Nylander and Zach Aston-Reese scored for Toronto in its second straight loss. Erik Kallgren made 19 saves.
This year’s class for the Hockey Hall of Fame – including Daniel Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Daniel Alfredsson and the late Herb Carnegie – was honored before puck drop.
Henrik Sedin also is set to be enshrined Monday, but is recovering from a bout of COVID-19 and wasn’t in attendance.
McGinn snapped a tie with his third goal of the season 1:54 into the third. McGinn fired a shot that went through the legs of Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano and Kallgren.
The Maple Leafs pulled their goaltender with under two minutes left in regulation, but Guentzel got an empty-netter with 12.1 seconds left.
”A clinic by the Pittsburgh Penguins in terms of how they defended,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said of the third. ”We were on the wall a lot, but couldn’t find our way through that.
”That’s really the difference in the game.”
Toronto opened the scoring 13:49 into the first when Aston-Reese, who played parts of five seasons in Pittsburgh, swatted a rebound past DeSmith for his second on the season.
”It’s just awkward,” Aston-Reese said of facing former teammates. ”Kind of like going to dinner with your ex-girlfriend.”
The Leafs appeared poised to take that lead into the first intermission, but Malkin scored his sixth after Auston Matthews couldn’t clear the defensive zone.
Chad Ruhwedel’s point shot hit Toronto defenseman T.J. Brodie in front and fell to Malkin, who buried the equalizer into a wide-open net.
Malkin, who also took two penalties in the opening period, has 67 career points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 41 games against Toronto.
”He was in beast mode,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”He was a threat all night long.
”When he plays the game like we’ve all grown accustomed to watching him over the years, the puck just follows him around.”
Pittsburgh then went ahead 68 seconds into the second, closing out a chaotic shift.
Leafs wingers Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot couldn’t connect on a 2-on-0 break before the puck went the other way, with Malkin finding Zucker on a no-look pass. It was Zucker’s fourth of the season.
The Leafs responded on their third power play late in the period. Nylander, who hit the post earlier in the man advantage, pumped a one-timer for his sixth off a nice fake from Morgan Rielly at 17:17.
Leafs great Borje Salming received a huge ovation during an emotional pregame ceremony honoring this year’s Hall of Fame inductees.
Diagnosed in the summer with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – the former defenseman was flanked by fellow franchise icons Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin.
With tears streaming down his cheeks, Sittler raised Salming’s arm so he could wave to the crowd.
”He was the first (Swede) to make his way over and lead the way with his toughness and being a leader,” Nylander said. ”He represents a lot of Swedes, and he’s done a tremendous job.
”It’s just so sad seeing him go through what he’s going through.”
Penguins: At Montreal on Saturday night for the finale of a three-game trip.
Maple Leafs: Host Vancouver on Saturday night for the finale of a three-game homestand.
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