Pittsburgh at Toronto

Sundin extends points streak to Toronto club-record 15 home games

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Mark Bell's first goal with the Toronto Maple Leafs is about to mean a whole lot more to a little boy named Joey.

Bell's goal helped the Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 Saturday. After the game, Bell said he will give the puck to his 5-year-old nephew in Ontario.

"He's a little guy fighting for his life every day," Bell said. "He wears my jersey every game. He's got a home and away jersey. He'll love it."

Joey, the son of Bell's sister, has always been in a wheelchair.

"They gave him four weeks to live and he's 5 now and will be 6 soon," Bell said. "It puts things in perspective when you go home and see the little guy. I go see him every chance I get."

Bell scored his first NHL goal against Patrick Roy six years ago. His career best is 25 goals in the 2005-06 season with Chicago. He came to Toronto along with goalie Vesa Toskala in an offseason trade with San Jose and was looking for a fresh start.

"This is right up there," he said. "Scoring a goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs is a pretty special thing."

Bell was arrested last September and pleaded no contest to drunken driving. He's due to spend up to six months in a California jail after the season.

Jason Blake, with his first goal since Oct. 18, Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky, with an empty-netter with 58 seconds left, also scored for the Leafs.

Mats Sundin set up Bell's goal, and the assist stretched his point streak from the start of the season to 15, breaking an 83-year-old Toronto record. Babe Dye went 14 games in 1924-25.

Toskala, who has emerged as Toronto's No. 1 goalie after alternating with Andrew Raycroft, made his third straight start and sixth in seven games.

"He played well," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "I think we could've done a better job of getting some traffic in front but he made some big saves -- a breakaway, some odd-man rushes -- so you definitely have to give him some credit."

Ryan Malone and Erik Christensen scored third-period goals for the Penguins after they had fallen behind 3-0.

Toronto held a 41-32 shots advantage.

The Penguins didn't have much jump one night after a 4-1 home win over Dallas.

Bell opened the scoring with his first goal since April 5. Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton screened Dany Sabourin on the shot from the circle to the goalie's right. Bell sat out Toronto's first 15 games while serving an NHL suspension and hadn't scored in his first 11 games.

"Mats gave me a great pass and I tried to release it as fast as I could and get it on net," Bell said. "I've been kind of snake-bit the last couple of games around the net, so I was really relieved to get that one."

Blake had scored only twice on 115 shots, the sixth-most in the league, before beating Sabourin at 2:01 of the second period for his first goal in 19 games.

"It hasn't been the start I was looking for coming into Toronto," Blake said. "It felt great that one finally went in for me.

"It's not that I haven't been getting my chances. That's the frustrating part, but my goal is to stay positive, work hard, keep my chin up and keep shooting."

Crosby fell on his left knee in the middle of the second period when he was tripped by Toskala, who was penalized, and grimaced in pain on the bench. Crosby shook it off and was on the ice for his next shift.

"It's all right," he said. "I twisted my foot a bit, but, other than that, it's fine. It was my ankle. Just a bruise."

Antropov got credit for his 10th goal without taking a shot. Bryan McCabe's wrist shot from the middle of the zone struck him and caromed past Sabourin. Antropov had gone 10 games without a goal. This one came on a power play, ending the Leafs' 0-for-19 drought.

Toskala flicked out his left arm to stop Malone's shot on a breakaway in the third period. But Malone got credit for his eighth goal at 8:15.

The Penguins, despite being outplayed and outchanced, still had a shot to win when Christensen scored on a power play at 17:55 after Sundin was sent off for hooking Evgeni Malkin. The puck rolled up Toskala's arm and dropped over his shoulder and into the net for Christensen's third goal.

Crosby got an assist to avoid being held without a point for only the third time this season.

"We had some chances to tie it up in the third, but I don't think we gave ourselves a good chance in the first two periods," Crosby said.

Toronto has won two in a row for the first time since Oct. 27.

Notes

  • Toronto was 1-for-6 and Pittsburgh 1-for-4 on power plays.
  • Ponikarovsky returned after missing two games with a sore groin.
  • C Jiri Tlusty missed a fourth straight game with a bruised collarbone.
  • Toronto LW Bates Battaglia was a healthy scratch for the seventh time in eight games.
  • RW Mark Recchi was a healthy scratch for the fifth game in a row.
  • LW Gary Roberts has only one goal (Oct. 17) for the Penguins in 24 games.
  • D Sergei Gonchar, who was leading NHL defensemen with 24 points, sat out for the second straight night (groin).
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Jason Blake scores his first goal since Oct. 18, a span of 19 games. (Getty Images)
Jason Blake scores his first goal since Oct. 18, a span of 19 games. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (11-12-2)0022
Toronto  (10-11-6) «1214
Three Stars
V. Toskala
TOR


Saves: 30
Save Pct.: .938
N. Antropov
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Blake
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:56Mark Bell (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Mats Sundin
2ND PERIOD
02:01Jason Blake (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kyle Wellwood, Alexander Steen
14:09Power Play - Nik Antropov (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Bryan McCabe, Alexei Ponikarovsky
3RD PERIOD
08:15Ryan Malone (8), Snap Shot. Assist: Colby Armstrong
17:55Power Play - Erik Christensen (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Sidney Crosby, Ryan Whitney
19:02Alexei Ponikarovsky (9), Empty Net. Assist: Nik Antropov, Mats Sundin
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:40Sykora, 2 min, Tripping
17:49Roberts, 2 min, Roughing
17:49Roberts, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
19:15McCabe, 2 min, Holding
19:30Malkin, 2 min, Tripping
2ND PERIOD
04:54Stajan, 2 min, Holding
08:43Toskala, 2 min, Tripping
10:07McCabe, 2 min, Cross-Checking
10:07Roberts, 2 min, Slashing
12:31Staal, 2 min, Hooking
15:37McCabe, 2 min, Holding
3RD PERIOD
04:44Ruutu, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
16:47Sundin, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Pittsburgh9111232
Toronto14131441
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Dany Sabourin59:38373
Vesa Toskala60:00302
Game Information
Attendance - 19534
Referees - Dan O'Halloran, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen - Andy McElman, Mark Shewchyk
 
Other Games
Atl 4 Final
NYI 0
Colo 5 Final
LA 2
Bos 1 Final
TB 4
Car 1 Final
Buf 8
Nash 5 Final
Mon 4
Colu 4 Final
OT
Cal 3
Wash 2 Final
Fla 1
NYR 5 Final
Ott 2
Chi 1 Final
StL 3
Pho 2 Final
Det 3
Dal 4 Final
Phi 1