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Jack Campbell leads the way to a Leafs victory over Pittsburgh

What a great game this was.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs [verbed] the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was an [adjective] game that ended with [score]. What a game!

The game started off quick with Auston Matthews getting sprung on a break away in the first 30 seconds, and he makes it 1-0 nice and early.

The Maple Leafs continue to put pressure on the Penguins to enhance their lead, but Pittsburgh is coming in just as hard the other way, making Jack Campbell work extra hard tonight to hold the line.

The Maple Leafs get their first power play opportunity of the night when Evan Rodrigues interferes with Auston Matthews - how dare you - sadly the Leafs do not score despite some excellent set ups, passing, and play making.

It’s lucky for the Leafs that Matthews scored early, as Tristan Jarry isn’t letting anything get past him through the rest of the first period. He’s making saves that has the crowd shouting “ooooooo” and “ahhhhhhhh!” and I missed that reaction.

The Penguins get a chance to work on their 11th place power play when Morgan Rielly holds Evgeni Malkin, but they’re taking on the Maple Leafs 5th place penalty kill so there’s lots of puck dumps at the Penguins net, and there’s no goal for the Penguins with the man advantage.

The first period ends with the Maple Leafs up 1-0. This game so far has reminded me of a harder version of the game against the Kraken they played last week. It’s not stressful, not a lot of whistles, and the Leafs are playing great - just against a more talented opponent tonight.

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The second is a continuation of the first, with nice solid play from the Leafs being stifled by the Penguins. More offensive zone time than defensive in the first five minutes as well.

Evan Rodigues takes his second penalty of the game - holding David Kämpf - which gives the Leafs more power play time, and we get to see Morgan Rielly go end to end and score, making it 2-0 Toronto.

The Penguins need some help, so Travis Dermott is called for interference on Jeff Carter. The Maple Leafs almost score a shorthanded goal, then the Penguins hit the post. No goal though in this tough back and forth power play.

Shortly after this power play ends, Mitch Marner gets called for hooking Dominik Simon, and mid-way through the second the Penguins get another chance to score with the man advantage.

Ilya Mikheyev loses an edge and crashes into Tristan Jarry while chasing the puck, and the Penguins scrum about, but nothing comes of it.

The Penguins do not score on this power play either.

For refs that seem to love handing out penalties lately, this goes uncalled. The crowd gives them whatfor.

Jake Muzzin and Auston Matthews team up to almost score, but once again, denied by Jarry. I’m getting sick of this guy.

Jack Campbell continues to dominate the net.

The Penguins can’t take advantage of the advantages the refs give them. Alex Kerfoot is called for holding Kris Letang and, no one likes it.

No matter, Morgan Rielly teams up with David Kämpf to make it 3-0 Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs score shorthanded again, mocking the refs attempts to ruin this game for the Leafs. The second period ends 3-0 for Toronto.

The third period is more of this game. No ones changing course, no ones altering their plans, but one difference occurs. Pittsburgh scored a goal. Boo Malkin.

3-1 Toronto.

It’s not for lack of defense though.

Michael Bunting gets it back though, teaming up with Auston Matthews to score his 16th goal of the year. The most of NHL rookies.

4-1 Toronto.

There’s a scary moment that sees Matthews leave the game when he slides face first into the post.

Seriously Matthews, did you forget it was there? Matthews did return, minus one tooth.

Jack Campbell has his work cut out for him, but he’s standing tall. With ten minutes remaining in the game the Penguins lead 40-25 in shots. The Leafs slow them down a little, but Pittsburgh is still getting some nice offensive zone time, setting up plays like they’re on the power play. Leafs taking their time, trying to just hold the lead now instead of running up the score. Kinda.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a seven game winning streak after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1, and it’s pretty fantastic. The forwards are buzzing, Jack’s playing great, the defense is working on new pairings, fans are back, it’s alright.

The Maple Leafs next game is Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, not on the CBC as Olympic coverage continues. Check it out on CityTV and Sportsnet.

Good night everyone!