(CP) — Jiri Tlusty scored two goals in his first NHL game and the Maple Leafs shook off an early season slump to beat Pittsburgh 5-2 Thursday night and end the Penguins’ three-game winning streak.
Tlusty’s goals came 35 seconds apart during a four-goal Maple Leafs flurry in the third period.
Tlusty, who had one goal and two assists in five games with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies, gave the Maple Leafs the lead at 2-1 by setting up in front of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and deflecting an Alexander Steen 35-footer that sailed over Fleury’s left shoulder with 1:45 gone in the third. Steen was initially credited with the goal.
As a result, Tlusty thought he had scored his first career goal 35 seconds later with a strong wrist shot from the left faceoff circle dot that Fleury had no chance of stopping. Pavel Kubina assisted on both of Tlusty’s goals.
Tlusty was so excited when general manager John Ferguson called him at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday to tell him to report to the Maple Leafs’ practice later that day, he never went back to sleep. The third player called up by the Leafs this week, Tlusty made an immediate impact on a team that had allowed 22 goals while losing four of its previous five.
Toronto, previously 0-4-1 against Pittsburgh the last two seasons, again scored twice barely 30 seconds apart midway through the final period with Tomas Kaberle getting his third at 10:02 and Boyd Devereaux scoring his first at 10:35.
Fleury had turned aside 66 of 67 shots in winning his last two starts, only to give up five goals on 27 shots during a ragged performance. Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala made 23 saves.