Marc-Andre Fleury has a theory on why the Pittsburgh Penguins looked so sloppy during a humbling 5-2 loss to Toronto on Wednesday: a decided lack of hatred toward the Maple Leafs.
Following a pair of draining victories on the road over rivals Philadelphia and the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh turned in a clunker against the NHL's second-youngest team. Fleury suggested his team endured an emotional letdown, one of the biggest reasons the Penguins looked disorganized at times.
Toronto scored the game's final three goals, two of them the direct result of uncharacteristic Pittsburgh turnovers. Stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their first goals of the season, but were also hit with misconduct penalties in the third period when the game was out of reach.
Malkin learned Thursday that he won‘t be suspended for mouthing off to on-ice officials during the loss.
Malkin received a 10-minute game misconduct penalty after the game because for verbal abuse of an official.
He was one of several Penguins frustrated by the high number of penalties that turned their home opener into a contest dictated by special teams.
“Of course I tried to talk to him in English,” Malkin said, jokingly, Thursday after the Penguins practiced at Consol Energy Center.
“I‘m really mad at a couple (of) calls, but ... I lose control. It was bad emotion. It was my fault.”
The Penguins were penalized 10 times against Toronto, including Malkin‘s misconduct and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for captain Sidney Crosby.
The loss Wednesday was the first for the Penguins (2-1-0, four points). They will play Friday night at Winnipeg.
Right winger Tyler Kennedy worked the left side on a line with Malkin and right winger James Neal at practice Thursday. Kennedy‘s third-line spot was filled by left winger Tanner Glass, whose spot on the fourth line was taken by left winger Eric Tangradi.
Tangradi played four minutes, 27 seconds against Toronto.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.