Spoiling Kaskisuo's NHL debut
Former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo was given a warm welcome in his NHL debut in the 2019-20 season. It was one of the games that he will never forget, considering the pressure he got right away as the team’s backup goalie that time.
The Penguins were missing several key stars going into this game, including captain Sidney Crosby. Dominik Kahun tied his career-high with three points, and ten other Penguins tallied points in their impressive win.
Kahun drained his first goal just 52 seconds into the second period to extend the Penguins’ lead to three goals. He then scored his second goal just less than four minutes after a coach’s challenge.
Aside from Kahun, Bryan Rust also notched a three-point game, along with a short-handed goal to go with two assists.
Both Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin came up with a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Jared McCann notched his 100th NHL point with a goal to lead the team in bouncing back after dropping their game at New Jersey in a 2-1 loss.
Guentzel rallied Pittsburgh to open the game when he made a power-play goal in just 6:38 of the first period. It was the team’s first power-play goal at home since October 2019 and went 1 for 31 in their last 13 games prior to this one.
The Penguins have won three of their last seven games that time. Tristan Jarry was sensational in making 32 saves for the Penguins, who relied on their defence for most of the game. He has allowed only two or fewer goals in a five-game stretch.
Kaskisuo held 31 shots for the Maple Leafs in his debut, but his team lost momentum when the Penguins started scoring and harassed them all game. They are set to continue a six-game trip against Vegas.
The loss was the fifth straight for the Maple Leafs, which marks their longest in this season. They have been struggling in the season and were sitting in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, going 3-5-2 in their last ten games back then.
Future for Leafs and Kaskisuo
It was a tough day to be a fan of the Maple Leafs back then. They found their form late in the second half of the season when the league was just about to drop their order to pause all games due to the pandemic. It seems that they were hoping to make things happen back then.
The Leafs then went on to let go of Kaskisuo. The goalie then found his way into landing a one-year, two-way deal with the Predators back in October. Kaskisuo might have just found a chance to make his NHL career a little bit better than his early games looked like.
Toronto has been very busy in the offseason, and they hope to solidify their chances of winning the Stanley Cup next year. Landing key figures such as Michael Hutchinson has proven the team’s reliance on younger stars.
Kaskisuo, on the other hand, will enjoy a lot of chances with the Predators this season. He might just actually thrive in a group of young players who are keen to make a bigger push after falling short in the 2019-20 season.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores