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PITTSBURGH – The Maple Leafs are surely thankful to snatch even a point from the all too powerful Penguins. While still being swept in the three-game season series on the third of three goals from Blake Comeau, the Leafs managed to dig out from under a 2-0 first period deficit and swipe a point on the eve of U.S. Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh. As such, Nazem Kadri, who led all Leaf forwards with nearly 19 minutes at even-strength, dubbed it a moral victory afterward. When youre down 2-0 on the road its not easy to come back, said Kadri, who had an assist and drew a penalty in defeat. We put our heads down and we were able to battle back. Comeau edged off Morgan Rielly to score the first of his three markers after only 26 seconds had elapsed in the first. It was the eighth time, disturbingly, in 22 games that the Leafs have surrendered a goal in the first five minutes of regulation. (Theyve won just three times all season when yielding the games first goal (3-8-3).) Head coach Randy Carlyle felt the start was further stunted by a terribly ineffective power-play, which came up empty in three chances overall and is now 1-for-23 in the last six games. Our power-play took momentum away from us, Carlyle said. I dont like to make excuses for it. Weve got to be better. Weve got to work harder. Weve got to execute to a higher level. Beaten soundly in the first two meetings with Pittsburgh this season – the even-strength Corsi was a combined 124-69 in favour of the Penguins – the Leafs rebounded Wednesday with a resilient middle period. They put three past Marc-Andre Fleury, including a pair in less than three minutes from Leo Komarov, and the second shorthanded goal in as many games for Tyler Bozak. A key penalty kill in the frame that followed – which included more than a minutes worth of 4-on-3 action – and some fine goaltending from Jonathan Bernier helped the Leafs hold on for overtime before Comeau notched the winner on a bomb past Bernier. Carlyle, notably, was pleased that his club managed to hold Pittsburgh to just 26 shots after yielding more than 40 in each of the first two meetings. Its the first time all season that the Leafs have held an opponent to 30 shots or less in three straight games – not so coincidentally falling in line with a recent goal of holding the opposition to 25 shots or less (more on that below). We played a gritty game, said Carlyle afterward. Five Points 1. Better Than Last Year? Simple numbers would suggest a step back for Nazem Kadri this season – he has only 10 points through 22 games – but a deeper look reveals mostly improvement for the Leafs 24-year-old centre, inconsistent though he has been. Nazem Kadris Production (entering Wednesdays game) 2014-15 2013-14 ES Points/Game 0.43 0.41 Shots/Game 2.33 1.90 Fenwick Relative 4.06 2.64 Faceoff Winning Pct 50.3 45.2 PP Points/Game 0 0.23 The only obvious point of regression is on the power-play. Kadri had 18 power-play points a year ago, tied for second-best on the team, but he entered Wednesdays game without even a single such point and was removed from the power-play entirely against the Penguins. You look at statistics at certain points, Carlyle said. Nazzie hadnt had a point on the power-play in 21 games. What would you do? Youd make the move then I could criticize you. Kadri was replaced by Joffrey Lupul, who returned from a 12-game absence, alongside Peter Holland and David Clarkson on the Leafs second unit. That unit certainly needed a change, but removing Kadri, among the teams more creative weapons and someone who produced reliably alongside Lupul and Mason Raymond last season, is questionable. Clarkson would seem to represent a more logical choice given his limited offensive capabilities; he also has just one power-play point all season, no longer the threat he once was in such duties for New Jersey. Kadri did add his 10th even-strength point in defeat. He eluded a check along the wall in the Penguins zone before finding Mike Santorelli and then Komarov for the Leafs first goal. Im just trying to be as productive as I can with the ice-time Im given, he said. Im going to go out there and give it a 100 per cent every shift I got and just leave it all out there. Whether thats scoring a goal, drawing a penalty, making a big hit, Im just trying to do whatever [I can]. 2. Replacing Polak Roman Polak averaged a team-high of nearly 18 even-strength minutes before he sprained his left knee against Detroit over the weekend. And now the Leafs will move forward without the 28-year-old for at least a month as he recovers from the injury. How will they fill that void? Well try and spread the minutes out, said Carlyle before the game against Pittsburgh. We think that the two young players that we have in [Jake] Gardiner and [Morgan] Rielly will have to play more. Simple as that. Carlyle teamed the two together against the Penguins, even noting his comfort afterward in employing the pair against either the Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby lines. He was reluctant to thrust the recently recalled Korbinian Holzer into such duties. And thats the Leafs challenge in replacing Polak, filling the difficult minutes he absorbed through the first quarter of the season. Carlyle rightfully buried the 28-year-old in the defensive zone – his 25 per cent 5-on-5 offensive starts amongst the lowest in the league – and used him as a secondary force against tough competition, thereby freeing Dion Phaneuf from some of those minutes. He also used the former Blue a whole bunch on the penalty kill. At first glance it appears the Leafs will split his duties up; Cody Franson replaced Polak on the first unit of the penalty kill with Phaneuf while Gardiner and Rielly, as noted above, formed the second pair in his absence. All three pairings topped the 15-minute mark at even-strength in Pittsburgh. 3. Replacing Polak II As to Holzer – who returns to the NHL for the first time since a 22-game stint ended in Mar. 2013 – its another long-awaited opportunity to prove himself at the next level. I think I feel comfortable coming in, just more mature coming in, he said of his readiness for round two with the Leafs. Just like youve been around here, youve been in the league, youve played some games, you know kind of what it takes to play on an everyday basis. Its less of the unexpected I think. Carlyles edict for Holzer was simple. Be aggressive, said Carlyle before the game. He has a tendency of backing off and if you give time and space to people in the NHL theyre going to burn you. Though he and unlikely partner, Stephane Robidas, were buried some in the defensive zone at times on Wednesday, the 26-year-old managed to make a positive impression. He threw six hits and broke up a 2-on-1 in the second frame that sparked the first of two goals for Komarov. I thought he played a heck of a hockey game tonight for us, Carlyle said afterward. 4. Shorthanded Attack The Leafs are now tied for the league-lead in shorthanded goals – with the Kings – after Bozak swiped Kris Letang during a middle period Pittsburgh power-play. It was the second in as many games for Bozak and fifth already for Toronto this season. The 28-year-old has scored both his shorthanded goals this season by picking pucks from opposing defenders at the blue-line and then beating Jimmy Howard and Marc-Andre Fleury on breakaways. Just trying to read the play and try and just see what theyre doing before theyre doing it I guess, he said of his acumen in such situations. Obviously getting a little lucky being in the right spot at the right time. The Leafs had seven shorthanded goals all of last season, led by James van Riemsdyk with a pair. 5. 25 shots or less After yielding nine goals to Nashville last week the Leafs established a process goal of holding opponents to 25 shots or less. Why that number specifically? You start looking at the top teams and youre just looking at the average shots, what the good teams are doing, Peter Horachek, one of the teams assistant coaches, explained. And really its a goal to establish yourself and try to play at the level of the top defensive teams. Minnesota came into Wednesday as the top shot suppression team in the league, holding opponents to, you guessed it, 25 shots per game. Stats-Pack 10 – Special teams points for Tyler Bozak this season, including eight on the power-play. 13 – Even-strength points for Leo Komarov this season, second only to Phil Kessel on the Leafs. 17:50 – Ice-time for Korbinian Holzer in his return to the NHL. 8 – Number of times in 22 games that the Leafs have allowed a goal in the first five minutes of the first period. 18:42 – Even-strength ice-time for Nazem Kadri, leading all Leaf forwards. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3 Season: 18.5 per cent PK: 2-3 Season: 84.2 per cent Quote of the Night Nazzie hadnt had a point on the power-play in 21 games. What would you do? Youd make the move then I could criticize you. -Randy Carlyle, on why Nazem Kadri was removed from the power-play on Wednesday. Up Next The Leafs return home to host the Capitals on Saturday. Allen Hurns Jersey . "Its not done, but its a huge step," Hannover general manager Dirk Dufner said. 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