PITTSBURGH - Toronto coach Randy Carlyle stressed during his team's morning skate Wednesday that the Maple Leafs needed to be aggressive on offense.
In particular, Carlyle called out left winger James van Riemsdyk and center Mikhail Grabovski. He felt both had been too passive while the Maple Leafs scored just three goals in splitting their first two games of the season.
The motivation ploy worked Wednesday night as van Riemsdyk scored his first two goals of the season and assisted on Grabovski's first goal as the Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburh Penguins 4-2 at the Consol Energy Center.
Toronto improved to 2-1 while Pittsburgh fell to 2-1.
Clarke McArthur also scored his first goal and had two assists for the Maple Leafs and Nikolai Kulemin had three assists.
Toronto goaltender James Reimer stopped 28 of 30 shots in his first start of the season. Reimer was a bit of a surprise starter after Ben Scrivens had allowed just three goals in the first two games.
It was Pittsburgh's home opener and the fans gladly welcomed back the NHL following the 119-day lockout as the crowd of 18,641 was the largest in Consol Energy Center's three-year history and the Penguins' 255th consecutive sellout.
The Penguins, though, let down the fans by losing for the first time this season after winning at Philadelphia and at New York against the Rangers last weekend. The fans did have a chance to cheer the first goals of the season by superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Van Riemsdyk scored twice in a three-goal second period as the Maple Leafs took a 3-2 lead. Van Riemsdyk beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from point-blank range to snap a 2-2 tie with 5:26 left.
The Maple Leafs then pulled away in the third period, Grabovski scoring at 5:18 and Tyler Bozek scored with a two-man advantage with 1:01 remaining.
Toronto moved in front 2-1 on tip-ins by MacArthur at 3:09 and van Riemsdyk at 6:48.
Just 29 seconds after van Riemsdyk's second goal, Crosby tied it for Pittsburgh with a breakaway goal.
Malkin opened the scoring with a power-play goal with 1:09 left in the first period, beating Reimer on a wrist shot from the short side.
NOTES: Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner dressed for the first time this season. He had been out with a concussion since Dec. 9 when he was injured while playing for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. ... Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland and Toronto winger Colton Orr, who have a history of brawling with each other, received five-minute majors for fighting at 5:58 of the first period. ... The Penguins have scored first in all three games this season and have also scored a power-play goal in all three games. ... Defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Robert Bortuzzo were healthy scratches for Pittsburgh along with center Dustin Jeffrey, while Toronto's healthy scratches were defensemen Cody Franson and Mark Fraser and center David Steckel.