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Penguins 12, Maple Leafs 1

December 27, 1991 GMT

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Joe Mullen had his second consecutive four-goal game as the Pittsburgh Penguins tied a team record for goals in a game in a 12-1 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Mullen became the first Pittsburgh player to have back-to-back four-goal games. He also scored four times in Monday’s 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders and now has three four-goal games in his career.

Mario Lemieux added two goals and five assists and Jaromir Jagr and Kevin Stevens also scored twice for the Penguins, who matched the team record for largest margin of victory. The Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 12-1 in March 15, 1975.

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Mullen now has goals in five consecutive games, scoring 11 times in that span. Lemieux has an eight-game point-scoring streak, collecting seven goals and 15 assists.

The Penguins, who have won four of their last five games, took the lead at 2:55 of the first period when Mullen directed Stevens’ pass past Grant Fuhr. Kevin Maguire tied the score at 4:36 but Mullen and Bob Errey scored in the last three minutes of the period.

Mullen took Lemieux’s pass and fired a 20-foot shot over Fuhr’s shoulder on a power play and Errey’s shot on a breakaway slipped through Fuhr’s pads.

Jagr, Ron Francis and Lemieux scored in the second period for Pittsburgh. Jiri Hrdina picked off Dave Hannan’s pass to set up Jagr’s 14th just 27 seconds into the period. Francis took Lemieux’s pass and jammed a shot past Fuhr on a power play at 15:08. Lemieux scored his 25th on a breakaway at 16:16, putting in a backhander after faking Fuhr to the ice.

Lemieux banged in his own rebound on a power play at 1:55 of the third period. Stevens put a shot in off Fuhr at 5:24 and Mullen completed his ninth career hat trick 23 seconds later. Mullen added his 25th goal at 8:19. Jagr and Stevens also scored in the third.

The Penguins’ 12 goals came on 30 shots against Fuhr, who had stopped 24 of 25 shots in beating Winnipeg 3-1 on Monday.

The Maple Leafs, who have the NHL’s third-worst record at 10-23-5, have lost five of their last six games. Toronto is 3-13-3 on the road and 0-5-1 against Patrick Division teams.

The Leafs did not set a record with their performance. The most goals ever allowed by Toronto is 14, scored by the Buffalo Sabres on March 19, 1981.

That didn’t make Thursday’s game any easier to take.

″All I could think of was Murphy’s Law,″ coach Tom Watt said. ″Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We played a team that jumps on every error and puts it in the net.″

″It was embarrassing, to say the least,″ said general manager Cliff Fletcher. ″Fortunately you don’t get penalized for losing by double digits or a single goal. We still lost. Now we’ll play Saturday and see what we’re made of.″

The Penguins have scored 39 goals in their last five games, a streak that started with a 10-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

″We had a lot of open ice and a lot of chances,″ Lemieux said. ″We have two good lines that can score a lot of goals. That’s important for our team.″

It’s no coincidence that Mullen’s outburst has come after being placed on a line with Lemieux and Stevens.

″I’ve even missed a couple of real good chances in the last game and this one,″ Mullen said. ″I’ve had some good luck and playing with those two guys doesn’t hurt, either.″

The Penguins’ six-goal third period came without high-scoring defenseman Paul Coffey, who sat out with back spasms. His condition will be evaluated day-to-day.