Penguins

Pens 6 Stars 3 – Notes and Quotes…

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The Penguins didn’t make it easy for themselves, as they fell into a two goal hole early, but they never panicked and found a way to win this game. They did it on the strength of two Sidney Crosby goals and a huge performance from their special teams units.

The penalty kill will go down as the hero of this game as it was faced with having to kill off six Stars power plays. It came through that test with flying colors, killing a five on three and scoring a short handed goal off of the stick of Sidney Crosby.

Crosby was employed in a penalty killing role a bit more often than he typically has been in the past and looked great alongside Jordan Staal. That duo cleared pucks and forechecked their tails off, which created Crosby’s short handed opportunity.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

He did exactly that on the goal, he got a stick on a puck, created a loose one. I just tried to jump on it and get a good shot.”

Though Staal did make a great stick check to spring Crosby, number 87 took the puck from center ice and never looked back in streaking down the left wing and firing a shot home that beat goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Here are some of additional thoughts from Crosby on today’s victory.

On winning back to back games and what differentiated the two…

“They were different, last game it was a matter of us playing really well and wearing them down. Today it was a matter of trying to regroup and respond after a not so good first half.”

On the play of his goaltender and knowing that Fleury will always bounce back…

“Yeah, we always know that he bounces back. It’s gonna happen…we all have tough nights and unfortunately when you’re a goalie everyone kind of looks at you when you get pulled. He responds the best way possible every time. There’s no worry there, he did it once again…he bounced back and there was no question that he wouldn’t.”

On being impressed with both special teams…

“Yeah, we had to kill a few there and guys did a great job blocking shots and Adsy (Adams) was laying down a few times and sacrificing his body a bit. So that’s what you do on the penalty kill and then it’s great for Poni to get his first one on the power play. We try a lot of simple things some times, but that’s as simple as it gets — throw a puck on net with the guy in front finding it. So you know it was really good to get some production from both.”

Marc Andre Fleury was all smiles post game after bouncing back from a poor performance in his last start in New York. He was even more excited knowing that he didn’t start particularly well today, but was able to settle in and get a huge win for his team. Here are his thoughts on…

Staying calm, cool and collected and bouncing back from poor performances…

“I think that is something I have learned with my time here. Never worry too much. Its always frustrating to lose and to give up goals, but once the days over you have to forget about it as quickly as possible and get ready for the next game.”

He did earn some laughs when he mentioned that he isn’t always so laid back when allowing goals…

“I say bad words in my mask sometimes, you probably can’t see…”

On knowing that he had to make some huge saves to start the third period due to facing a two man advantage…

“I like it, I like it… I knew I had to make a big one to keep the team in the game and give us a chance to win.”

On the fact that his teammates have so much confidence in him…

“Yeah, its great. I think its mutual, even if I give up a couple in the game I know that we’re not done. the guys are going to keep coming and get some goals. I always believe that we’re going to come back and win the game. ”

Notes:

Alexei Ponikarovsky managed to pick up his first goal as a Penguin on a late power play, but it looks as if it is going to take a few games for him to get into game shape. He hadn’t played a game in roughly three weeks and it showed. He left the ice before his line-mates on multiple occasions and was a -2 on the day. It was refreshing to see him park his big body in the slot, usually right in front of the goaltender. It really looks as if he is going to be a great fit for this team. He skated primarily with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko. He also took shifts on the number one power play unit.

Jordan Leopold really impressed me with his skating ability this afternoon. He made plenty of plays in the defensive zone by utilizing his speed, made great break out passes and finished the afternoon at +3. He has also been blocking plenty of shots… he has six in the three games he has played for the Penguins.

Craig Adams and Mike Rupp have shown that they all deserve to be in the line-up. Adams and Rupp each had fights today that seemed to pump their teammates up. Especially Adams, who was throwing blows with Steve Ott for close to a minute. Rupp has been doing a ton of little things, chipping pucks out of danger, creating scoring chances and bringing toughness to this line-up.

Pascal Dupuis has been on fire lately and scored another goal today. It was a nifty tip in off of a great Kris Letang pass. He has shown some great touch around the net, something that was not a huge part of his game previously. This team gets even more dangerous if Dupuis is going to contribute on a regular basis.

It was great to see Mike Modano get some recognition from the Mellon Arena crowd after the Penguins put up a graphic honoring him for becoming the highest scoring American player in NHL history. Modano gave a humble wave from the bench in response to his ovation.

I get more impressed with Brenden Morrow every time I watch him play. Not only is he a great leader, but he managed to keep a +1 rating in a game in which his team allowed six goals. He finished the afternoon with an assist, five shots on goal, three hits and two blocked shots. Morrow’s assist was a beautiful home run strike to Brandon Segal which sprung he and Mike Ribeiro on a two on one.

Sidney Crosby’s two goals pushed him into the league lead with 44. He is now two ahead of Alex Ovechkin who is sitting at 42. Crosby is also tied for second in league scoring with 83 points.

I will again be live at Mellon Arena tomorrow as the Penguins meet the Boston Bruins.

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

9 Comments

  1. Zach Boslett

    March 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Lehtonen was pretty bad but he got absolutely no help from his D. Great game by Sid. I was so glad he elected to shoot on the shorthanded chance. Last season and the year before, he would have forced a pass and spoiled the scoring chance.

  2. Rival

    March 6, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Good effort today, they are looking like a dominant team coming out of the Olympic break (albeit against sub-par teams).

    Besides the couple games against NJ, they play some bad teams and have a chance to really put some wins together and get rolling.

    So, when Billy G is back, who sits? The guys on the bubble have been stepping up lately… I like that competition on both Forward and D where there is one extra NHL guy. It seems to push the other guys a bit.

  3. Jmw66

    March 7, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Good stuff Metz, love the new site.

  4. Profile photo of Brian Metzer

    Brian Metzer

    March 7, 2010 at 12:14 am

    @Zach I agree, Lehtonen wasn’t very good today, but he was hung out to dry on more than one occasion. Sid has been electric as of late. Great point, I have been saying that too…he would have forced a pass and the play would have been broken up.

    @Rival They have looked great…they will be even better once that goaltending gets to where it should be.

    The good news is that New Jersey has been playing like a bad team. That could be great news for making a run at the Atlantic title.

    I love the team’s depth right now, it is making everyone play better. Those bubble guys are being forced to bring their A games more often which is going to equal more success. I think Bylsma will just go with the hot hand line-up wise. Tough to say who would sit right now… maybe Adams… personally I would think about TK. Not doing a lot right now…

  5. Rival

    March 7, 2010 at 12:29 am

    While Adams plays a good role, sitting him wouldn’t hurt the team much… He contributes on the PK, but other guys can cover that time.

    But I think TK sits too… I’ve seen people say not to break up that line, but with Talbot on it, that line would still be a force.

    I really like TK, but he hasn’t done much and maybe a game or two watching from the press box might do him some good.

    Although he played well in the first two games out of the break, I’d think about sitting Feds too… But you gotta give that new line some games to see if it’s going to work.

  6. Zach Boslett

    March 7, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Crazy idea that probably wouldn’t work but I know players can be sent on conditioning assignments for 14 days without having to be put on waivers.

    Instead of sitting a useful player like Kennedy, perhaps he could find his game with a WBS team trying to fight for a playoff spot? They are currently missing a top 6 forward due to the loss of Caputi as well.

    (Obviously I know that this will never happen, I’m just curious if anyone knows if that would be possible/a good idea)

    If Fleury can find his game 100% of the time, the East doesn’t stand a chance. Washington is regularly giving up 3-5 goals a night now and are relying on Theodore – whom Crosby owns 🙂

  7. Walshy

    March 7, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Thanks for the summary, the arvo games are bad here too early in the morning!

    Good to hear MAF hit back ok, would be good if he is back to his first 10 games form by the time the last 10 games come around.

    The site is great Brian, keep it going!

  8. Evilpens

    March 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Good Game By the Pens from the Halfway point On, Before that Not so much, Gonchar is Terrible in his own end !!

  9. Heath

    March 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hey Metz–

    First time checking out the new site. Everything looks great!! I love that you now will have an outlet to do whatever you like–keep up the amazing work.

    I have to say I completely agree with you about Duper. I often come down hard on him, but he has been lights out lately and he deserves all the credit in the world. He’s using his speed, putting in hard-working shift after shift, and he’s been shooting the puck a ton. If he keeps this level of play up, I’m a Dupuis convert!

    Was a great game yesterday, and good welcome back to me at the Igloo after a few weeks off (I had to sell my Buffalo tix so this was the first post-olypmic visit back to my seats). My only gripe was that I felt Malkin was really invisible…just didn’t look like he had “it”. I’m confident that we see a different Geno today and I hope to see him really start gelling with Poni.

    Is it just me, or did you not really miss Billy G too much yesterday either? If he needs more time off now so that he has something in the tank for the playoffs, I’m all for it. I felt like pre-break he was really looking tired…

    That’s all for now, look forward to meeting up sometime real soon. It’s been way too long, brother!

    h