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3 Impressions: Pens 2, Canes 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens radio host Bob Grove gives his three impressions from the media level of the Penguins’ 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at CONSOL Energy Center.

1. Terrific game by Marc-Andre Fleury tonight. If he doesn’t play the way he plays, there’s no way the Penguins win this game. That’s been true so many times this season.

2. Beau Bennett in his first game back looked phenomenal. He created all over the ice, he was really, really good with Sutter and Kunitz. I thought that line had a lot of open ice, a lot of that because of him. If you think about what the Penguins have been missing, when you see Beau Bennett it makes you really optimistic for the rest of the season if he can stay healthy.

3. The Penguins’ special teams, all the focus is on the power play woes. They continue tonight, and rightly so. The power play is a concern. The penalty kill is getting overlooked. It was really, really good. Fleury is a part of that as well. The way the Pens have been winning draws, working together and taking chances at the right time to clear the puck, I thought they were phenomenal tonight. And a big, big reason why they won the game as well.

Sam Kasan gives his three takeaways from the media level.

1. Happy Returns

Finally, the Pens had some good news on the injury front. Not one, not two, but three players returned to the lineup in Christian Ehrhoff, Beau Bennett and Craig Adams. Of the three, Bennett shined the brightest. He had the primary assist on both Penguins’ goals in the contest. Adams was a key contributor to the PK, which went 3-for-3, and had a game-high seven hits. Ehrhoff played an eye-popping 24:17 minutes in his return, finishing with six shots, two hits and two blocked shots.

2. Two-Headed Monster

The Pens are looking for ways to jumpstart their two superstars: Sidney Crosby, two goals in last 13 games; and Evgeni Malkin, one goal in last nine games. So they decided to play them together on a line. The duo looked phenomenal during a 4-on-4 stint of action. They dazzled with their skill and acumen. But during 5-on-5, though they created some chances, they still failed to put the puck in the net. As the Pens try to survive these injuries, they’ll need production from the two big guns.

3. Breaking Through

This was a victory the Penguins desperately needed. After going winless in their past four games (0-3-1), Pittsburgh needed a victory adrenaline shot to break the streak and end 2014 on a good note. Pittsburgh worked their tails off, cranking up 39 shots in the game, and it all paid off when Sutter buried the winning goal with 1:24 left in the contest.

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