Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild. 1. Response
The Pens were obviously frustrated following two poor performances last weekend. They called a closed-door, players-only meeting. Afterward, Evgeni Malkin said the team needed to “stop, look in the mirror and start working.” Sidney Crosby said he had “no doubt we’ll respond the right way.” Both team leaders stepped up their game. Crosby helped set the tone early with his all-out effort. Malkin, obviously, had the biggest impact with two goals and four points (Michelle Crechiolo will have more on Malkin later). The Pens responded the right way, and it was led by their two biggest superstars. 2. Power Surge
The Pens’ power play, which has been scrutinized all season long, came through when they needed it most. Pittsburgh scored twice on the man-advantage, and it was the difference in the game. Beau Bennett struck late in the first period to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. Then Malkin converted, this after twice getting a puck behind goaltender Devan Dubnyk and at the goal line. 3. Defensive Loss
Pittsburgh won the game, but may have lost a key member of their blue line. Defenseman Olli Maatta was boarded by Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter near the Wild bench. He was down on the ice for some time and required assistance to get off the ice and down the runway. The Pens defense played half the game with only five players, and gutted out the victory. There was no update on his status following the game, but losing a player like Maatta will be a blow to the Pens’ defensive unit.