Heading into Wednesday’s game with Vancouver, head coach Dan Bylsma said that the Canucks would be a good measuring stick for the Penguins. A fair assessment considering Vancouver entered the game with a 10-4-3 record to rank second in the Western Conference (one point behind Los Angeles) and boasted the NHL’s No. 2-ranked power play.
Apparently, the Penguins measure up well to the West’s elite. Pittsburgh used goals from Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot and Arron Asham to upend the Canucks, 3-1.
The Penguins shut down Vancouver’s lethal power play – holding them scoreless in five tries. In fact, it was the Pittsburgh penalty killers that managed to get on the board thanks to Talbot’s shorthanded goal.
The Penguins got another strong performance from netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who was stellar between the pipes for the fourth consecutive game. Fleury stopped 29 shots and limited Vancouver’s dangerous offense to just one goal.
Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek were solid in defending the dangerous Sedin twins (Henrik and Daniel), and the Penguins were a dominant presence in the offensive zone. The Penguins deserve much credit for keeping the pressure on and finishing the job.
Mad Max is back! Maxime Talbot, sporting his aesthetic Fu Manchu, scored a goal and added an assist for a two-point night against Vancouver.
Both of Talbot’s points came courtesy of the penalty kill. He chipped a puck out of the zone as Sidney Crosby’s first-period penalty expired. Crosby took the puck on a breakaway and beat goalie Roberto Luongo stick side.
Talbot’s shining moment came in the second period. He led a two-on-one opportunity while the Penguins were shorthanded. His shot was stopped by Luongo. But Talbot followed up on the rebound, carried the puck behind the net and tucked a wraparound shot over the goal line for the eventual game-winner.
Talbot’s stat line reads: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, plus-2 rating, 2 shots, 2 hits and 4:47 shorthanded minutes.
Pittsburgh looked strong early in the game, but couldn’t find a way to beat gold-medal winning goaltender Roberto Luongo. That was until Sidney Crosby took a holding penalty late in the frame.
After sitting for two minutes, Crosby stepped onto the ice and picked up a cleared puck for a breakaway opportunity. Crosby skated down the middle lane and cranked a snap shot past Luongo blocker side with 3:17 remaining in the first.
That goal helped jumpstart the Penguins. The team was off and running in the second period thanks to the momentum from the captain’s tally.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -Sidney Crosby scored on a breakaway seven seconds after leaving the penalty box, Max Talbot scored short-handed and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks in regulation for the first time in 10 years, winning 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The Canucks were 7-0-1 against the Penguins since losing 4-2 on Nov. 3, 2000, and had won their last four in Pittsburgh.
• Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another spectacular performance for the Penguins. He made 29 saves, including several key stops in the third period, to pick up his fourth win of the season. In his last four contests, Fleury is 3-0-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
• The Penguins penalty killers played a huge role in the 3-1 win. Pittsburgh’s PK unit pitched a shutout, keeping the Canucks’ second-ranked power play off the board in five opportunities. What’s more, the Penguins scored a shorthanded goal to win the always important special teams battle.
• Maxime Talbot’s shorthanded tally in the second period was his 11th career shorty. Talbot is now tied for fifth on the Penguins’ all-time shorthanded goals list with Syl Apps and Ryan Malone.
• Matt Cooke’s assist on Talbot’s shorthanded goal gives him four SH points on the season (2G-2A), the top mark in the NHL prior to the conclusion of Wednesday’s games.
• Pittsburgh has sold out 176 consecutive games (regular season and playoffs), but the streak has topped another milestone – the 3-million mark. During the streak a total of 3,018,146 fans have been counted in attendance. The streak, which began Feb. 14, 2007 vs. Chicago, includes every game in the last three-plus season of Mellon Arena’s operation and the first 10 games at CONSOL Energy Center.
• The Penguins wore their blue third jerseys in the contest. The team is now 3-0 this season in blue, and 15-7-3 all-time since introducing the new sweater at the 2008 NHL Winter Classic.