Pascal Dupuis, October’s moustache boy, might not shave his facial hair when he is eligible to do so on Sunday morning.
Goaltender Brent Johnson has been breaking in a new set of all-black pads the past couple of weeks during practice. He may elect to never debut them in a game.
Dupuis and Johnson maintained their red-hot play on Saturday night, helping lead the Penguins to an important 3-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes that ended a 0-2-1 stretch. Dupuis tallied twice against Cam Ward, while Johnson stopped all 33 shots he faced to pick up his 14th career shutout and first as a Penguin.
While Dupuis and Johnson played the starring roles, the reason the Penguins were able to return to the win column was the way they received contributions at both ends of the ice from all 18 skaters despite playing without Evgeni Malkin for the entire game and Kris Letang for the second half of the night.
Carolina actually came out and had two great scoring chances on the opening shift, but Johnson slammed the door like he has all season, and the Penguins responded by taking over the game on the very next shift.
Pittsburgh was ferocious on the forecheck, did a much better job of managing the puck and killed off all seven Carolina power plays. Dupuis and Maxime Talbot stepped up with huge goals.
It was the perfect way for the Penguins to begin a four-game road swing that still has to take them through Dallas, Anaheim and Phoenix next week.
Forward Pascal Dupuis, whose 18 goals and 38 points last season were the second-best totals of his career, seems to have found that scoring touch he possessed last season. Dupuis scored twice for the Penguins on Saturday night, giving him three goals over his past three games and four in the past six contests.
Not only is Dupuis doing the job in the goal scoring department, he has been a presence all over the ice in a variety of ways. His hard work on the penalty kill was a huge factor in the Penguins holding the Hurricanes scoreless on seven power-play chances. Dupuis was also a noticeable presence on the forecheck, helping the Penguins set the tone in that area after getting away from that element the past few games.
Dupuis finished the night with two goals, four shots, two hits and a plus-2 rating.
Saturday night’s turning point actually occurred late on Friday night. Following a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, head coach Dan Bylsma and the team held a brief meeting where they discussed the need for the Penguins to do a better job of getting to their game. That message hit home with the entire squad as the Penguins responded on Saturday with a 60-minute, total team effort to defeat the Hurricanes.
(AP) - Brent Johnson made 33 saves, and Pascal Dupuis scored two goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Maxime Talbot also scored for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Sidney Crosby had two assists. Pittsburgh played without star forward Evgeni Malkin, who missed the game after because of an apparent lower body injury sustained Friday in the third period of a loss to Philadelphia. Eric Godard played in his place.
• Playing on the road isn’t supposed to be as easy as the Penguins have made it look this season. Saturday night’s 3-0 victory over the Hurricanes improved Pittsburgh’s road record to 4-1-1 on the season. Such success away from CONSOL Energy Center is good news for the Penguins because they are now in the midst of a four-game road swing that resumes on Wednesday and will take the team through Dallas, Anaheim and Phoenix. Pittsburgh’s nine road points are tied for the most in the NHL through Saturday’s early games.
• The Penguins were dealt disappointing news just minutes before the opening faceoff when it was determined that forward Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed) was unable to play against Carolina. Malkin, who tried taking the pregame warmup, left Friday night’s game early against the Philadelphia Flyers. Eric Godard dressed in Malkin’s place.
• As if Malkin’s injury wasn’t bad enough, defenseman Kris Letang, who entered the game as the NHL’s leading scorer among defensemen with 11 points, did not play during the third period because of an undisclosed injury.
• Brent Johnson’s 33-save shutout was his first in a Penguins uniform and his 14th overall. It was his first shutout since April 1, 2006 when he made 46 saves for the Washington Capitals in a victory over the Ottawa Senators. Johnson has now allowed two or fewer goals in five of his six starts this season. In his 14 career wins with Pittsburgh the past two seasons, Johnson has allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of those victories.
• Forward Arron Asham, playing in his third game of the season since returning on Wednesday from an upper-body injury, picked up his first point in a Penguins sweater when he made a great saucer pass to set up Maxime Talbot’s goal 2:15 into the second period. On the goal, the puck actually rolled off the blade of Talbot, but it slid right under the body of a prone Cam Ward.