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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Flames 1

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Photos: Penguins 3, Flames 1

Video: Game Highlights
Blog: Pens vs. Flames Game Blog
Pittsburgh struck first for the second-consecutive game, but unlike 48 hours earlier when they couldn’t hold on to defeat the Minnesota Wild, the Penguins were able to walk away from this game with a 3-1 victory despite being outshot, 38-27. Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational between the pipes with 37 saves.

Facing one of the league’s top netminders in Miikka Kiprusoff, the Penguins established a net-front presence against the Finish goaltender and scored three goals from about a combined total of five feet. Sidney Crosby split the defense and took the puck right to the doorstep on his first-period goal; Bill Guerin was just outside the crease when he got a stick on a Sergei Gonchar shot to deflect the rubber past Kiprusoff; nobody covered Tyler Kennedy in the third period and he had an easy backhand shot with just 1:40 left in the final frame.

The Penguins power play betrayed them in that loss to Minnesota on Monday but against the Flames it came up with the huge goal when it counted the most. Mark Giordano had knotted the score only 1:13 earlier but the Penguins went back in front to stay when Guerin deflected home the Gonchar shot. It was a goal which put the momentum right back on the Penguins’ side at a time when the Flames really could have gotten a lift had they killed the minor penalty so shortly after tying the game.
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Sidney Crosby scored his 30th goal of the season early in the first period, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.

Bill Guerin scored the deciding goal on a power play midway through the second period - 1:13 after Mark Giordano tied it for the Flames.

The Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's first-period goal
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Marc-Andre Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury was on top of his game for the Penguins and they needed each of his 37 saves to come away victorious after the Flames fired 16 shots his way in the third period alone. Fleury was there to turn all 16 aside, including a game-saving stick save on Jamie Lundmark’s wide-open chance from the slot with 4:42 remaining and the Penguins nursing a 2-1 lead.

What Could Have Gone Better: Puck Possession
All things considered this was a very good performance on the road against a strong home team which sits in first place in their division. But if there was one thing the Penguins could have changed, they would have preferred to spend more of the third period in the Calgary zone instead of their own. Fortunately Marc-Andre Fleury was there to bail them out with 16 saves as the Flames buzzed around the cage until the Penguins added an insurance goal late in the contest.
Calgary was able to hold Sidney Crosby scoreless in his first visit to Alberta on Dec. 6, 2007, but they could not duplicate their efforts on this night. Crosby showcased his world-class skills almost four minutes into the contest when he took a pass from Mark Eaton in the neutral zone and blew by all-star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester before finding a way to get the puck behind Miikka Kiprusoff to open the scoring.

Crosby did not get credit on the score sheet for the Penguins’ second goal but his net-front presence on the power play forced the Calgary defense to worry about taking him out of the play – allowing Bill Guerin to sneak his stick into an area where he could deflect a Sergei Gonchar point shot past Kiprusoff. Crosby did all of this despite intense media coverage with this being only his second trip to Western Canada, making his performance all the more remarkable.
Sidney Crosby caught a pass in the neutral zone from Mark Eaton and sprinted one-on-two against Jay Bouwmeester and Mark Giordano. Crosby went to Bouwmeester’s side and cut right around him before Miikka Kiprusoff’s pokecheck attempt glanced off the body of Crosby and into the net. Pittsburgh 1, Calgary 0.

Calgary knotted the score on a power play midway through the second period as Nigel Dawes was able to send a pass to Mark Giordano cutting down the left seam. Giordano ripped a shot over the right shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 1, Calgary 1.

Barely a minute after the Flames tied the game the Penguins went back ahead on a power-play tally of their own. Alex Goligoski passed the puck from the near boards to Sergei Gonchar at the center point and the Penguins blueliner fired a shot which deflected off the stick of Bill Guerin in front past Kiprusoff. Pittsburgh 2, Calgary 1.

With time dwindling down in the third period and the Penguins holding onto a precarious 2-1 lead, Jordan Staal stole the puck off the stick of Daymond Langkow behind the Calgary net and passed the puck to Tyler Kennedy standing all alone in front. Kennedy made a nifty move to his backhand and tucked a shot under Kiprusoff to give the Penguins breathing room. Pittsburgh 3, Calgary 1.
A familiar face rejoined the Penguins behind the bench tonight as assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald filled in with Mike Yeo home resting. This was a scheduled visit for Fitzgerald, as was explained by General Manager Ray Shero before the game:

“It’s a temporary thing. He was scheduled to be here anyway on this trip. He’s going to spend a few days with meetings next week, which he was coming in for anyways. He’s out here with the team and this was a good idea for him to be behind the bench and filling in for Mike (Yeo). Gilles (Meloche) will be up (in the press box) as usual.”

The Penguins once again changed up their top power-play unit. Evgeni Malkin moved from the left point back to the right-side boards. Sidney Crosby slid down along the goal line and defenseman Alex Goligoski was reinserted back at the left point. They went 1-for-5 with their new configuration.

Forward Mike Rupp celebrated his 30th birthday against the Flames.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S. Crosby (30), 3:52 1st period: Penguins 1, Flames 0
CAL, M. Giordano PP (6), 9:39 2nd period: Penguins 1, Flames 1
PIT, B. Guerin PP (15), 10:52 2nd period: Penguins 2, Flames 1
PIT, T. Kennedy (8), 18:20 3rd period: Penguins 3, Flames 1

> The Penguins’ 3-1 victory over the Flames improves their overall record to 29-18-1 on the season. They continue to sit in the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference standings with 59 points. Their 29 victories tie them for fourth most in the NHL.

> The Penguins improved to 4-4 in the front end of back-to-back games. Heading into Thursday night’s matchup with Edmonton the Penguins have a record of 3-4 in second games of back-to-back sets.

> Since head coach Dan Bylsma took over on Feb. 15, 2009 the Penguins are 47-21-5 with a 23-12-3 record on the road. They are now 29-3-1 under Bylsma when they lead after two periods.

> The Penguins are now 2-1 on this season-long five-game road swing after previously splitting road contests in Toronto and Minnesota. The Western Canada portion of the trip continues Thursday night in Edmonton and concludes in Vancouver on Saturday.

> Sidney Crosby opened the scoring for the Penguins for the second-consecutive game, giving him tallies in four straight games, tying a season high. Crosby now has 30 goals on the season, second-most in the NHL behind the 31 registered by San Jose’s Patrick Marleau. Crosby has 57 points on the season, tying him with Alexander Ovechkin for third-most in the NHL behind Henrik Sedin (64) and Joe Thornton (60).

> Crosby’s 30th goal came in his 47th game of the season, making this the quickest he has reached 30 goals in his NHL career. His previous best was 30 goals in 63 games during his rookie season in 2005-06. Crosby has now reached 30 goals in four of his five NHL seasons (he scored 24 goals during the ’07-08 season when he missed 29 games with a high-ankle sprain).

> Crosby’s goal gives him nine points (7G-2A) in his previous six games, including six goals over his past four games.

> Bill Guerin scored his 15th goal of the season against the Flames, second-most on the team behind Crosby. Over his past 11 games Guerin has picked up 11 points (6G-5A).

> Sergei Gonchar assisted on Guerin’s goal to give himself eight points (3G-5A) in the past seven games he has played (he missed four games in that stretch with a lower-body injury).

> Alex Goligoski also picked up a helper on Guerin’s goal, the fourth assist he has picked up in his past six games after notching just two assists in the 11 games which preceded his recent hot stretch.

> Mark Eaton picked up an assist on Crosby’s goal, giving him assists in three straight games and four helpers overall during the stretch.
1. M. Fleury
2. M. Giordano
3. R. Bourque



Author: Jason Seidling

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