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Aftermath: Penguins 4, Hurricanes 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins scored three goals in a 3:36 span, including two goals 32 seconds apart, in the third period en route to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at Mellon Arena. The Penguins turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage in 32 seconds on goals by Sidney Crosby and a Ruslan Fedotenko. Crosby tipped an Evgeni Malkin slap shot into the net off of Hurricanes goalkeeper Michael Leighton’s shoulder on a power play. Fedotenko scored the game-winner, his first goal as a Penguin, on a one-timer off of a great setup pass by Jordan Staal. Only 3:04 minutes later, Max Talbot scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway after getting around defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Malkin scored on an empty net to finish out a four-goal third period by Pittsburgh. The Penguins trailed 1-0 after the first period when Hurricanes' rookie Brandon Sutter scored his first career NHL goal.

  Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora celebrate Pittsburgh's third-period goal (photo by Getty Images)
What Worked: Third Period
Pittsburgh has had some ugly third periods this season. Thursday night, the Penguins put together the most complete third period of the season. They took the play to Carolina the entire period and their efforts paid off. They scored four goals, including three in a 3:36 span. In only 32 seconds, Pittsburgh flipped a 1-0 deficit into a one-goal lead. Crosby scored a power-play goal and Fedotenko nailed a one-timer for the lead. Talbot added an insurance goal and Malkin iced the game with his empty netter.

What Didn't Work: First Period
The Penguins had a number of turnovers and sloppy play in the first period. Carolina created the majority of its opportunities in the first frame. However, Marc-Andre Fleury was there to keep the score close until Pittsburgh broke the game open.
Jordan Staal played an inspired game against his older brother's team (Eric Staal is his brother, in case you haven't heard; I'll bet you have). He setup Ruslan Fedotenko’s game-winning goal with a great cross-ice pass in the slot that Fedotenko buried. Staal had a number of quality scoring opportunities himself and was going to the net hard. He almost setup Fedotenko for another goal shortly after the winner. Staal fought for puck possession behind the Carolina net and threw a pass to Fedotneko in the right slot but Leighton smothered the shot. Staal was physical and cycled hard along the boards, fighting for loose pucks and winning those battle.

On one occasion he hustled on a dumped pass and stole the puck off of Leighton’s stick. He quickly threw a pass in front of the net, but no one was there to pick it up. He also back checked to prevent a Hurricanes player from retrieving a loose puck in the offensive zone, lifting the opponent's stick to gain possession, and then sent a shot towards the net that Malkin nearly redirected in. Staal registered one assist, logged 19:34 minutes of ice time, recorded three shots and won 67 percent of his faceoffs.
Brandon Sutter scored his first career goal in the first period in a four-on-four situation. The 19-year-old rookie intercepted a Brooks Orpik pass at the Penguins blue line. Sutter sent a backhand shot through Fleury’s legs for a 1-0 lead in the first period. Orpik’s pass either hit a bad chip of ice or he fanned on it because it sputtered off of his stick.

Crosby created a great opportunity in the second period. He pushed the puck through the neutral zone and created a two-on-one with Miroslav Satan. He pushed the puck to Satan across the blue line and then went to the net. Satan made a nice feed back and Crosby redirected the puck towards Leighton, who got his right pad on the shot. Crosby’s momentum carried him to the boards and he slammed his stick in frustration. I love seeing that competitiveness in Crosby. That’s what makes him the best player in the world.

The Tyler Kennedy-Maxime Talbot-Satan line was the best line on the ice tonight. They notched the third goal of the game on a great individual effort by Talbot. Kennedy sent a pass to a streaking Talbot, who pushed the puck between the legs of Hurricanes’ defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Talbot raced around Seidenberg for a breakaway and then threw the puck between the legs of Leighton. Talbot nearly had a second goal near the end of the third period when he stole a bouncing puck for another breakaway attempt, but was stopped by Leighton on this occasion.

The tandem also registered a great shift towards the end of the second period, with help from Alex Goligoski and Darryl Sydor. They held the puck in the offensive zone for what seemed like an eternity and created a number of scoring opportunities. The Penguins hustled to loose pucks and cycled deep on the play. When Carolina finally got the puck out of their zone, Penguins fans gave them a much deserved standing ovation.

Pittsburgh really took the play to the Hurricanes in the second half of the game. Starting late in the second period, the Penguins built momentum that carried over into the third frame. Carolina was running around in its own zone and was back on its heels. If it weren’t for Leighton playing well in the net, Pittsburgh would have netted six or seven goals in the game.

Crosby made an incredible redirection on his power-play goal. Malkin kept a clearing attempt in the Carolina zone and wound-up a slap shot from the point. The high riser hit Crosby’s stick and then went off of Leighton’s shoulder and into the net.

Malkin showed off his great skating ability in the Carolina zone, weaving in, out and around defenders as they attempted helplessly to get the puck out of the zone.

Fleury made a sprawling save in the second period to keep it a 1-0 Carolina lead. He made a save on the top right of his crease but couldn't control the rebound. Sergei Samsonov pulled in the puck and pulled a wrap-around. Fleury dove on the ice to the other side of the net and smothered the puck.

Speaking of Fleury, the Penguins goaltender took a shot at scoring an empty-net goal when he sent a dumped puck towards the Carolina net with a little over a minute to play and with Pittsburgh holding a 3-1 lead. The puck seemed on track for a score before it gradually slid a couple feet to the left of the net.

Crosby did a great job on the penalty killing unit. He skated the puck into the Hurricanes zone and did a spin-o-rama to get away from one Carolina defender. He then did another spin to get separation before skating the puck out of the zone and towards his own net while the penalty minutes ticked away.

Paul Bissonnette went toe-to-toe with former Penguin Dan LaCouture in the first period. Eric Godard dropped the gloves with Wade Brookbank in round 2. Godard got the worst of that fight, taking a series of shots to the head. But he did display his toughness when at one point Woodbank fell to the ice and Godard pulled him back up on his skates to continue the fight.

Etc. – The Penguins outshot Carolina in the game, 35-25, including 23-15 in the first two periods. Pittsburgh talked about staying disciplined in the game to keep Carolina’s power play at bay. The Hurricanes only had one power-play opportunity, which was promptly killed.
> Pittsburgh improved to 5-2-1 on the season, and 3-1-1 at Mellon Arena.

> The Penguins won their third straight game, currently the longest streak of the season.
> Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 9-3 in the last three games, all wins.

> Brandon Sutter scored his first career NHL goal at 13:07 of the first period to give Carolina a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh tied it in the third period on a power-play goal by Sidney Crosby, who deflected an Evgeni Malkin slap shot at 8:15. Ruslan Fedotenko scored the go-ahead goal 32 seconds later on a setup by Jordan Staal. Maxime Talbot notched the Penguins third goal at 11:51 of the third. Malkin finished out the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:09.

> Malkin recorded a goal and assist for a two-point game. It’s Malkin’s third multi-point game of the season. He’s recorded a point in seven of Pittsburgh’s eight games this season. Malkin’s compiled 10 points (2G-8A) in the last four games.

> Malkin leads the NHL with 13 points this season on three goals and 10 assists.

> Crosby also notched a goal and assist for a two-point game, which is his third multi-point game this season. He has recorded nine points (2G-7A) in the last four games.

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for his fourth win of the season and 80th of his career. His 223 saves this season are the most by any goaltender in the NHL.

> Ruslan Fedotenko scored his first goal of the season and first as a Penguin.

> Max Talbot registered his first goal of the season at 11:51 of the third period. Until Thursday night, Talbot had been previously been shutout on the score sheet.

> Mellon Arena sold out for the 72nd straight game with a standing-room attendance of 17,132.
1.Sidney Crosby, PIT
2. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
3. Max Talbot, PIT
"It's about time."
Max Talbot on scoring his first goal of the season
Game Recap (AP)
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