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Aftermath: Penguins 4, Kings 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
The Penguins executed their 4-1 victor over the Los Angeles Kings with the precision of a steady-handed surgeon. Pittsburgh built a 4-0 lead and the outcome never appeared to be in doubt. It was a complete team effort and the Penguins were in control for the entire 60-minute contest.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -Sidney Crosby and NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Friday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves, and Tyler Kennedy and Bill Guerin added goals for Pittsburgh. The Penguins, tied with Philadelphia for fourth in the Eastern Conference, have won three straight to improve to 12-1-3 under interim coach Dan Bylsma.
 
PLAYOFF CHASE
 
 
Pos. Team GP Record Pts
4. Philadelphia 70 38-22-10 86
5. Pittsburgh 73 39-26-8 86
6. Carolina 73 38-28-7 83
7. NY Rangers 71 37-26-8 82
8. Montreal 71 36-26-9 81
9. Florida 71 35-26-10 80
10. Buffalo 71 34-29-8 76

                     
Team Notables:
Buffalo: Lost to Philadelphia, 6-4
Carolina: Defeated NY Islanders, 5-4
Florida: Hosts Columbus Saturday at 7 p.m.
Montreal: Hosts Toronto Saturday at 7 p.m.
NY Rangers: Hosts Buffalo Saturday at 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: Defeated Buffalo, 6-4
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Sidney Crosby stole the puck and scored a great backhand goal (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Execution
The best way to describe Pittsburgh game against Los Angeles is that the team put forth complete effort and executed its system to perfection. The Penguins dictated the play with their skating and tempo and the Kings couldn’t muster a counter punch.

What Could Have Gone Better: Goose Egg
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves in the game but came up one-goal shy of blanking Los Angeles. The Kings scored an improbable goal on a de facto five-on-two advantage. Fleury was flawless otherwise and its unfortunate he wasn’t rewarded with the shutout.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
It’s difficult to single out any one player so I’ll go with a three-way tie. Marc-Andre Fleury shut the door early and allowed Pittsburgh to build an insurmountable lead. He finished with 24 saves on 25 shots. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each tallied a goal and an assist.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
Sidney Crosby netted the first goal with one of the best individual efforts of the season. Justin Williams had the puck in the bottom of the far circle. Crosby anticipated that he would go cross ice to Jarret Stoll and intercepted the pass. He then pulled the puck away from Stoll’s poke-check and threw a backhand shot far side off the post and into the goal. Pittsburgh 1, Los Angeles 0.

The Penguins struck on the power play to up their lead in the game. Sergei Gonchar made a great play to keep a clearing attempt in the attacking zone. He raced over to the near wall along the blue line to stop the puck. Gonchar chipped it past two Kings and to Crosby. Crosby threw a pass to Evgeni Malkin, who sneaked to the opposite side of the goal. Malkin re-directed the puck into the net. Pittsburgh 2, Los Angeles 0.

Tyler Kennedy tallied his 13th goal of the season in the second period. Hal Gill sent a shot in on goal with the Kings defensemen playing high on the play. Kennedy got behind the D and backhanded the rebound into the goal. Pittsburgh 3, Los Angeles 0.

Pittsburgh scored its fourth goal of the game halfway through the second period. Malkin picked off a clearing attempt along the far halfway in the Los Angeles zone. He skated towards center ice, drawing in two Kings, and then dished the puck to Bill Guerin in the slot. Guerin whipped a shot into the upper-left corner for the score. Pittsburgh 4, Los Angeles 0.

The Los Angeles Kings netted their first goal with the benefit of a five-on-two opportunity. The Penguins had two men in the penalty box and Rob Scuderi broke his stick. The trio of Craig Adams, Maxime Talbot and Scuderi (with Adams’ stick) made a valiant effort to keep the Kings off the board. However, rookie Drew Doughty's slap shot deflect off of Michal Handzus and into the top-right corner from above the far circle. Pittsburgh 4, Los Angeles 1.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Evgeni Malkin and Los Angeles’ Jack Johnson scuffled in the first period. It started when the two were battling for a puck in the near corner of the Kings zone. The pushing and shoving continued as Malkin planted himself in the crease. Finally the linesmen stopped the play to separate the players. 
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh improved its record to 39-26-8 on the year, with a 21-11-3 mark at Mellon Arena, and hasn’t lost in regulation in its last 12 games (10-0-2).

> Pittsburgh is 12-1-3 since Dan Bylsma was named interim head coach.

> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S.Crosby (28), 12:23 1st period: Penguins 1, Kings 0
PIT, E.Malkin PP (33), 17:28 1st period: Penguins 2, Kings 0
PIT, T.Kennedy (13), 11:08 2nd period: Penguins 3, Kings 0
PIT, B.Guerin (19), 13:31 2nd period: Penguins 4, Kings 0
LA, M.Handzus PP (17), 7:27 3rd period: Penguins 4, Kings 1

> Evgeni Malkin tallied a goal and assist against Los Angeles to increase his NHL lead in points to 104 (33G-71A). Malkin’s 71 assists are a league-best and a new single-season career high.

> Malkin has tallied 30-plus goals (33) in three straight seasons and has broken the 100-point barrier (104) for the second consecutive season.

> Sidney Crosby tallied two points (1G-1A) against the Kings. He is second in the league in scoring with 94 points (28G-66A) and his 66 assists are second most in the league behind teammate Malkin’s 71. Crosby has an 12-game scoring streak, tallying 22 points (7G-15A) over that span.

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves to record his 30th victory. Fleury hasn’t lost a game in regulation since Feb. 22, going 9-0-2 in that stretch.

> Tyler Kennedy has three points (2G-1A) in his last four games.

> Bill Guerin has five points in his last three games (2G-3A).

> Mellon Arena sold out for the 102nd straight game with a standing room only attendance of 17,132. Pittsburgh is 65-28-9 in during that span.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. S.Crosby, PIT
2. E.Malkin, PIT
3. M.Fleury, PIT
"It was kind of a weird game with all the penalties and speical teams.
But we did a good job of getting a lead and keeping it."
- Sidney Crosby
 

 



Author: Sam Kasan

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