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Aftermath: Penguins 5, Hurricanes 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
Pittsburgh showed resolve after a disappointing shootout loss to the New York Rangers. The Penguins weathered an early storm by the Hurricanes, who came out flying to impress their new (old) head coach Paul Maurice. Dany Sabourin made several key saves to keep Carolina off the scoreboard.

After the initial Carolina flurry, Pittsburgh was in complete control for the rest of the game. The Penguins power play, which has struggled of late, came alive with two power-play goals on three chances. The Penguins also capitalized on several Carolina turnovers and breakdowns to score five goals in the game.

The Penguins played one of their most complete games of the year on both ends of the ice and are riding high with a 10-2-2 mark over the last 14 games.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -The Pittsburgh Penguins found a simple way to hold on to a lead, for a change: Play a team that's having trouble scoring - no matter who its coach is. 

Petr Sykora scored two goals, Sidney Crosby had four assists and the Penguins routed Carolina 5-2 Thursday night to spoil the start of Paul Maurice's second stint coaching the slumping Hurricanes.

Pascal Dupuis scored an early goal and NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin added two assists, even as his league lead over Crosby dwindled to two.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Dany Sabourin makes a glove save against the Carolina Hurricanes (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked: Bounce Back
Pittsburgh suffered a bitter shootout loss to the New York Rangers and had the exhausting task of playing the following night in a different city. The Penguins responded with a complete effort and looked better rested than the Hurricanes, who played on three days rest. The Penguins responded to the task.

What Didn't Work: Sykora’s Hat Trick
Once again, Petr Sykora was on the cusp of a hat trick…and once again, he came up short. Sykora has 38 two-goal games in his career and has never scored three in one game. He holds the unenvied distinction of having the most two-goal games without notching a hat trick in NHL history.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Petr Sykora further cemented his reputation as a power-play sniper with two goals on the man-advantage against Carolina. That second goal was also his 100th career power-play tally. Sykora now has three power-play goals in his past three games. Of the seven goals Sykora has this year, six have come with the man-advantage. Although, Sykora continued his odd distinction of having the most two-goal games without recording a hat trick in NHL history.

Honorable Mention: Sidney Crosby, who continued his stellar play by recording four assists. It was his third four-point game of the season and 11th of his career. He has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in his last five games. Crosby is probably the difference maker in most games and I didn’t want to take his performance for granted.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Mike Zigomanis and Tyler Kennedy did not play against the Hurricanes. They both suffered undisclosed injuries in Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers. Kennedy flew to Pittsburgh to be examined by a doctor. Zigomanis is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, defenseman Philippe Boucher was placed on injured reserve. 

The Penguins called up Chris Minard and Janne Pesonen from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to fill the voids of Kennedy and Zigomanis. Minard was paired with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke. Minard looked particularly impressive, especially in the early going. He was flying all over the ice, creating chances and handing out checks. Minard finished with a team-high five hits.

Dany Sabourin played great in the early part of the first period. The Hurricanes registered eight shots in the first seven minutes but couldn’t get on the board. Sabourin made a big save early against a Hurricanes power play. Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo took a shot from the point. Sabourin got his blocker on the puck but it bounced in the crease. Sabourin was able to cover before Ray Whitney, who was standing in the crease, could get wood on the puck. Sabourin helped Pittsburgh weather an early storm of chances by Carolina.

Sidney Crosby showed some leadership when he got in the face of Tuomo Ruutu after the Hurricanes forward took a run at Alex Goligoski. Ruutu drilled the Penguins rookie defenseman from behind. Crosby gave him a shoulder shot and then exchanged words with Ruutu, who was given a two-minute boarding penalty.

Kris Letang took a shift on the Penguins top power-play unit opposite Evgeni Malkin at the point. It may have been due to Goligoski having just been planted face-first into the boards but should give Letang a little confidence boost.

Petr Sykora gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead with his 99th career power-play goal. Goligoski entered the zone and dropped the puck to Crosby. Crosby skated towards the goal and sent a pass to Sykora in the high slot. All three Hurricanes players in the zone dropped back. No one from Carolina stepped up on the play to challenge Sykora. With the extra space, Sykora wristed the puck into the top left corner over Hurricanes goaltender Michael Leighton, who was deep in his crease.

Pascal Dupuis was rewarded for his great effort with his third goal of the season. Former Penguin Joseph Melichar fanned on an attempt to pass the puck out of the Hurricanes zone. Dupuis pressured Melichar as he tried to recover. The puck slid free to Crosby, who was all alone in the slot. Dupuis jumped into the play to create a two-on-none chance as Melichar desperately tried to get back into the play. Crosby lured Leighton to him and then sent a quick pass to Dupuis for the one-timer goal.

Sykora netted his 100th career power-play goal, and second power-play goal of the game, when he banged home a rebound with Ruutu in the box. Malkin blasted a shot on the net from the point. Leighton made the save but the rebound came right to Sykora to the side of the crease. Sykora kicked the puck to his backhand, then flipped it to his forehand and snapped the puck across the goal line.

Nineteen seconds later, Ruutu, who was in the penalty box for Sykora’s second power-play goal, made up for his penalty by scoring his ninth goal of the season. Sergei Samsonov sent a centering pass to Ruutu in the slot. Ruutu went backhand-forehand and sent a wicked wrister into the net.

Letang helped setup the fourth Pittsburgh goal from his own zone. With four Hurricanes crossing the blue line, Letang stole the puck and sent a quick transition pass the other way. Miroslav Satan and Dupuis came into the Carolina zone on a two-on-one opportunity. Satan faked a pass, drawing the defenseman to the ice. He then faked a shot, causing Leighton to drop to his knees. Satan then skated the puck around Leighton and sent a centering pass into the crease. Carolina’s Chad LaRose came diving to block the puck but it went off of his skate and into the net.

Sabourin made two consecutive saves on Samsonov. An errant pass came to Samsonov in the far circle. He sent a shot on net that Sabourin got his left toe on. The rebound came back to Samsonov. Sabourin was off balance but managed to hug Samsonov’s rebound opportunity.

Matt Cullen registered a point for the fourth straight game when he scored Carolina’s second goal of the game on a power play. Cullen sent a slap shot on net from above the circles that deflected off of Jordan Staal’s stick and sneaked by Sabourin.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored his fifth goal of the season at 18:27 of the second period. The Hurricanes mishandled a puck at their own blue line. Malkin picked up the turnover and sent a shot on net that sneacked under the left arm of Leighton and died in the crease. Fedotenko beat Joni Pitkanen to the puck with a diving effort. Fedotenko and the puck ended up in the Carolina goal.

Brooks Orpik dished out a little payback to Ruutu with a big-league check in the neutral zone that sent the winger spinning on his way towards a facedown landing on the ice.

Sabourin made the save of the game on Pitkanen. Carolina had a two-on-one when Whitney sent a cross-ice pass to Pitkanen. He one-timed the shot but Sabourin came sliding tall to his right to stop the puck.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh improved to 15-6-4 on the year, with an 8-3-2 mark on the road. Pittsburgh is 10-2-2 in its last 14 games.

> Petr Sykora scored a power-play goal at 10:53 of the first period to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. Pascal Dupuis increased the Penguins’ lead, 2-0, with his third goal of the year 1:37 later. Five total goals were scored in the second period. Sykora recorded his second man-advantage goal at 1:53 of the second period for a 3-1 Pittsburgh lead. The team’s exchanged goals the rest of the way. Tuomo Ruutu scored his ninth of the year 19 seconds after Pittsburgh’s goal. Miroslav Satan notched his 10th of the year at 6:51. Carolina’s Matt Cullen scored a power-play goal to make it a 4-2 game. Ruslan Fedotenko rounded out the scoring with his fifth goal of the campaign at the 18:27 mark.

> Pittsburgh was outshot by the Hurricanes by a 36-22 margin. Pittsburgh has only been outshot three times in its past 14 games and has a 10-2-2 record over the span.

> Malkin recorded two assists against the Carolina Hurricanes to increase his NHL lead with 41 points (10G-31A). Malkin’s 31 assists are also a league best. Malkin is on pace for a 100-assist season (102). Only three players in NHL history have recorded a 100-assist season (Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzkey and Bobby Orr).

> Crosby recorded four assists against the Hurricanes. It was his third four-point game of the season and 11th of his career. Crosby quietly climbed the rankings and is now second in the league in scoring with 39 points (13G-26A). His 26 assists are second most in the league, behind only teammate Malkin’s 31. Crosby has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in his past five games.

> The Penguins have the top two scorers in the NHL in Malkin (10+31=41) and Crosby (13+26=39). The last time Pittsburgh had the top two scorers in the league was the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux (first) and Jaromir Jagr (second) topped the NHL. The team also had that distinction when Lemieux (first) and Kevin Stevens (second) did it in 1991-92.

> Dany Sabourin made 34 saves against the Hurricanes for his sixth win of the year. He’s 5-1-2 in his past nine starts (with one no decision).

> Sykora scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season with two power-play goals. Six of his seven goals have come on the man-advantage.

> Satan is tied for second on the team with 10 goals this season after notching a goal against the Hurricanes. He led the team with three shots.

> Dupuis scored his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 18, a 16-game span.

> Fedotenko scored his first goal in seven games and fifth of the year.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. Sidney Crosby, PIT
2. Petr Sykora, PIT
3. Dany Sabourin, PIT
“We wanted to bounce back. We knew we had to show some
character here today. We did a great job and came
up with a big win.
- Sidney Crosby told FSN Pittsburgh
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

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