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Aftermath: Penguins 6, Thrashers 3

by Tony Jovenitti / Pittsburgh Penguins
3 - 6

FINAL 1 2 3 T
2 0 1 3
PENGUINS 2 1 3 6
The two highest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference squared off at CONSOL Energy Center Tuesday night, and Pittsburgh came out with the 6-3 victory over Atlanta.

The Thrashers snagged the early lead thanks to a nice, sprawling pass by Alexander Burmistrov that set up a two-on-one goal for Evander Kane.

But the Penguins knotted the score halfway through the first period, thanks to some great handiwork by Kris Letang.

With the Penguins on a power play, it looked as if the Thrashers’ penalty kill was going to easily clear the puck up the middle. But Letang swooped in from the right point and stopped the puck with his skate. He skated down the slot and drew the Thrashers inward, which left Sidney Crosby wide open on Ondrej Pavelec’s low glove side.

The Penguins captain punched the puck in and extended his scoring streak to 25 games.

The Thrashers took the lead again on a power-play blast by the defensive cannon that is Dustin Byfuglien, the NHL’s highest scoring defenseman.

But after the Penguins emphatically killed an Alex Goligoski penalty, Crosby’s brilliance tied it right back up with a defense-splitting goal.

The home team took the lead in the middle of the second thanks to a shorthanded goal by Craig Adams. Nine seconds into the third period, Kunitz gave the Penguins a two-goal cushion. Then, Mark Letestu added an insurance goal 13 minutes later.

Letestu stole the puck and once again showed incredible patience to pull Pavelec out of position and buried the biscuit in the basket. Matt Cooke scored a few minutes later with a deflection of a Crosby blast from the point on a delayed penalty.

Eric Boulton rounded out the scoring when he slid a wrist shot past Fleury after a scramble in the crease with 3:19 remaining in the game.

The win marked the Penguins’ 11th victory in the past 13 tries at home.
Sidney Crosby
Sure, naming Sidney Crosby the player of the game sounds like the same old story, but at this point all fans can do is shake their head at his dominance.

He just can’t be stopped – not even by three Atlanta defenders.

Whereas Letang deserves much of the credit for Crosby’s first goal, Crosby’s skill is to blame for his second goal and his two assists.

After Goligoski left the penalty box, he sent the puck to Crosby at the blue line. The Penguins captain faced two Atlanta defenders, with one closing in on his side. But Crosby split the defense and drove down the slot on a breakaway.

He patiently skated toward Pavelec, and finally snapped the puck up high past the goaltender’s glove side.

His hard work resulted in another goal off the first faceoff in the third period. He hustled into the offensive zone and used his body to skate past Zach Bogosian to set up Kunitz’s 10th goal of the season.

Near the end of the game, he blasted a slapper from the high slot on a delayed penalty near the end of the game, and Cooke re-directed it into the net. The crowd, though, thought Crosby scored the goal, and hats rained down on the ice. Crosby and Cooke both laughed about it on the bench until their next shift.

Crosby finished with four points (2G-2A) on four shots. He won 56 percent of his faceoffs (10-of-18) and logged 15:43 of ice time.

He now has 65 points on the season (32G-33A), which puts him 13 points ahead in the NHL’s scoring race and three goals ahead of Steven Stamkos for the most goals in the league.
After both teams traded goals in the first period, the Penguins found themselves in some penalty trouble in the middle frame. The penalty kill had been solid as usual, but it did allow a Byfuglien blast to tickle the twine.

No matter, though. The PK made up for it.

With Brooks Orpik, one of the Penguins’ best penalty killers in the box, the Penguins not only killed the Thrashers’ man-advantage, they took the lead.

After the Penguins sent the puck into Atlanta’s zone, Matt Cooke pressured two Thrashers behind the goal. His hard work paid off and forced Atlanta to turn the puck over. Cooke then found Craig Adams, who missed a great backhand opportunity in the first period. Adams had just jumped off the bench and flew down the slot to smack the puck past Pavelec for his second shorty of the season.

The Penguins now have seven shorthanded goals this season.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Sidney Crosby scored twice during a four-point night to extend his scoring streak to 25 games, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their final home game before the Winter Classic by beating the Atlanta Thrashers 6-3 on Tuesday.

Crosby twice answered Thrashers goals by scoring in the first period, then set up Chris Kunitz's goal 9 seconds into the third period and another by Matt Cooke. Craig Adams also scored short-handed for Pittsburgh, which has won 16 of 19.

Crosby, who will try to extend his streak against the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, is the first NHL player to have a streak this long since Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux's 28-game run to begin the 1995-96 season, according to STATS LLC.

The Penguins captain, peaking just as the NHL's midseason outdoor game against Washington approaches on Saturday, continues to torment the Thrashers, who have lost their last nine in Pittsburgh.
• Crosby’s still streaking - thanks to his four points, he now has a point in 25-straight games. The Penguins captain is currently riding the longest scoring streak since Mats Sundin’s 30-game streak in 1992-93.  In those 25 games, Crosby lit the lamp 26 times. His 24 helpers give him 50 points in the past 25 contests. He leads the NHL with 32 goals (three more than second-place Steven Stamkos) and 65 points (13 more than Stamkos)

• With Cooke’s assist on Adams’ goal, he now has five shorthanded points this season. That moves him into a tie for first place in the league with the New York Rangers’ Brandon Prust.

• Atlanta came into Pittsburgh as the Eastern Conference’s highest scoring team with 120 goals, while the Penguins had 119. Thanks to the Penguins’ six-goal victory, Pittsburgh now occupies the top spot with 125 goals

Chris Kunitz extended his own scoring streak to four games, tallying two goals and three assists in that span.

• The Penguins improved to 11-1-1 in their past 13 home games. Pittsburgh’s offense is averaging 3.77 goals per game during that stretch.

• In February, the Thrashers traded star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey in exchange for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors and a first-round pick.  Atlanta also received prospect Patrice Cormier, and the Thrashers called up the 20-year old center before the game in Pittsburgh. Cormier registered a shot, a hit and a block in his first NHL game. Head coach Craig Ramsay said, “We feel strongly that (Cormier) is going to have a big impact on the franchise.”
#1. Sidney Crosby
  Center - 87
2 goals
2 assists
plus-3 rating
#2. Matt Cooke
  Left Wing - 24
1 goal
1 assist
3 shots
#3. Craig Adams
  Center - 27
4 hits

Author: Tony Jovenitti

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