|The Penguins offense exploded for eight goals and three power-play scores, leaving a mushroom cloud and devastated Senators team in their wake. Powered by Evgeni Malkin’s fourth career hat trick, Bill Guerin (2G-2A) and Chris Kunitz’s (1G-3A) four point nights and Marc-Andre Fleury’s 45-save performance, Pittsburgh easily discarded the Ottawa Senators with an 8-2 victory. |
Fleury was the difference maker early in the game, stopping 23 of 24 shots in the first period to keep the game close. The offense shined in the second period with five goals to transform a tight 1-1 game into an insurmountable 6-1 lead.
The Penguins cruised in the final period as Malkin scored his third goal to cap his hat trick as fans littered the ice with hats and Penguins stockings, which were handed out to all the fans in attendance.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|PITTSBURGH (AP) - Evgeni Malkin had his fourth career hat trick, Bill Guerin added two goals and two assists, and the Pittsburgh Penguins headed into the holiday break tied atop the league standings after routing the Ottawa Senators 8-2 Wednesday night. |
Guerin and Chris Kunitz tied a club record with four points apiece during Pittsburgh's five-goal second period, when Ruslan Fedotenko also scored.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Evgeni Malkin recorded his fourth career hat trick vs. Ottawa
(photo by Getty)
|What Went Well: Second Period |
The Penguins offense broke out with five goals. Bill Guerin (2G-2A) and Chris Kunitz (1G-3A) both tied franchise records with four points in one period and Pittsburgh turned a 1-1 game into a 6-1 lead and a decisive 8-2 victory.
What Could Have Gone Better: First Period
The Penguins scored the opening goal but still spent the majority of the opening period on their heels. The Senators outshot the Penguins, 24-9. Thanks to some spectacular goaltending by Marc-Andre Fleury, who surrendered only one goal, the Penguins were able to survive and set up the second-period onslaught.
|Bill Guerin played one of his best games in a Penguins uniform after scoring two goals, both on the power play, and added two assists for a four-point game. What’s more, all four of his points came in the second period, tying a franchise record for points in one period. |
Guerin also had a game-high nine shots to with one blocked shot and 17:04 minutes of ice time.
HONORABLE MENTION: Evgeni Malkin. He broke a scoring slump by posting his fourth career hat trick with three goals in the contest. He nearly had four goals but one was disallowed due to a penalty called against the Penguins.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Penguins struck first in the contest early in the first period with a power-play tally. Sidney Crosby made a great pass from the near wall, sneaking the puck through the middle of Ottawa’s box, to Evgeni Malkin creeping in the backdoor. Malkin one-timed the puck into the vacant cage for the score. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 0. |
The Senators tied the game with 6:55 left in the opening frame. Peter Regin won a faceoff in the near circle and pushed the puck back to the point. Anton Volchenkov laid into a slap shot that sailed past Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 1.
The Penguins added to their led with another power-play goal one minute into the second period. Bill Guerin collected the puck along the near goal line. He made a strong move to the net and his shot was stopped by Pascal Leclaire. Guerin retrieved his own rebound and deposited it into the goal. Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 1.
Pittsburgh scored its third goal of the game thanks to a great individual effort by Jordan Staal. Staal leveled Alex Kovalev in the near corner of the Penguins zone. He then juked a Senator before skating the puck all the way into the Ottawa zone. After a give-and-go with Maxime Talbot, Staal set up Ruslan Fedotenko for an easy one-timer into an open net. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 1.
The Penguins scored their fourth goal of the game 11 minutes into the second period. Guerin had the puck above the near circle and threw a centering feed to Chris Kunitz. Kunitz, who was in the high slot, re-directed the pass between the legs of Leclair. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1.
The Penguins posted their fifth goal and third power-play tally of the game with 6:03 left in the second frame. Evgeni Malkin started the play by chipping a missed Ottawa shot out of the Pittsburgh zone and ahead to Kunitz, springing a three-on-one. Kunitz hit Crosby, who then found Guerin in the slot. Guerin converted the goal for his second of the game. Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 1.
Pittsburgh converted its sixth goal of the game and fifth of the second period on Malkin’s second of the contest. Kunitz got the puck to Malkin below the far circle. Malkin blasted the puck into the goal past a sprawling Leclaire. Pittsburgh 6, Ottawa 1.
Pittsburgh scored its seventh goal of the game two minutes into the final frame. Matt Cooke found Sergei Gonchar in the slot. Gonchar one-timed a shot behind Brian Elliott, who replaced Leclaire at the start of the third period. Pittsburgh 7, Ottawa 1.
Malkin registered his fourth career hat trick with his third goal of the game six minutes into the third period. Malkin poked the puck away from a Senator and won a race to the free puck. Malkin carried the puck into the zone with Crosby on a two-on-none. Malkin passed to Crosby in the high slot and Crosby gave it right back. Malkin buried the shot for the trick. Pittsburgh 8, Ottawa 1.
The Senators added a late goal in the third period from Chris Kelly. Pittsburgh 8, Ottawa 2.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|Marc-Andre Fleury put together a phenomenal performance against the Senators. He made 23 saves, an entire night’s work, in the first period alone. He finished the game with 45 saves. Fleury made a great save on a one-timer opportunity by Peter Regin in the slot. Fleury also made back-to-back saves on Milan Michalek and Regin during a lengthy offensive zone possession by Ottawa. Fleury weathered the early Senators’ storm and allowed Pittsburgh to pull away. |
The Penguins thought they had gained a 2-1 lead with under two minutes left in the first period only to watch the referee waive the goal off. Sidney Crosby made a cross-ice pass to Evgeni Malkin, who was positioned on the opposite side of the crease. Malkin easily tapped the puck into the net but a slashing penalty on Ruslan Fedotenko. Reference source not found. negated the score.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson left the game in the first period and did not return after a jarring hit by Craig Adams into the boards knocked off his helmet. Ottawa’s Milan Michalek mobbed Adams and the two scrapped to the ice as Alfredsson went immediately to the runway.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Pittsburgh improved to 26-11-1 on the season with a 13-6-1 mark at Mellon Arena. The Penguins have only lost three times in regulation in their last 16 contests (12-3-1). |
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, E.Malkin PP (11), 4:37 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 0
OTT, A.Volchenkov (3), 13:05 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 1
PIT, B.Guerin PP (10), 1:03 2nd period: Penguins 2, Senators 1
PIT, R.Fedotenko (7), 7:35 2nd period: Penguins 3, Senators 1
PIT, C.Kunitz (5), 11:25 2nd period: Penguins 4, Senators 1
PIT, B.Guerin PP (11), 13:57 2nd period: Penguins 5, Senators 1
PIT, E.Malkin (12), 18:27 2nd period: Penguins 6, Senators 1
PIT, S.Gonchar (5), 1:43 3rd period: Penguins 7, Senators 1
PIT, E.Malkin (13), 6:33 3rd period: Penguins 8, Senators 1
> The Penguins are now 44-14-5 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 23-7-2 at Mellon Arena.
> Also under Bylsma, the Penguins are now: 26-2-1 when leading after two periods, 29-2-2 when scoring the first goal (15-2 this season) and 29-0 when scoring four or more goals (15-0 this season).
> Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin each tied a Penguins’ record with four points in one period (the second). Guerin finished the game with two goals, two assists and nine shots, while Kunitz had one goal and three assists. Eact player tied their personal career highs with four points.
> Marc-Andre Fleury made a season-high 45 saves to improved to 22-9-1 on the season. He has only lost two games in regulation in his last 14 starts (11-2-1).
> Sidney Crosby posted three assists and now has 21 points (10G-11A) in the last 11 games he’s played.
> Evgeni Malkin posted his fourth career hat trick with three goals in the contest. He now has 12 points (5G-7A) in his past 10 games.
> Sergei Gonchar posted three points in the game with one goal and two assists.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. M.Fleury |
|“We wanted to come out and have a strong game. We got big efforts from everybody.” |