Less than 24 hours after dropping an 8-4 decision in Ottawa, the Penguins bounced back with a solid effort in a 5-2 triumph against the New Jersey Devils at CONSOL Energy Center Sunday night.
“They played well, we knew it was going to be a tough game,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “We did some good things. I still think we’ve gotten better which is a good thing. We have a lot that we can still improve on. To bounce back that way after giving up big goals and not playing the way we wanted to, it was a great way to bounce back.”
Crosby, Pascal Dupuis
, Chris Kunitz
, Evgeni Malkin
and Jordan Staal
each recorded a goal and assist for Pittsburgh as the Pens won their 10th straight home game.
SUPER DUPERPascal Dupuis
is having the best season of his 10-year NHL career at the tender age of 32.
Dupuis scored a goal and assist against the Devils to extend his career-long points streak to 10 games, totaling eight goals and 13 points. The goal also extended his career-best single-season goal total to 23. He also recorded his 49th and 50th points of the year, marking a new season-high total (previously: 48, 2002-03 with Minnesota).More on Dupuis here.
SID-SATIONAL Sidney Crosby
is the best setup artist in the National Hockey League. But against the Devils, the man Crosby was setting up was himself.
Twice, Crosby re-directed a puck past defenseman Marek Zidlicky, skated the opposite was around the defender and sprung himself on a breakaway. On his first opportunity, Crosby sent a bomb on goal that goalie Martin Brodeur turned away. Crosby wouldn’t be denied on the second, sneaking a shot five-hole for a goal.
“The way I ended up getting positioned both times, I think I was probably caught too far ahead of the play,” Crosby said. “That was my only chance of really getting it by (Zidlicky). You’re really taking kind of a gamble there if he ends up taking the body. You’re not really in a great position to take a hit, but I was able to get my stick on it a couple of times. I was happy to finally put one in there.”
Crosby’s teammates were certainly impressed by the move.
“It’s a special move,” Dupuis said. “You see ‘Geno’ make these moves. You see Jordan. You see (Crosby). Only special players can do that. You get a different skillset when you’re able to make plays like that and make it look easy. Going down on Brodeur, it’s not an easy task as well.”
Both teams scored their first goal of the game off miscues from behind the net.
Brodeur, arguably the best stick-handling goaltender in NHL history, was stripped of the puck by Malkin behind the goal. Malkin found Chris Kunitz
, who easily tapped it into the vacant cage.
Then the Pens gave the goal right back. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
played a puck behind the net to Crosby. His attempted outlet pass was intercepted by Zach Parise, who easily scored while Fleury was still behind the cage.
Fleury was able to laugh about the incident after the game.
“That doesn’t happen often, on my side. That’s why I like (Crosby) on my team,” Fleury said. “It happens to anybody I guess. He makes up for it a lot of times so nothing to say against him.”
The Penguins had a few injury scares in the contest against New Jersey. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy
left the game in the first period briefly, but then returned to the bench. However, he didn’t come out of the second period and did not play the rest of the way.
Head coach Dan Bylsma said that Lovejoy suffered a lower-body injury and will be further evaluated Monday. Evgeni Malkin
was lost for a moment after he was struck in the hand on a slap shot from teammate Zbynek Michalek
. Malkin missed one shift, but returned and was all right. Kris Letang
had a couple of injury scares in the game. Letang had a head-to-head collision with Dainius Zubrus in the second period. He went to the locker room, but returned to the ice. In the third period, Letang’s skates were pulled out from under him and he slammed hard feet-first into the boards. Tough day at the office for Letang.
Author: Sam Kasan