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Notebook: Adams, Rupp and Godard Grind it Down

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins’ “grinder” line of Craig Adams, Mike Rupp and Eric Godard played an inspired game in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Their highly aggressive forecheck stifled the Habs.

“I think we’ve been building some momentum by putting the puck behind the other team’s defense and making it hard on them,” Rupp said. “That’s getting in there and hitting and getting the puck. I think our offensive zone time was pretty good. That’s what we want to do.”

In a physical game that saw 79 hits spread between both teams (Pittsburgh 45, Montreal 34), Rupp lead the way with nine hits.

Godard and Adams combined for another six hits.

“We’re just trying to get the puck behind the defense and get in there and get hits,” Rupp said. “I think because we did that those hits presented themselves.

“It wasn’t a different mindset. We weren’t sitting in here saying ‘hey we’re going to try to get a lot of hits.’ We just did the right things with the puck and the hits presented themselves and we took them.”

The line was tearing it up in Montreal’s zone, spending the majority of its shifts holding the puck there.

“We always want to come out and get possession in the offensive zone,” Godard said. “That’s part of why we’re successful. It’s something we try to get to every night.

“Adams and Rupp work hard and they get the puck. It’s tough to get them off it. We just try to grind it out a bit, just try to take the puck to the net and be physical and aggressive.”

“(It’s) probably our best game collectively from our fourth line all year,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “They got the crowd and our bench going, getting into the offensive zone, being physical with their big bodies.

“Mike Rupp, Eric Godard and Craig had particularly strong games tonight.”

Talbot returns to the scoresheet
Resident “superstar” Max Talbot returned to the scoresheet for the first time since he returned to the lineup Nov. 19, by assisting Sidney Crosby’s first-period goal.

“It feels good. It definitely feels good,” Talbot said. “It feels good to play on the first line (with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin) and get some points and make a difference.

“Keeping up the tempo and having the fans and feeling the love feels really good.”

“I think Max is doing great,” Guerin said. “I love playing with him. He’s contributing all over the place. He plays his heart out every night. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Guerin said that getting back on the board after a long absence can help any player, but Talbot has been going above and beyond that.

“You’re looking for (that first point),” Guerin said. “You’re looking to get on the board. That’s no different for anybody else.

“But Max sometimes does things that aren’t going to show up on the scoreboard. He makes whoever he’s playing with better.”

The Streaking Penguins
After Wednesday’s win, the Penguins have three players on point streaks.

Crosby and Martin Skoula have notched points in three-straight games, with each player registering two goals and two assists in that span.

Russian force Evgeni Malkin now has points in four-straight games (2G-3A in that span).

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