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Notebook: Fedotenko Back on the Horse

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins
Ruslan Fedotenko scored his first goal in 13 games Saturday as the Penguins defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in an overtime contest.

“It feels great,” Fedotenko said. “I feel like I need to help out the team to win games. It’s not all about the scoring, but you want to help out on the scoreboard.”

The play began with some hard work by Mike Rupp along the boards, taking on two Panthers and freeing the puck to Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin found Fedotenko heading toward the net, where he buried the puck to put the Penguins up 2-1.

“I felt like it was a great play by the whole line,” Fedotenko said. “It was a good dump and Rupper just took two guys in the corner with one hit. Geno came up with the puck and saw me at the back door and just made a crisp pass, pretty much a back-door play.

“I was not sure if he was going to pass it or if he was going to shoot. He saw me in the end and made a nice pass. I’m glad that it went in. It didn’t jump on me, didn’t bounce. It feels good.”

Dupuis Continues to Show Offensive Force

The ever-speedy Pascal Dupuis now has four points in three games, adding a goal in Saturday’s victory.

Dupuis took a pass from Craig Adams at the Florida blue line. He streaked down the left wing, past fallen Panthers defender Dmitry Kulikov and fired a shot just under the crossbar, beating Florida netminder Tomas Vokoun.

“I just turned around and I saw the defenseman was down and I skated in and had the net,” Dupuis said. “I just tried to put it in.”

“We were in a set breakout and Alex Goligoski tried to pass me the puck up the middle,” Adams said. “It went over my stick right to their defenseman. But he lost it and the puck came right back to me. I knew Dupuis was coming up the side with speed so I just laid it out there for him and he made a nice move.”

Dupuis, who is also a plus-4 over the past 3 games, commented on his recent success.

“I’m playing the puck on net and it’s going in right now,” Dupuis said. “I’m pretty glad, pretty happy.”

“It’s great,” Adams said of Dupuis’ point streak. “He’s a guy that’s scored goals in the past. We know he can do it. He’s got the talent to do it. You can tell he’s feeling it right now, shooting pucks. They’re big goals, all of them.”

Johnson Saves Game With Minutes Left

Brent Johnson picked up his fourth win of the season Saturday night, making a huge save on former-Penguin Jeff Taffe with only minutes remaining in the third period.

Taffe was sprung on a clear breakaway and Johnson slammed the door to keep the game tied, 2-2.

“Taffe came down. I know him from playing out in Phoenix,” Johnson said. “After I made the save the puck went behind the net. Then it came out and it was lying under me after another shot.

“(Taffe) says to me ‘Why couldn’t you let that in? Johnny, why couldn’t you let that in?’ It was just one of those things where they got an opportunity and I had to make a save at the end.”

Johnson kept the Penguins in the game en route to the 3-2 overtime win.

“I wanted to go out and play a very contained game, make saves, help the guys win,” Johnson said. “It was one of those nights where we couldn’t get anything on the power play until the end. It was the best one to get.

“We tried hard all game and we got the effort in the end.”

Kunitz Returns to the Lineup

Chris Kunitz returned the lineup Saturday after missing the last 13 games with a lower-body injury.

Kunitz registered two hits in the game and hopes to be back up to game speed very soon.

“Getting back into game shape and the speed of the game, it’s tough to come in when you’ve only been practicing for a few days, but hopefully that will come,” Kunitz said. “I’m looking forward to keeping going here.

“It was always a building process and trying to get to 100 percent. I think I felt fine.
Everything felt good. It’s just reads in the game and getting back up to game speed. Hopefully it will just take a few periods. Everything went pretty good I think.”

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