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Notebook: Guerin Gone Wild

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins
Wily veteran Bill Guerin made it two thirds of the way to a Gordie Howe hat trick in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, scoring a goal and dropping the gloves with Ryan Getzlaf.

“I’ve had a few of those nights, kind of the way I’ve played my whole career,” Guerin said. “I’m playing my best when I’m doing things like that.

“I’m not going to fight every night, but just playing a physical game, being around the net and shooting the puck when I get an opportunity.”

After a goalless streak that lasted 11 games, Guerin has now scored in back-to-back games.

He says his age, he turned 39 last week, and wisdom helped to keep him under control and get back up on the horse.

“I’m handling the ups and downs better as I get older,” Guerin said. “When you’re younger you feel like the world’s crashing in on you because you haven’t scored in a few games.

As you get older you learn how to roll with it and take the positive out of things. As long as your team’s winning that’s the important thing. - Bill Guerin
“As you get older you learn how to roll with it and take the positive out of things. As long as your team’s winning that’s the important thing.”

To his teammates, Guerin stands out as a true leader and a shining example of a professional hockey player.

“He’s been getting better every game and really taking over and helping to be a leader on this team, and leading by example,” Matt Cooke said. “When you see him go out there and do that, he’s almost 40, so the young guys have to respect that.”

“He’s such a smart player,” Jordan Staal said. “He always finds the openings. He had a great goal, found the right spot. He knows how to fire it. At the same time he works well down low, just being in the right position in the right time.”

And even though he came up an assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick, head coach Dan Bylsma was still proud of Guerin’s performance Monday.

“He got the hard part of the Gordie Howe,” Bylsma said. “Both parts that he got are great to see, the edge to his game, his shot from the crease, the guy two nights in a row now has gotten back seeing that shot that he’s put in the net numerous times in his career.

“When he is at his best he plays with an edge and tonight you saw that from him.”

Lovejoy Spreads the…Assists

Ben Lovejoy, who gathered his first NHL point in Saturday’s 6-5 overtime win over Boston, earned another assist against the Ducks. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton call up has points in back-to-back games.

“I’m turning into an offensive defenseman out there,” Lovejoy laughed. “I got a nice pass up the wall and just went D-to-D with Skoula and he took a nice shot. It just kind of had eyes.

“I’ve never been a real point producer, but I do my best to get up the ice and join the play and some good things have happened.”

With Pittsburgh’s fine core of offensive defensemen sidelined, the time is now for Lovejoy to make the most out of every chance.

“I’m certainly getting an opportunity,” Lovejoy said “I started with the second unit tonight on the power play and when we got up a few goals I went out there on the first unit kind of as a defensive replacement. They put Malkin up front.

“My job when I’m out there is to get pucks to the net and hopefully guys can bang in rebounds. I’m not going to do anything too fancy. That’s my goal.”

Engelland Records First NHL Point

Defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Nov. 7, recorded his first NHL point, an assist, in Monday’s game.

The goal came as Pittsburgh was busy killing off a penalty. Engelland’s persistence allowed him to clear the puck out of the Penguins zone and make a nifty pass to Jordan Staal.

Staal was pretty open. I had a bad clearing (attempt) on the PK and everyone slowed up. Staal kept going and it came back on my tape and I was lucky to find him. - Deryk Engelland

The play sprung Staal on a semi-breakaway and he managed to put the puck past Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

“It’s not you’re first thought (collecting an assist) when you go out there for the PK,” Engelland said. “But I’ll take it.”

Jordan Staal: Sharing is Caring

Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal teamed up for four points in Monday’s game (Cooke, 2G; Staal, 1G-1A).

Staal finished the game with a plus-3 rating, while Cooked earned a plus-2.

“He’s a hard worker and plays in the corners and that’s the way I like to play, too,” Staal said about Cooke.

Cooke’s second goal of the night was an empty-net tap set up by Staal. The 21-year-old forward couldn’t resist the chance to poke fun at his teammate.

“I saw Cookie battling to get up the ice so I decided to give him a favor,” Staal laughed. “He’s pretty good with empty nets.

“His hands were shaking going into it, but I wasn’t surprised that he made it.”

“I’d like to think I’d do the same,” Cooke laughed “But it’s nice. He said he didn’t have a shot, that a guy was coming right at him.

“I was taking all of the doubt out by skating it right to the crease, taking all of the doubt out of it.”

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