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Notebook: Guerin Leads Way

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins
The elder statesman on the Penguins, Bill Guerin, had a wild night in Pittsburgh’s 8-2 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night, scoring two power-play goals and collecting two assists.

Guerin’s family was on hand to partake in his holiday hockey antics.

“It was awesome. It felt great,” Guerin said. “My kids were up in the stands, so I hope they had a good time with it, too.”

In addition to scoring two man-advantage goals of his own, Guerin helped set up scores by Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz.

Guerin’s first goal came 1:03 into the second period. He skated along the Senators’ goal line and fired a shot on Pascal Leclaire, who made the initial save. He then collected his own rebound and put the puck upstairs to give the Penguins a lead they would never relinquish.

The veteran forward’s second goal finished off of a three-on-one play with Kunitz and Sidney Crosby at the 13:57 mark of the second period.

“We were shooting the puck more, getting rebounds,” Guerin said. “It’s the little things. It’s not the big plays. It’s not the passing, this and that. We’ve been doing that. It’s the little things, traffic in front of the net.”

Not Outdone by Guerin

Chris Kunitz joined Guerin in Wednesday’s scoring party, gathering a goal and three assists before heading into the holiday break.

“Guys were just getting into the flow and pucks were staying flat for us,” Kunits said.
“The puck was going in. It felt good.”

Kunitz was also thrilled to see the team respond so well after Monday’s 4-0 loss against the New Jersey Devils.

“We were disappointed with our effort against (New) Jersey so it was nice to bounce back with a big win that everybody contributed in,” Kunitz said.

“Just some big nights for guys, in a game like this there are usually a couple guys who will have big nights,” Guerin said. “It’s good to see, especially for a guy like Kunitz. He’s been here and there and battling some things.

“He played unbelievable tonight.”

All I Want for Christmas is Three Power-Play Goals

The Penguins’ power play came to life in Wednesday’s victory. Pittsburgh scored three goals on the man-advantage, and the team feels their performance will greatly please power-play coach Mike Yeo.

“I know Mike Yeo’s happy,” Guerin said. “I’m sure his wife got him a nice gift, but three power-play goals is making Mike Yeo’s Christmas right now.”

The team has recently been adapting to some changes on the power play, moving Malkin to the point opposite Sergei Gonchar.

“We made a change,” said Gonchar, who collected two assists on the power play to go with an even-strength goal in the third period. “We were controlling the puck a little bit better.

“The last couple of games we had good power plays but we didn’t score. This setup is giving us a chance to control the puck a little bit more. It’s been kind of building up toward it. We’ve been working hard.”

Flower of Stone

Marc-Andre Fleury’s 45-save performance may have eventually been overshadowed by Pittsburgh’s eight goals, but his 23-save first period kept the Penguins in it when the game was still close.

“(Ottawa) came out very hard in the first,” Fleury said.” They threw a lot of pucks at the net. I still think my teammates did a great job getting the rebounds away and keeping the shots from far out.”

While Fleury’s strong play may have been lost in the shuffle, everyone in the locker room was very appreciative of his performance.

“He definitely gave us a chance to win,” Guerin said. “There were a lot of shots in the first period. One thing that was evident was that (Ottawa) had a lot of traffic. None of the saves were easy. Flower kept us in there and gave us a chance.”

Fleury bounced back from a disappointing showing Monday against New Jersey, where he was pulled in the second period after letting in four goals.

“I looked up and saw 24 shots at the end of the first (period),” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “You’ve got to tip your hat at the goaltender. Some of that was on the special teams where he made some of those saves.

“It was not the first time where Marc-Andre Fleury has bounced back from a game he was not happy with. (Wednesday) was one of those games. In the first he was tested and he was very strong. He was strong the whole game.”
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