Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-0 against Vancouver at Rogers Arena.
* The Pens enjoyed one of the best road trips in franchise history, finishing 4-0 on their Canadian swing while outscoring teams 23-6. It was the first western Canadian sweep for Pittsburgh since 2007.
Pittsburgh really came together on this road trip following an up-and-down start to the regular season. The Pens showed over these past 4 games how great of a team they can be. Now they need to keep it going and stay consistent as the season progresses.
* The Pens looked like a completely different team than the one that faced Vancouver 11 days ago. In that contest the Canucks looked like a dominant team that was two steps ahead of the Pens, generating multiple odd-man rushes while keeping the Pens in retreat mode.
The main reason for that was Pittsburgh's sloppy puck management, which led to turnovers in the neutral zone and fed the Canucks' transition game. This time around the Pens cleaned up their play, and as a result it was the Pens that overwhelmed Vancouver. It's amazing what a difference a few days makes, and how much better Pittsburgh is when it plays the game the right way.
* Evgeni Malkin sealed the game late in the third period with a pair of goals. Malkin collected a nice pass - through the Canucks' box - by Daniel Sprong at the side of the net for a snap in. Fifty-nine seconds later he notched his 2nd of the game by taking a drop pass and ticketing the top corner. He finished with 2 goals, 3 points in the game.
Malkin has a 7-game scoring streak (4G-11A-15PTS). He has points in 8 of the Pens' 9 games this season.
* Another day, another game, another sick Sidney Crosby backhand goal. This time Crosby was the recipient of a beautiful feed by Dominik Simon, catching the puck in the slot cutting to his right, turning the puck to the backhand and lifting it into the netting. Crosby always puts on a clinic with his backhand work.
Crosby added a late tally for a 2-goal game.
* Crosby, who had 0 goals in the opening 6 games of the season, now has 5 in the past 3. It was only a matter of time.
* Simon tied a career high with a 3-game point streak after setting up Crosby's goal. It was a ridiculous feed through the legs of a Canuck player and perfectly on the tape of Crosby. Simon has 4 assists in the past 3 games.
Simon also made a great play by dancing through the Canucks before his attempted pass was just a little behind Sprong. Simon is very shifty and hard to contain when he has the puck.
* Phil Kessel has been on fire lately. He scored his 3rd goal (and 6th point) in the past 2 games against Vancouver. He actually began the play with a head-fake, spin-o-rama behind the net. After dishing he circled around the net to find an Olli Maatta rebound and poke it in.
* Goaltender Casey DeSmith started in the last matchup between these two teams, taking the L in overtime. He said following the game that he would love another crack at this team. DeSmith got it, and made the most of it.
He stopped all 29 shots he faced to record his 2nd career shutout.