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Pens' Shorty Sparks Victory

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
In Wednesday’s game, the Penguins held a precarious 1-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs halfway through the second period.

That's when forward Craig Adams was whistled for boarding at the 10:25 mark of the second. The next goal was poised to be the turning point in a close game, and the Leafs were the ones heading to the power play.

Who would’ve thought it would be Pittsburgh that scored?

In an impressive display of anticipation and hustle, the Penguins put pressure on defenseman Francois Beauchemin, forcing him to cough up the puck.

Pascal Dupuis, one of Pittsburgh's best penalty killers, pushed the puck between the Toronto blueliner’s legs to a speeding Chris Kunitz, who got a rare opportunity to see time on the PK with Adams in the box.

Kunitz handed the rubber right back to Dupuis as the two forwards wheeled down the ice for a two-on-none despite being a player short.

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As they bore down on goalie Jonas Gustavsson, Dupuis faked a pass to his linemate before deke-ing back and roofing it gloveside over the Toronto netminder for his first shorthanded goal of the season.

"I kind of blacked out,” Dupuis said of the play. “I kind of poked the puck and went through his legs. I don’t know, I just realized the puck was loose back there. Then I looked to my left and Chris was there with me, so he bumped it to me and we went down two-on-none, faked the pass and the shot was open.”

The shorthanded tally proved to be the catalyst behind the Penguins’ victory, as Pittsburgh went on to score two more goals in the next 3:08 of play to carry a 4-0 lead into the final frame. The Penguins topped the Leafs, 5-2, to win their seventh-straight at CONSOL Energy Center.

Dupuis joked that he apologized to Kunitz after the play for not passing back the puck. But Kunitz, who tallied three assists en route to nabbing First Star honors, wasn’t concerned—just glad to see his linemate rewarded for his hard work.

“The PK’s been unbelievable most of the year,” Kunitz said. “They’ve been blocking shots, and it’s nice when those guys can get rewarded by those pucks turning over. ... They go out there and lay their bodies on the line, I know our goaltender really appreciates it but so does everybody else on the team when they’re out there.”

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