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Second-Period Onslaught

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins’ 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night was a tale of three segments.

Calgary was in control of the first period, taking a 1-0 lead into the dressing room. But the Penguins won this game with a four-goal outburst in the second frame, which included two power-play goals.

“Our guys came out with a solid second period and executed better so that we could play a game where we’re in the offensive zone,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “That was our best period of playing in the offensive zone, getting it back quickly, defending well and putting them back on their heels both physically, speed-wise and getting pucks to the net.”

“It was just a good second period,” center Jordan Staal said. “We knew they were going to come out strong in the first. They played hard, but we stuck with what we do and how we play. We started peppering them with some shots. They started going in for us and good things happen when we play the way we did.”

The Penguins opened the second period shorthanded with Tyler Kennedy in the box for tripping. But that penalty proved to be fruitful.

As the penalty expired, Kennedy stepped onto the ice and received a pass sending him on a rush toward the net. With the defenseman backing off, Kennedy was able to skate inside the circle and ripped a hard shot through goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game at 1-1 just 1:04 into the second frame.

“I was thinking about (getting a break away) while I was in (the box), I know I lucked out,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully, I get a couple more (of those opportunities).”

The Penguins took their first lead of the game, one they would never lose, with a power-play tally 6:40 in the period. Staal found defenseman Matt Niskanen streaking down the slot. Niskanen’s initial shot was stopped by Kiprusoff, but he found his own rebound and kissed the twine.

“Staal made a nice pass and I pounded it into the guy’s pads,” said Niskanen, who finished with one goal and one assist in the contest. “He made a nice block. I just kept whacking at it. Somehow it flipped in.”

Calgary native Craig Adams had the thrill of a lifetime when he buried a shot from the slot to make it a 3-1 game. Adams jumped on a loose puck and drilled it into the goal. He was immediately surrounded by joyous teammates.

The Penguins rounded out the scoring with another power-play goal. James Neal took a shot from the slot. The rebound squeezed to the side of the net, where Evgeni Malkin located it and shipped it into the goal.

While the Flames battled late in the third period and pulled the score to within one score, 4-3, it wasn’t enough as Pittsburgh held on for the win. 

“We got our legs going and started attacking them more and put the heat on them in second and were rewarded with some goals,” Niskanen said. “They made it very interesting toward the end. We did enough good things to win though.”
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