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Insider Only Canes earn first road win; Malkin becoming too much of a playmaker?

Post-Game Notebook
Manny Legace made 30 saves and the Carolina Hurricanes (7-17-5) picked up their first road win of the season, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-1) 3-2 Monday night at Mellon Arena.
The win snapped a 13 game road winless streak for the Hurricanes as Legace improved his career record against Pittsburgh to 4-0.
For one of the rare times this season, the Hurricanes played the type of game that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. At least they did in the first and third periods.
Andrew Alberts and Jussi Jokinen scored in the first to put the Hurricanes up 2-0 and Ray Whitney scored 2:26 into the second period as the Canes jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead.
Against the Stanley Cup champs, no lead is safe and the quick strike Penguins fought back.
Sidney Crosby (20) scored at the six minute mark in the second period and Michael Rupp (9) scored 49 seconds later as momentum turned towards Pittsburgh.
Down 3-2, Pittsburgh outshot the Hurricanes 15-4 in the second period and Carolina went back to looking like a team that didn’t know how to win.
The Hurricanes though halted Pittsburgh’s momentum in the third period and shutdown the Penguins, who had a number of prime scoring chances late in the game.
Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury had a subpar game, making 18 saves in the loss. Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Sidney Crosby’s second period tally was his 20th goal of the season and now has 8 goals in his last four games.
Ray Whitney had a goal and an assist to earn the games No. 1 star.
Post-Game wrap up
* A stunning development through the first 31 games of the season is that Sidney Crosby has 20 goals in 30 games and Evgeni Malkin only has 8 goals in 24 games.
Including playoffs, Crosby has 35 goals in his last 54 games. For the first time in his career, Crosby has confidence in his shot.
He still doesn’t have a great shot but he’s become much more accurate this season and is getting his shot off quicker as he’s not playing a pass-first game.
Evgeni Malkin went from 47 goals in 2007-2008 to 35 goals in 2008-2009, and since his 47 goal season, he has become more of a playmaker.
Scouts around the league have always viewed Malkin as being a much more dangerous goal scorer than Crosby and many believe he should be a consistent 45-50 goal scorer.
An Eastern Conference scout told me over the weekend that Malkin lacks that

“Ryan Malone” type of player on his line. The roles {Crosby/Malkin} have also been reversed as Malkin appears to be lacking confidence in his shot and has become a pass-first player. I tend to agree. Malkin is still geting 3-to-4 shots per night and some nights he’s putting up 5 or 6 shots but he’s passing up shots in prime scoring chances.
Malkin is playing at a elite level but it’s been an interesting development over the past year of how he’s become more of a playmaker.
I don’t think he gets back to that 45+ goal level until he has that  power forward type of player on his line.
*The decision to sit Mark Letestu was an interesting one by head coach Dan Bylsma. Letestu was coming off of a very strong game and the Hurricanes don’t have an enforcer.
Eric Godard played a total of 2:28. Absolutely no impact and the Penguins were basically playing with 11 forwards. Bad coaching decision by Bylsma. Godard doesn’t need to play every night and was needed tonight against the Hurricanes.
*Michael Rupp scored his 9th goal of the season against Carolina and is now second on the team in scoring.
*Ruslan Fedotenko is struggling, 1 goal in his last 18 games and had 4th liner minutes (10:26) against Carolina.
Injury Update
*Defenseman Alex Goligoski will travel with the team to Montreal. Barring a setback over the next two days, Goligoski will return to the lineup Thursday night against the Habs.
*Chris Kunitz is 7-10 days away from returning to lineup.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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