Evgeni Malkin and Alex Goligoski each recorded three points and Sidney Crosby snapped a 9 game scoreless streak, netting the OT winner 43 seconds into overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 Monday night at HSBC arena. Crosby‚Äôs OT winner was under review for over a minute, whether Crosby‚Äôs stick was over the goal post when he deflected Evgeni Malkin‚Äôs fluttering slap shot.
The Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit and it appeared that the Penguins may have been on their way to a 6th loss in eight games until Alex Goligoski scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of the third period to tie the game at 3-3. Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins, recording his 7th goal of the season at 6:18 of the second period. Marc Andre Fleury made 32 saves to record his 10th win of the season. The Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.
Inside Analysis: Post Game Report
Alex Goligoski logged over 16 minutes of ice time recording two goals and 1 assist. Goligoski made a strong case to stay in the lineup Tuesday night when Ryan Whitney returns to the lineup. What kind of message does that send if the Penguins were to sit him Tuesday night after a three point performance. Not going to happen.
The Penguins have a tough decision to make tomorrow regarding which defenseman sits against the Lightning but sources tell me the coaching staff hasn’t ruled out dressing 11 forwards and seven defenseman just for tomorrow night.
With an optional morning skate tomorrow, the guessing game begins.
I could make a case for Philippe Boucher. His play has been inconsistent since returning from injured reserve but Michel Therrien really likes him and has praised the addition of Boucher since the Penguins acquired him in November. Eaton continues to get mentioned the most among sources. Orpik and Scuderi are locks to stay in the lineup. It’s being mentioned that the coaching staff has discussed pairing Ryan Whitney and Brooks Orpik together.
Kris Letang did leave the ice after being hit with a shot in the foot but he did return for a few shifts in the third period. There’s a chance he may be out of tomorrow’s game.
Defensively the Penguins continue to have breakdowns. On the Sabres second goal, The Penguins had a turnover in the neutral zone and two players (Eaton and Staal) went towards the puck carrier which led to Kotalik getting a breakaway.
On the Sabres third goal (power play), the Penguins had another breakdown in front of the net. Eaton and Boucher were out of position and left Fleury out to dry in front of the net, where Clarke MacArthur recorded his 9th goal of the season.
The Penguins have now given up 10 goals in their last two games and the past four or five games they are not playing their system. Too many players running around and on the penalty kill they have struggled a bit with their rotation.
Mike Zigomanis has been missed on the PK. The Sabres won a lot of face-offs on the power play.
Offensively Evgeni Malkin was the best player on the ice. Malkin‚Äôs line was the only line creating offense with consistency through the first two periods. Malkin added three assists tonight, upping his points total to 58. Sidney Crosby is eleven points behind Malkin with 47 pts.
Jordan Staal centered Petr Sykora and Ruslan Fedotenko in the third period. The front office is hopeful that Staal will begin to show the ability to carry a second line when needed.
Ruslan Fedotenko appears to be finding his role with this team. He has been very effective on the forecheck the past couple weeks and is finding some chemistry with Petr Sykora.
Miroslav Satan added an assist on Pascal Dupuis second period goal but his play is so frustrating. If you go by the statistics (12 goals ‚Äì 13 assists ‚Äì 25 pts in 33 games) Satan is having a very good season, but his impact has not been that great. Satan will likely end up with close to 30 goals this season but he will not be a factor in the playoffs when the games hit another level.
The rumor mill is slow right now due to the roster freeze but things will pick up again next week.
Working on the some rumblings regarding the Senators and Penguins.
More to come
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