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Insider Only Crosby’s hat trick fuels comeback win

Penguins win 2nd in a row
Sidney Crosby continues his jump among the games elite goal scorers, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins (35-21-1) to a 5-4 comeback win over the Buffalo Sabres (32-15-7) on Monday night at Mellon Arena.
Crosby scored three times in the second period to record his 5th hat trick of career as Pittsburgh overcame a 3-1 deficit to win their second straight game and earn their fourth win in five games.
Jordan Staal (14) also scored for Pittsburgh and Mark Letestu (1) netted his first career goal just 47 seconds into the game. Staal’s second period tally was his first goal in 13 games but playing alongside Evgeni Malkin for the second straight game, Staal had another complete game, leading all forwards with 22 minutes of ice time.
The story after the game was of course Sidney Crosby who followed up his performance against Detroit (1 goal, shootout goal) with a three goal night against Buffalo to tie Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks for the league lead in goals with 37.
Marc Andre Fleury made 30 saves, including a number of key saves late in the game, to earn his 28th victory of the season.

Post-Game Wrap Up

*Pittsburgh struggled early containing the Sabres transition game as the Sabres pushed the play jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Pittsburgh though made the needed adjustments on the go and a Sidney Crosby power play goal at 10:53 of the second period, sparked four unanswered goals for Pittsburgh in the period.

A bright sign was the Penguins power play getting a big goal, which has been rare this season. Pittsburgh had good movement and were 1-for-2 on the evening.
*Tonight’s win was the Penguins first back-to-back home wins since December 15th.
*Jordan Staal had another strong game playing with Evgeni Malkin. What can’t be overlooked is the space that Staal is creating for Malkin. The Penguins third line of Matt Cooke – Mark Letestu – Tyler Kennedy also played well.
*Winners in four of their last five games, Pittsburgh is now tied with Buffalo in points (71) and are one point behind the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have 3 games in hand.
*Indications are Martin Skoula has played his last game in a Penguins uniform. Benched once again by the Penguins coaching staff (4:50 of ice time, minus-2), Pittsburgh is looking to clear a roster spot I’m told.
*Ruslan Fedotenko has become a liability for Pittsburgh defensively. He’s a minus-10 on the season and was out of position in the neutral zone on Thomas Vanek’s 1st period goal, which led to Vanek having a free lane to the net.
*Penguins defenseman Kris Letang had two assists and earned the games No. 2 star. Dan Bylsma talked before the game that he wants more involvement offensively from his defensemen and he got it tonight from Letang.
*Sources tell me Nick Johnson will be re-assigned tomorrow morning. Chris Kunitz has been cleared to return to the lineup Saturday night against Montreal.
*The Penguins do not play again until Saturday and will have an off-day on Tuesday.
*Max Talbot, Chris Kunitz and Jay McKee were scratches. McKee was a late scratch after participating in warmups. Trade speculation has been buzzing as the Penguins and Blackhawks have held talks regarding McKee. Others including the LA Kings have expressed interest.
Team officials are downplaying the reason that McKee was scratched.

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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