PITTSBURGH 2 - CALGARY 1
Two goals is usually enough to beat the Calgary Flames (15-24-6, 36 pts) these days and it was enough for the Pittsburgh Penguins (33-12-2, 68 pts). Chris Kunitz netted his 24th goal of the season and Marc Andre Fleury made 27 saves, leading the Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. Pittsburgh improved to 33-12-2 on the season and are on pace for 118 points.
Matt Niskanen (6) also scored in the win. Niskanen who has 4 points in his last five games, is tied with Chris Kunitz for the NHL lead in plus/minus with a plus-24. Niskanen having a career season in a contract year, is a plus-38 over his last three seasons.
Meanwhile, Kunitz having a career year, on pace for 42 goals and 89 points, is a plus-70 over his last three seasons.
-- For a Penguins team that has struggled defensively of late, the Flames were the perfect team to play to get back to some basics in that area. Calgary came into the game being shutout in six of their last seven games and at 11:29 of the third period, the Flames ended a goalless stretch at home (196 minutes, 59 seconds), when Mikael Backlund outbattled Kris Letang for the puck and scored from 40 feet out beating Marc Andre Fleury glove side with a bullet of a shot to get the Flames within one. Calgary would fail to force to overtime as the Penguins would close out the game.
Special teams was big for the Penguins, going 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. The Penguins are second in the NHL on the PK at 88.1%.
Sidney Crosby was pointless and his points streak ends at seven games. Crosby was particularly strong in the faceoff circle, winning 13 of 19 draws.
Pittsburgh returns home Wednesday night vs the Washington Capitals.