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Insider Only Morning Pens Buzz: Moving forward, things won’t be as easy for Crosby, Pens as they were Monday night

Morning Pens Buzz

Sidney Crosby’s performance Monday night could not have been scripted better and Pittsburgh could not have faced a better opponent for the situation. The Islanders are an AHL team right now with no direction and they played right into the moment Monday night and rolled over for the Penguins.
However, things are likely not going to come that easy again for the Penguins star studded lineup this season and the Penguins have to put that game in the rear view mirror with three games in the next four nights, starting tonight vs the St. Louis Blues.
The Penguins at full strength are a top Cup contender and arguably Cup favorite but lets hold off on planning a Stanley Cup Parade.
Not trying to rain on the party but the Penguins won’t be seeing a team playing at the lowly level the Islanders are right now on most nights, and they surely won’t be seeing Andres Nilsson in goal on a nightly basis.

Crosby Soundbytes

Sidney Crosby felt good on Tuesday, participating fully in Tuesday’s practice which was great news for all parties. Crosby is back on the ice right now for today’s morning skate, centering Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on the top line.

Crosby Post-Practice Audio on Nov 22

Crosby on the adrenaline he was playing with: “{I} think that’s normal for first game, running on adrenaline, ” Crosby said on Tuesday. There are things as the games go on I have to improve and get better. It’s only going to happen through playing, so I just have to make sure that I’m aware of what that is and work hard at adjusting as soon as I can.
Crosby’s Goal– Get back to last season: “For me, after going through this I want to get back to where I was last season. Winning is always the constant factor and the constant motivating factor. Individually when you’re setting goals I want to get back to where I was {last year} and I know that’s going to take time, but at the end of the day you are always working hard to win.”
Crosby on catching Phil Kessel, NHL points leader with 30 points: “I don’t think that’s possible. It would be great but I don’t think that’s possible so not even something on my radar to be honest with you.”

No Changes in Morning Skate

Pittsburgh had no changes up front in today’s morning skate with Joe Vitale and Steve MacIntyre skating as the extra forwards once again.

Dupuis having significant impact

There’s no denying that Pascal Dupuis has been one of the Penguins most valuable forwards this season. Tied for second on the team with 17 points (4G-13A), Dupuis has 5 multi-point games, tied for first on the team and he’s really made his mark with 14 points in the Penguins 12 wins this season.
Leading the Penguins with a +10 rating, Dupuis through the quartermark of the season is one of the best bargains in the NHL this season ($1.5 million salary), when you take into the account what he also brings to the table on the penalty kill.

NHL All-Star Voting

74,528: Despite playing in just one game so far this season, Sidney Crosby has surged to 9th among forwards in All-Star voting. Crosby has gone into Wednesday morning with 74,528 votes. He made a big surge on Monday, receving 14,000 votes on Monday alone, the day he made his memorable return to game action. Crosby has led all vote-getters each of the past four All-Star Games (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11).
As of Wednesday morning, Evgeni Malkin is 15th among forwards in voting with 58,646 votes. James Neal second in the NHL with 12 goals, is right behind Malkin with 56,748 votes. Jordan Staal is among the top 30 vote getters at the forward position, currently ranked 28th with 36,042 votes.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury ranks second among goaltenders with 88,100 votes, trailing Boston’s Tim Thomas who has 95,681 votes. Kris Letang is fourth among defensemen with 105,741 votes. Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson leads all vote getters with 147,468 votes.

Pens Active Roster

With the re-assignment of defenseman Alexandre Picard on Tuesday and the team placing Dustin Jeffrey on IR (Monday), the Penguins active roster is at 22.
Forwards: Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Steve Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy, Arron Asham, Richard Park, Craig Adams, Joe Vitale, Steve MacIntyre
Defensemen: Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek, Matt Niskanen, Deryk Engelland,
Goaltenders: Marc Andre Fleury, Brent Johnson
Injured Reserve: Dustin Jeffrey (knee), Brian Strait (elbow), Ben Lovejoy (wrist).

St. Louis Blues (10-8-2) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (12-6-3, 27pts)

What’s on Tap Tonight: St. Louis comes into tonight’s game in a back-to-back situation, losing at home last night, 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings. It was the first regulation loss under head coach Ken Hitchcock.
St. Louis boast a 3-6-1 road record.
For Pittsburgh, all eyes will once again be on Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are 7-1-1 at home this season.
2010-11 Results: St. Louis prevailed with a 1-0 overtime win in what was a goaltending duel between the Penguins Brent Johnson and the Blues Jaroslav Halak on Oct. 23, 2010 at the Scottrade Center. Johnson stopped 23 of 24 shots while Halak denied all 31 shots he saw. Erik Johnson scored the game-winning goal for the Blues 50 seconds into the extra session.
By the Numbers
49-65-19: The Penguins all-time record vs the St. Louis Blues
11-2-1: Pittsburgh’s record in their last 14 home games vs the St. Louis Blues
2-0-1: The Penguins record in their last three games vs St. Louis
6-0-2: The Penguins record vs the Western Conference this season.
7-1:Marc Andre Fleury’s home record this season. In those eight starts Fleury has posted a 1.62 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. Fleury coming off a 29 save shutout, 21st of his career, has an 8-1-1 record in his last 10 starts, and is among the league leaders in several individual categories including wins (11, 2nd), goals-against average (1.90, 7th) and save percentage (.930, 11th).
35.4: The amount of shots the Penguins have averaged over their last 10 games. During that stretch the Penguins have fired 32 shots or more in all 10 games.
9-1-2: The Penguins record when they score at least one power play goal in a game.
3-1-0: The record of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott in his career vs the Penguins. Elliott is having an excellent season, posting a 7-1-0 record with a 1.43 goals against average and .947 save percentage.
9.2%: The St. Louis Blues power play percentage this season, ranking 30th in the NHL. The Blues are 2-for-31 in 10 road games this season.
+14: The St. Louis Blues goal differential at even strength: 38 Goals For / 24 Goals Against
13-1:The Penguins have outscored their opponents by a 13-1 margin in the last two games Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan
Staal have played together (5-0 vs. NY Islanders on Nov. 21, 2011; 8-1 vs. Tampa Bay on Jan. 5, 2011). Monday night marked just the third time in the Penguins last 110 games that the three played together
18-14-7: The Penguins all-time record the night before Thanksgiving.
49: Career points Steve Sullivan has against the St. Louis in 61 games.
0: Career goals Sidney Crosby has against the St. Louis Blues in five games played. There are only three other teams Crosby has not scored against….Edmonton, San Jose and Chicago.
42:Sidney Crosby’s career points at the Consol Energy Center. Crosby in 22 games played at Consol, has 21 goals, 21 assists for 42 points and a +14 rating.

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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