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Insider Only Post-Game Analysis: Penguins peaking and scary good, extending winning streak to 11

Pittsburgh 5 – New Jersey 2

POST-GAME BUZZ : Sidney Crosby had three assists and the Penguins extended their winning streak to 11 games, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 5-2, in dominating fashion on Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center. With the win, the Penguins (44-21-5, 93 pts), moved within two points of the conference and division leading New York Rangers (44-19-7, 95 pts). The team looks to push their winning streak to 12 games tomorrow afternoon in Philadelphia. The Flyers (41-22-8, 90 pts) who lost to the Boston Bruins in a shootout, trail Pittsburgh by three points for the No. 4 seed in what’s a crucial game for both teams.
“One of our goals is winning the division, and as we keep winning here it’s a possibility, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
SCARY GOOD: The Penguins are scary good right now and Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said it best after the game: “If it’s not for Marty Brodeur, we give up 10 {goals}, DeBoer said in his post-game comments. The Penguins who outshot the Devils, 44-14, dominated in all facets and this game could have easily been 10-2 and that’s being kind.
The Penguins are peaking in all areas and they have that killer instinct Stanley Cup teams have.
We played a real fast game today, ” captain Sidney Crosby said. “Everyone was creating chances and everyone was on their toes, making plays.”
CROSBY’S DAY: Sidney Crosby had 3 assists and a plus-2 rating in 17 shifts, amassing 15:19 of ice time. Crosby made a number of great plays, setting up Matt Cooke for a goal with a cross-crease pass and then Crosby made a cross-ice feed from the left side boards to Evgeni Malkin who one-timed a shot past Brodeur for his 40th goal of the season at 12:43 of the second period, giving Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead.
Crosby has 5 points and a plus-5 rating in 2 games since returning to the lineup and 17 points in 10 games this season, averaging 1.7 points per game. Since the 2010-2011 season, Crosby is averaging 1.63 points per game (51 games). Over a full season (82 games) that projects to 134 points.
COOKE – CROSBY – KENNEDY UNIT:

Matt Cooke scored twice, collecting his second straight two goal game and hit a milestone in the third period, scoring his 16th goal of the season at 5:52 of the period, setting a career high in goals. Tyler Kennedy added two assists and the Cooke – Crosby – Kennedy unit combined for 2 goals and 5 assists in the victory. In two games, Cooke, Crosby and Kennedy have combined for 4 goals and 9 assists.
DUPUIS HITS 20-GOAL MARK: Pascal Dupuis has 5 goals in his last 7 games and hit the 20-goal plateau, scoring his 20th goal of the season at 10:10 of the second period. The 20 goals on the season, ties a career high for Dupuis when he scored 20 goals in 2002-2003 with the Minnesota Wild. Dupuis previous career high as a member of the Penguins was an 18 goal season in 2009-2010. Dupuis is a plus-16 on the year and finished the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons with a plus-16 rating.
MALKIN REACHES 40 GOAL-PLATEAU: Evgeni Malkin’s power play goal in the second period was his 40th goal of the season, reaching the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career. Malkin added an assist in the win and has 87 points giving him a three point lead over Steven Stamkos for the league lead. Malkin’s career high in goals is 47 and he’s on pace for 48 goals and 104 points this season. Malkin’s averaging 0.63 goals per game, whereas, he averaged 0.57 goals per game in 2007-2008 when he scored his career high of 47 goals.

TIDBITS

James Neal had a goal and has 32 goals and 68 points on the season. He’s on cusp of a 70 point season and the last Penguin winger to have a 70 point season was Alexei Kovalev in 2001-2002, when Kovalev had 32 goals and 76 points in just 67 games played.
— Defenseman Brooks Orpik was a plus-3 in the win and is a plus-16 on the season, tied for a team-high with Pascal Dupuis.
Some numbers for Orpik: Since the 2006-2007 season, Orpik is a plus-59 in 423 games.
Jordan Staal extended his assist and points streak to 10 games, assisting on Pascal Dupuis 20th goal of the season at 10:10 of the second period. Staal has 3 goals and 10 assists during his 10 game streak.
— Marc Andre Fleury (39-14-3, 2.25 GAA, .917 sv%) earned his 39th win of the season, making 12 saves and is on the cusp of his second 40 win season. Fleury has won nine straight games and is tied with Pekka Rinne for the league lead in wins.
— The Penguins rank second in the NHL in goals, averaging 3.14 goals per game. They’re closing in on the Flyers who rank first, averaging 3.17 goals per game.

PENS – DEVILS SCORING SUMMARY

1st Period
PIT – 1:59 James Neal (32)
Assist: Evgeni Malkin (PIT 1-0)
NJD – 16:57 Andy Greene (1)
Assists: Ilya Kovalchuk, Mark Fayne (1-1)
2nd Period
PIT – 10:10 Pascal Dupuis (20)
Assists: Jordan Staal, Matt Niskanen (PIT 2-1)
PIT – 11:44 Matt Cooke (15)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy (PIT 3-1)
PIT – 12:42 Evgeni Malkin (40) (Power Play)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz (PIT 4-1)
3rd Period
NJD – 2:26 Petr Sykora (16)
Assists: Patrik Elias, Andy Greene (PIT 4-2)
PIT – 5:56 Matt Cooke (16)
Assists: Tyler Kennedy, Sidney Crosby (PIT 5-2)

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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