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Post-Game Buzz: Penguins top line combines for 8 points in 5-1 win over Stars

Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup and everything was back on track for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins top line.
Sidney Crosby (2 Goals, 1 Assist) scored twice and Chris Kunitz (1 Goal, 1 Assist), Lee Stempniak (1 Goal, 2 Assists) each added goals as the Penguins top line was dominant from start to finish and set the tone in a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Kunitz, Crosby and Stempniak combined for 4 goals and 8 points in the win. After being shutdown by the Flyers over the weekend, Crosby rebounded in a big way and was a force all over the ice with 2 goals and 1 assist. Crosby had a team-high 7 shots on goal.
“They set the tone right from the start with their play and Sid kind of led the way in that regard,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “With Kunitz and Stempniak tonight, they were a force in the offensive zone.”
The last three games together Kunitz – Crosby – Stempniak have shown very good chemistry as Stempniak’s high hockey IQ has made a smooth transition for him in playing with Crosby and Kunitz. He’s not someone who looks overwhelmed playing with Crosby.
{He’s a} smart player, good at both ends of the ice,” Crosby said of Stempniak. “Plays a responsible game but when he has the puck he can hold onto it”
Stempniak had 3 even strength points in just 10:53 of even strength ice time.

The Penguins got contributions all throughout the lineup. The Penguins were fast and aggressive on the forecheck and defensively they again gave up a few too many odd-man chances but limited the Stars quality of shots. The Penguins defended well in the neutral zone.
In the Penguins 3-0 loss to Dallas in January, Dallas gave Pittsburgh fits with their speed upfront. That wasn’t the case tonight.
“I think everyone did a great job,” Chris Kunitz said. “Our forwards played with the puck in their end and kept them from playing with speed.”

Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff continues to make people forget about Tomas Vokoun for now and made 32 saves on 33 shots for his 11th win of the season.
“Jeff has been able to do it all year long,” Bylsma said…..”He’s a young goalie but has gone in to get us wins with how he plays, did so again tonight.”
The Penguins were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and got a shorthanded goal from Brandon Sutter. The penalty kill was big to start the third period. Leading 3-1, Joe Vitale took a slashing penalty with 29 seconds left in the second period. The penalty carried over to the third and Pittsburgh killed it off. 15 seconds after the penalty ended, Sidney Crosby made it 4-1 just 1:56 into the third. Game Over….

PIT 04:17 – Sidney Crosby (32) Backhand shot
Assists: Craig Adams (6), 1-0 PIT
DAL 12:30 – Tyler Seguin (31) Tip-in
Assists: Trevor Daley (10), 1 – 1
PIT 15:25 – Chris Kunitz (32) Wrist shot
Assists: Lee Stempniak (19), 2 – 1 PIT

PIT 13:21 – Lee Stempniak (9) Wrist shot
Assists: Chris Kunitz (29), Sidney Crosby (58), 3 – 1 PIT

PIT 01:56 – Sidney Crosby (33) Wrist shot
Assists: Lee Stempniak (20), Matt Niskanen (30), 4 – 1 PIT
PIT 12:47 – SHG Brandon Sutter (11) Backhand shot
Assists: Brian Gibbons (8), Robert Bortuzzo (7), 5 – 1 PIT

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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