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Insider Only Post-Game Observations: Penguins out worked, out battled in 5-2 loss

Post-Game Observations
Summary: Loui Eriksson scored twice and Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves, leading the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Arena.
Stephane Robidas and Brad Richards each had a goal and an assist for Dallas. Steve Ott added a goal, and James Neal had two assists for the Stars.
Brent Johnson (5-1-1) recorded his first regulation loss of the season, making 24 saves on 29 shots.
Tyler Kennedy (3) and Matt Cooke scored for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were pointless.
Pittsburgh fell to 6-6-1 on the season.
Johnson Not Sharp: Brent Johnson’s dominance between the pipes came to an end Wednesday night in the Penguins 5-2 loss to the Stars.
Johnson never looked comfortable and was battling the puck for most of the night. His positioning was poor early on and Pittsburgh quickly went down 2-0 in the first period.
Stars out battle & out work Pens: Dallas was the hungrier and more prepared team Wednesday night. From the drop of the puck, they controlled the play and stuck to their system unlike the Penguins.
The Penguins were out battled and out worked by Dallas, which is concerning as being out battled has been an issue for this team at times this season.
D-Zone struggles: Johnson was not alone in having an off night. The Stars dictated the play offensively and played a sixty minute hockey game. The Penguins struggled mightily in the defensive zone and much of their issues were mental mistakes and their positioning.
Pittsburgh was often caught with players following the puck, running around and not staying in their lanes. It was a poor defensive game from Pittsburgh.

Fight Filled Game: Dallas jumped out of the gates quick and frustrated the Penguins for much of the night. Pittsburgh’s frustrations grew in the second period when the team had 3 second period fights and four total fights on the night.
Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy were the four Penguins who dropped the gloves.
Crosby, Kennedy stick up for teammates: A few bright spots for the Penguins was Tyler Kennedy and Sidney Crosby sticking up for their teammates. Jamie Benn delivered a hard hit on Evgeni Malkin at the Stars bench near the end of the first period and Tyler Kennedy immediately dropped the gloves with Benn.
Kennedy went right in there and provided a spark for the Penguins.
Mid-way through the second period, Stars captain Brenden Morrow went after Kris Letang who could barely defend himself due to a right wrist injury.
Immediately at the drop of the next face-off, Sidney Crosby went after Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen, dropping the gloves with Niskanen. Crosby said after the game he had to send a message and stick up for his teammate.
Power Play troubles continue: Until the Penguins resurrect their power play, this is going to be a .500 team. The Power play was once again not a game changer Wednesday night, failing to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity.
Overall, the Penguins were 0-for-4 on the power play and are now 0-for-26 in their last 6 games.
Rough start for Michalek: Zbynek Michalek returned to the lineup for the first time in nine games. He struggled defensively and it wasn’t a good start for Michalek who was on the ice for the Stars first two goals and misplayed a puck behind the net that led to the Stars second goal of the game.
Michalek was a minus-1 with an assist in the game.
Crosby/Malkin: Evgeni Malkin (-3) and Sidney Crosby (-2) were pointless and a combined minus-5 in the game.
Goal Scorers:
Dallas: (1st period_ 3:51) Stephane Robidas (2) | Assists: Brenden Morrow, Jamie Benn
(1st period_ 7:57) Brad Richards (4) | Assists: James Neal, Loui Eriksson
(2nd period_ 10:52) Steve Ott (3) | Assists: Stephane Robidas, Mike Ribeiro
(2nd period_ 11:51)Loui Eriksson (6) (Penalty shot);
(3rd period_ 5:13) Loui Eriksson (7)
Pittsburgh: (2nd period_ 6:20) Tyler Kennedy (3) | Assists: Maxime Talbot
(3rd period_ 15:36) Matt Cooke (3) | Assists: Zbynek Michalek
Notes: Pascal Dupuis and Ben Lovejoy were scratched for Pittsburgh. Dupuis flew back to Pittsburgh early Wednesday morning to be with his wife who went into labor. Dupuis and his wife had their 4th child, a baby girl named Lola at 12:57 p.m. on Wednesday.

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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