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Insider Only Post-Game Observations: Pens dictate the pace in 3-1 win over Habs

Pittsburgh 3 – Montreal 1

PIT Goal Scorers: James Neal (7), Joe Vitale (1), Arron Asham (1)
MTL Goal Scorers: Brian Gionta (7)
Goaltending Matchup: PIT Marc Andre Fleury (27 saves on 28 shots) | MTL Carey Price (29 saves on 32 shots)
Three Stars
1. Marc Andre Fleury – 27 Saves, 11th career win vs MTL
2. Deryk Engelland – 2 Assists, 6 hits, 2 blocked shots
3. Arron Asham – 1 Goal, +2

Post-Game Buzz

PENS DICTATE GAME IN WIN: The Penguins put together another complete game, earning their second straight win, defeating Montreal 3-1 at the Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins improved to 5-2-2 (12 pts) on the season and have recorded points in seven of nine games.
Tonight might have been the Penguins best performance of the season. They dictated the pace and were constantly first on the puck.
Pittsburgh really seemed to overwhelm Montreal with their speed up front most notably on the forecheck. Pittsburgh wore down Montreal’s defenders and on defense Pittsburgh locked down, aisde from sloppy play early on.
James Neal netted his team leading 7th goal of the season, Joe Vitale and Arron Asham each tallied their first goals of the season.
Fleury sets tone: Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury set the tone early with big saves on Erik Cole and Matt Darche in the first period. Fleury lost his chance at earning first career shutout against the Canadiens in regulation as Brian Gionta scored with 1:36 remaining in the third period.
PK PERFECT AGAIN: The penalty kill has been a storyline every night for the Penguins and it was again tonight. The team went 4-for-4 on the PK and are now 30-for-31 on the season. Since the 2010-2011 season, Pittsburgh is 17-for-17 against Montreal.
Craig Adams logged a team-high 4:49 of ice time shorthanded and Brooks Orpik making his season debut, logged 4:24 of ice time on the PK, first among Penguins defensemen.
“He {Brooks Orpik} was outstanding on the penalty kill. Really sharp in gap, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
VITALE MAKING HIS MARK: Joe Vitale had an off day in the faceoff circle (3-5) and was not among the three stars of the game but he was arguably one of Pittsburgh’s best forwards in the game. Vitale notched his first goal of the season on a beautiful deflection at 2:38 of the second period but it was ability on the forecheck that stood out once again.
Vitale didn’t assist on Arron Asham’s third period goal but played a big role on the goal, winning a battle down low early in the shift to keep possession in Montreal’s zone.
Vitale was a +2 in the game.
DOMINANCE IN FACEOFF CIRCLE: Richard Park (9-3, 75.0%), Mark Letestu (11-4, 73.3%) and Jordan Staal (13-8, 61.9%) were all over 60% in the faceoff circle. Staal has won 47 of 77 draws (60.0%) in his last five games.
*ENGELLAND 1ST MULTI-POINT GAME: Deryk Engelland notched his first career multi-point game, collecting two assists on the night. Engelland played a strong overall game and an area he has really made a priority since camp is being more active in jumping up in the play and pinching in the offensive zone.
Tidbits
*Defenseman Brooks Orpik made his season debut, logging 17:54 of ice time and 4:24 on the penalty kill. Orpik wasn’t the only one making his debut as Dustin Jeffrey was a surprise addition to the lineup. Jeffrey was not told he was playing until after warmups.
“Thought they both did really well in debut, ” Bylsma said. {On Brooks Orpik} “Played about 18 minutes, few more than originally planned…. He was outstanding on the penalty kill. Really sharp in gap.”
Orpik was paired with Ben Lovejoy for much of the game. The two worked together during today’s morning skate.
Dustin Jeffrey had limited minutes, seeing 7:54 of ice time. Jeffrey had a great scoring chance early on, playing left wing on a line with Mark Letestu and Craig Adams. Jeffrey saw some more time in the third perod, getting some reps on the power play. He was 2-for-4 in the faceoff circle and had 3 shots on goal.
*Arron Asham appeared in his 700th career game. Canadiens defenseman and former Penguin Hal Gill appeared in his 1,000th game.
*The Penguins improved to 28-15-7 in their last 50 games without Sidney Crosby.
*The team has played 40 of their last 44 games without both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They have gone 22-13-5.
Malkin sat out his fourth straight game and sixth overall of the season.

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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