Summary: Tyler Kennedy (12) scored a power play goal in overtime and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night, snapping a two game losing streak.
Joe Vitale (1) and Jordan Staal (6) also scored for Pittsburgh who earned their first road win over the Avalanche since Feb. 25, 1999.
Vitale’s goal at the 17:12 mark of the 1st period was the 1st of his career.
Chris Stewart and Cameron Gaunce scored for the Avalanche, who have lost 9 straight games.
The Penguins improved to 34-19-6, 76pts on the season.
— How valuable is Jordan Staal? Logged a team high 24:26 of ice time, team-high 2:07 at shorthanded, collected 5 shots on goal, and scored a game changing goal at 14:51 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2……..scoring 32 seconds after the Avalanche took a 2-1 lead.
Staal did not only score a momentum changing goal but played dominant two-way hockey in the final 30 minutes of the game. Was a force on the penalty kill, especially in 5-on-3 situations and created a front net presence on Tyler Kennedy’s game winning power play goal.
Only negative was his ability in the face-off circle (28%).
— Tyler Kennedy is a streaky player at times but has 5 goals in his last 7 games. The Penguins have needed players to step up offensively, and he has been one of them.
Kennedy has 12 goals on the season and is on pace for a career high.
— Joe Vitale is a player who has the tools to play in the league for a long time. Excellent speed, good attributes and has the smarts that role players need to have to make it in the NHL. Also has some offensive touch.
Has the look of a good solid 4th liner down the road who could do very well in Bylsma’s uptempo “push the play” offensive system.
This is a guy whose been under-rated in the Penguins system and a player who Pens GM Ray Shero mentioned to the media over the summer that would be playing in the NHL, whether it be with the Penguins or elsewhere.
— Pittsburgh came into Wednesday’s game losing 4 of 5 games but have not seen their positioning move in the East. Now they enter Thursday up 6 points on No. 5 Washington (70pts).
— The Penguins get three full days off before a tough three games in four days stretch, starting Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Blackhawks on the road, before hosting the Washington Capitals Monday night at home and then an intriguing matchup with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night at home.
Pittsburgh is inching closer to getting some regulars back. Matt Cooke will return on Sunday and Chris Kunitz is a possibility to play.
Meanwhile, Dustin Jeffrey is targeting next week as a likely return to game action. Tim Wallace will be the first player to be sent down.
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