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Insider Only Post-Ottawa Notes: Fleury pushes winning streak to 5 games

Post-Ottawa Notes
*–Marc Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins continued their winning ways Friday afternoon, defeating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on home ice and extending their winning streak to 5 games and points streak to 8 games.
Fleury made a season-high 43 saves to earn his 8th win of the season and Alex Goligoski (5) scored the game winning goal, leading the Penguins to their 14th victory of the season.
Fleury is 7-0-1 during the Penguins 8 game run, posting a 1.60 GAA. He is playing his most dominant hockey in memory, putting his early struggles in the past and Fleury has bailed out a Penguins offensive unit thatis averaging two goals per game in their last three games, which have resulted in three victories behind Fleury’s stellar play.
Fleury was tested early against Ottawa, facing 21 Senators shots, many high quality scoring chances as the Penguins did not play sound defensively. “They kept playing and made things pretty hard on us,” Fleury said. “They threw lot of pucks from a little bit of everywhere.”
The Penguins have wanted to get Brent Johnson a start this week but don’t be surprised if Bylsma goes back to Fleury Saturday afternoon against Calgary and start Johnson Monday night against New York.
*– Head coach Dan Bylsma talked about a week ago about the Penguins third line of Chris Conner – Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy being a “scare factor” and the unit continues to draw high praise from Bylsma, due to their ability to make things happen with their “speed and quickness” as a trio, especially today against a physical team.

The line created several opportunities and Bylsma again pointed them out about being a factor at both ends of the ice and the “lines” ability to make things happen against a physical team really appeared to catch Bylsma’s eye today.
Of the three, Tyler Kennedy had a strong game, collecting two assists and was a factor throughout the game, leading the Penguins with 6 shots on goal.
Kennedy has slowly seen more “offensive opportunities” late in the game when the Penguins need offense and on the second power play unit.
“He {Tyler Kennedy} got two assists because he was standing in front of the net on the powerplay, ” Bylsma said…..Something he’s gotten an opportunity to do because of his hard work, and what he can do there and it paid dividends tonight, ” Bylsma added.
Meanwhile, Chris Conner has inched closer to solifidying a spot on the Penguins third line for the short-term. He’s not an ideal fit but he’s the best fit for what the coaching staff is looking for from their third line based off the personnel.
Conner as expected has received an extended look from Bylsma.
Whether going with a smallish “speed” third line is the best move, is up for debate, but once the Penguins get a full roster intact with Jordan Staal, the staff is going to have to put together a third line that is going to provide secondary scoring on a more consistent basis.
Maybe they have that unit in Conner-Letestu-Kennedy but as the season progresses, secondary scoring is going to become more important.
*– Deryk Engelland was a healthy scratch and Ben Lovejoy dressed for the second time in three games. The Alex Goligoski – Lovejoy pairing was poor in their D-zone, especially early in the game.
Lovejoy’s been playing an erractic defensive game at times, getting out of position and appears to be rushing things especially when it comes to reading the play.
*– Evgeni Malkin netted his 8th goal of the season, a power play marker at 10:19 of the second period. Malkin didn’t have an outstanding game by any means but when he’s physical and playing with an edge like he was in the second period, that’s when he’s a difference maker.
*– Arron Asham had just 5:50 of ice and has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff since the Carolina game last Friday, where he had some defensive lapses and was removed from the second line. He has to work his way back up and needs to be more of factor in the physical game.
*– Paul Martin led the Penguins with 4 blocked shots and has 10 blocked shots in his last 2 games.
*–Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 11 games, assisting on Malkin’s second period tally. Crosby has 37 points in 24 games this season.
*– The Penguins were 3-for-3 on the PK and have not given up a power play goal in 8 games. The Penguins have killed off 43 of 45 penalties in the month of November.

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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