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Insider Only Takeaway’s & Observations: Malkin puts on a show, Zatkoff excellent in goal in 5-1 win over Panthers

malkin1 PITTSBURGH 5 – FLORIDA 1
The streaky Penguins extended their winning streak to three games with a 5-1 win over the lowly Florida Panthers. The game, though, wasn’t as lopsided in the Penguins favor as the final score might indicate.
The Panthers were the better team at times and outshot Pittsburgh 40-22 but bad teams sometimes just have some bad luck and Florida couldn’t finish. What also didn’t help the Panthers tonight was that Evgeni Malkin put on a show in the victory with a four point night.
The Penguins improved to 18-9-1, 37 pts) on the season.
Takeaway’s & Observations
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and three assists and don’t look now but he’s just one point behind Sidney Crosby for the NHL points lead. Malkin was just downright dominant tonight and Bylsma afterwards called Malkin’s performance “pretty remarkable”. Malkin finishes November with the second most points in a month for his career with 25.
Jeff Zatkoff was excellent in goal making 39 saves and he’s now 4-0 in his last four starts. The Penguins could not have asked for better goaltending from Zatkoff as Florida easily could have had at least three or four goals tonight. The Penguins did not play well in front of Zatkoff and he was a difference maker. As we enter December, I still don’t anticipate Tomas Vokoun returning this season and while the Penguins could become tempted to get a veteran goaltender for the playoffs as insurance, guess here is they roll the dice with Zatkoff as the backup goaltender for the rest of the season.
Chris Kunitz scored his team leading 14th goal of the season and is averaging nearly a point per game with 27 points in 28 games……Joe Vitale scored his first goal in 31 regular season games…..James Neal notched his 8th goal of the season and added an assist for a two point night. Neal would be on a 50 goal pace over the course of 82 games…..Jussi Jokinen scored at 6:10 of the third period to push the Penguins lead to 5-1. It was Jokinen’s 9th goal of the season and he now has 16 goals in 38 career games as a Penguin.

— Not often do you see Sidney Crosby go pointless when the Penguins put up 5 goals. He needs a right winger and don’t be surprised that the Penguins go in that direction leading up to the deadline and use Pascal Dupuis to bolster the third line. I’m already hearing rumblings on that and will have something up in the next day or two regarding that as I’ve waiting for a little bit more info on some chatter linking the Penguins to one available right winger.
Deryk Engelland dressed again over Robert Bortuzzo. Engelland played 19:04 and picked up an assist and had 4 shots on goal.
Kris Letang picked up an assist in the win but still has just 10 points in 19 games, averaging 0.53 points per game. Letang has just 3 even strength points in 19 games. During his Norris Trophy candidate season in 2013, Letang averaged 1.09 points per game. At even strength Letang averaged 0.71 points per game last season, this season, 0.16 ppg.

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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