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Malkin’s blast lifts Penguins to 5-4 win
Evgeni Malkin scored on the power play at 1:36 of overtime to give the Penguins a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. The win moved the Penguins (68 pts) within one point of the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Analysis & Insight
Chris Kunitz appeared in his first game in a Penguins uniform. Kunitz recorded 1 goal & 1 assist, playing a total of 18:36, including 4:20 on the power play. Kunitz also led the Penguins in hits with 4. Kunitz was physical and aggressive. Kunitz showed good chemistry with Jordan Staal.
The Penguins gave up four goals again but Marc Andre made 41 saves on 45 shots. In the first 10 minutes of the third period, the Hawks had the Penguins on their heels and Fleury came up big to hold off the Blackhawks during that sequence as the shots were 8-0 Hawks at one point.
Crosby Update
According to a source who spoke to Sidney Crosby alone on Friday, ‚ÄúCrosby expressed concern about his groin problem. He said it was slightly better when he tested it today, but it wasn’t nearly game-ready. Crosby didn’t know whether he would return for the next game but he didn’t sound optimistic. He’s officially listed as day-to-day still‚Äù.
Trade Talk & Speculation
The Penguins believe they now have two potential top 6 wingers in their system with the addition of Eric Tangradi. Luca Caputi (6 foot 3) and Eric Tangradi (6 foot 4) are power forward type of players which is what Penguins management is looking for to build around after what the Penguins lost in free agency.
Shero is already receiving calls about Tangradi from rival GM’s
I’m told the Penguins realize the mistake they made in constructing this team during the off-season, and it is a primary goal at the trade deadline to add more grit and toughness in the lineup for the short-term.
The new trade info on Jordan Staal is

from outside sources, that Ray Shero had made it known Jordan Staal is available. This was a player 6 months ago, general manager Ray Shero said was an untouchable. Shero is beginning to realize that the plan to build around three centers won’t work with Staal’s cap hit. I think it is unlikely that Staal is moved at the deadline but at the draft it will be a very strong possibility according to sources.
The Penguins goal remains to add another top 6 winger. Staal is one of their few assets that can land one. The asking price is very high as it should be but for now the Penguins are just sitting back seeing what comes their way regarding offers for Staal.
I’m told two specific teams who were in attendance for the Penguins-Hawks game were strictly scouting Staal.
5 Days until the trade deadline. I don‚Äôt think we‚Äôll see a trade this weekend based on what I‚Äôve been told. Penguins just exploring the market to see what comes their way in regards to another top 6 forward. They’ll continue to listen and explore all of their options.
As for adding toughness and grit, that also remains a priority. A source well connected with the Avalanche sent me a email tonight that the Penguins are in on Ian Laperriere. Will cost less than what the Senators are seeking for Chris Neil.
Those are the kind of players the Penguins are looking at right now. Neil, Laperriere top their wishlist. They want to get tougher to play against, especially with the possibility of facing Boston, New Jersey or Philadelphia in the playoffs.
The Penguins are also looking at potential defensemen that could provide a physical element.
Assistant GM Chuck Fletcher played a pivotal role in the Ryan Whitney trade. Fletcher has connections to Anaheim. Fletcher will be sought after in the off-season if any jobs open.
The Penguins are currently not in on Olli Jokinen. LAK, CLB, MTL, CAL, MIN are in on Jokinen.
Scouts Update
Lightning, Wild, Thrashers, Ducks, Kings, Islanders had scouts at the Penguins – Hawks game

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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