The Penguins didn‚Äôt put together a 60 minute game but they controlled the play for the first two periods and beat the Philadelphia Fylers 4-2 Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center. Evgeni Malkin scored his 17th goal of the season, and Sidney Crosby added two assists as the dynamic duo played on the same line for the second consecutive game.
Head coach Michel Therrien altered the Penguins lines prior to the game, moving gritty forward Matt Cooke up to the first line to play with Malkin and Crosby. The move paid off as Crosby, Cooke and Malkin combined for two goals and two assists. Cooke scored with 36 seconds remaining in the second period to the put the Penguins up 4-1 heading into the third period. Tyler Kennedy (7) and Jordan Staal (14) also scored for the Penguins.
Marc Andre Fleury who has struggled of late made 27 saves to get the win and the Penguins snapped the Flyers 8 game home winning streak. The Penguins (21-19-4) host the Washington Capitals (27-14-3) Wednesday night. The Capitals lost to the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Tuesday night. Oilers forward Eric Cole netted a hat trick.
Staal the games #1 star: Jordan Staal scored his 14th goal of the season and has goals in three consecutive games since signing a four year – $16 million extension. Staal has been giving an opportunity to show the front office and coaching staff that he is ready to carry a second line playing with Petr Sykora. That has been one of the knock‚Äôs on Staal‚Äôs game throughout his young career. He performs better with third line role players
Coaching Staff/Players deserve credit for making adjustments
In Monday‚Äôs practice, the coaching staff focused on tightening up the neutral zone with an emphasis on gap control. Against the Flyers, the Penguins created a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone which opened up their offensive game. The Penguins forwards were in the right position and the D were much more aggressive and not as passive as they were against Colorado and Nashville.
The Av‚Äôs and Preds were attacking the Penguins through the neutral zone and driving to the net in the offensive zone with regularity. The Penguins limited the Flyers chances tonight. Getting three puck moving defensemen in the game was also nice to see. The Players deserve the bulk of the credit for playing discipline.
Bissonnette/Godard provided much needed toughness: Paul Bissonnette and Eric Godard saw less than 10 minutes combined of ice time but both players provided some toughness to the Penguins lineup. Godard halted the Flyers momentum in the first period pummeling Riley Cote and Bissonnette stirred things up with Aaron Asham. As an entire team, the Penguins played with more of a edge tonight than were use to seeing.
Dupuis out for Wednesday‚Äôs contest: Forward Pascal Dupuis will miss Wednesday night‚Äôs game against the Capitals. Dupuis remains sidelined with an ankle injury but has been skating since Friday. He should return by the weekend at the latest. Friday is a possible return.
Source: Zigomanis to decide on surgery by the end of the month: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, center Mike Zigomanis received an second opinion on his injured shoulder and surgery was recommended. Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned Zigomanis will make a final decision by the end of the month whether to have the surgery. Zigomanis has gone the rehab route for the time being with the hopes of the shoulder improving. The Penguins aren‚Äôt very optimistic but Zigomanis tear is not as bad as Gonchar‚Äôs was.
Speculation heating up: Ray Shero has been one of the most active GM‚Äôs working the phones to upgrade his roster. Darren Dregger of TSN.Ca reports the Penguins may be making a play to trade for Lightning forward Adam Hall. Shero liked Hall and wanted to re-sign him but Shero had no interest at the 3 year price tag Hall was seeking. Will be looking into this but I‚Äôm kind of skeptical even though Dregger is one of the best in the business. I don‚Äôt see Hall being any more of a improvement over Dustin Jeffrey but if my sources are right that Zigomanis may end up opting for surgery at the end of the month then it wouldn‚Äôt surprise me to see Shero searching for a veteran fourth line center.
What I do know is Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay talked earlier in the year about Mark Eaton. Tampa Bay has a strong interest in Alex Goligoski. Right now Tampa Bay is listening to offers for everyone on their roster and they are very interested in existing contracts which will be off the books after this year. Sort of operating like NBA GM‚Äôs do. As expected Pittsburgh has interest in Marty St. Louis but they will not move Jordan Staal for him.
Another quick thing to consider regarding Adam Hall is Lightning GM Brian Lawton was Ryan Malone‚Äôs former agent and orchestrated Malone signing with Tampa Bay. Malone and Hall became best friends in Pittsburgh which led to Hall getting a 3 year deal with the Lightning within hours on the first day of free agency. Malone has Lawton’s ear and I‚Äôm sure he wouldn‚Äôt be pushing for the Lightning to move his best friend in a deal that likely won’t improve the team. Just my thoughts on it
photo courtesy of Dan4th
More to come