Tensions have been sky high throughout the Penguins organization of late. A 4-3 win vs the Minnesota Wild tonight isn’t going to change that but what the Penguins desperately needed tonight was one of their stars, whether it was Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to not only do something but put on a show.

Malkin took the honors tonight in a dazzling performance that included a highlight reel goal in the second period. He was in on all four goals with a 2 goal – 2 assists night. For the first two periods the fans were entertained but a star player putting on a show for the Penguins has become such a rarity around here anymore, if the Wild would have came back and won after being down 4-1, the game would have still likely been seen as a positive for the Penguins. Among the reasons:

1. Malkin took over the game

2. The power play produced two goals and had a shot mentality (12 power play shots)

3. The battle level of the stars was above the line.

Tonight was Malkin’s first four point game in over 90 regular season games and his first multi-goal game in 34 games (including post-season).

What you heard coming out of the room tonight is a lot of “that’s the way we want to play” — Marc Andre Fleury

Is tonight’s win a sign of things to come?

Don’t get your hopes up just yet. As stated before this is going to be a roller coaster season with this group and really on a game-by-game basis.

One thing the Penguins continue to prove is they haven’t quit on their coach. They responded for Johnston after the 0-3 start….. third period vs Montreal last week…… and responded today with a good response game after playing the type of game Saturday vs the Devils that reminded some of the Toronto game in 2009 that was Michel Therrien’s last game behind the bench as Penguins coach.

While the Penguins continue to prove they haven’t quit on Johnston, what upper management is trying to get their head around is whether Johnston can pull through and be the answer to getting consistency installed into this team. So far the answer has been no but every time the Penguins look like they might be hitting rock bottom and a bad loss tonight would have had them heading there, this group has pulled through under Johnston.

As Jim Rutherford has been looking trade [hide] route more so than making a coaching change, Johnston still got type of performance he needed out of his group to take some tension out of the room because the players also hear the noise.


— Mike Johnston had no update on Olli Maatta but there was obvious concern. “I don’t have an update. I know when he was leaving the rink everyone was concerned,” Johnston said. Johnston was not happy with the gate being open. “My replay was on the screen. Issue I have, why was the gate open? “Dangerous, dangerous play when gate is open like that.”

— No points for Sidney Crosby but Johnston loved his game. “Sid was outstanding To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!