The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a roll winning their 5th straight game Thursday night as they defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1. Pittsburgh who is 10-3-1 in their last 14 games are beginning to look like a team that no one wants to play down the stretch.
Tyler Kennedy led the way for the Penguins scoring two goals as the Penguins outshot the Panthers 47-32. Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby also scored for the Penguins who are now 7-1-1 under interim head coach Dan Bylsma. Crosby who missed four straight games prior to Thursday‚Äôs game scored his 24th goal of the season and played a total of 18:17. Marc Andre Fleury¬†made 31 saves to record his 26th victory of the season
Post Game Analysis
Bill Guerin makes debut
Bill Guerin recorded his 800th career point with an assist on Sidney Crosby‚Äôs 2nd period goal. Guerin played a total of 15:12 and registered 5 shots on goal. Guerin was very effective on the wall and finding space in the slot. For his first game playing with Sidney Crosby, Guerin and Crosby had good chemistry in the offensive zone. Guerin is going to open up space for Crosby. Another positive for Guerin, he has played center all season in New York.¬† He is very under-rated in the defensive zone.
Kennedy, others will benefit with new additions
The additions of Chris Kuntiz and Bill Guerin will keep playes like Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke in third line roles. Both players can fill in on a top two line for a couple games but they don‚Äôt have the ability to be consistent top 6 forwards. The Kennedy ‚Äì Staal ‚Äì Cooke line was effective on both ends of the ice. The Penguins are finally three lines deep and while there may be a player or two on the top two lines that is a border line top 6 forward, that happens with every team.
Letang benefiting from up-tempo system
Kris Letang was a healthy scratch for three of the first four games¬†under head coach¬†Dan Bylsma but ever since he has been put back in the lineup, Letang‚Äôs game has been flourishing in Bylsma’s uptempo system. Letang is the kind of player who sometimes lacks confidence. Even in the two practices before he was put back in the lineup against the Islanders last week, Letang was tentative and nervous after being in the press box for three games. I‚Äôve been told Bylsma had a 8-10 minute talk with Letang to express his confidence in him early last week. Little things like pulling a player to the side is beneficial for young players. The biggest strength of Bylsma‚Äôs coaching philosophy is his communication skills.
The Latest Buzz
Forward Petr Sykora was non-existent throughout the game and saw his ice time limited mid-way thru the third period after taking a holding penalty at 12:12 of the third period.
Marc Andre Fleury is picking up his game at the same time that he started to do so last season. Fleury is 7-1-1 in his last 9 starts. Speaking of Fleury he may be limited in practice the next couple days. He turned awkwardly in the third period and was icing his groin after the game according to source.
The Edmonton Oilers were the team that offered the Penguins a 2nd round pick for Hal Gill. Late Wednesday morning they pulled the offer and said they were exploring other options. Gill, Eaton played well tonight.
The Penguins also received offers for Pascal Dupuis and Petr Sykora. Of the two, the Penguins were only close to moving Dupuis. Moving that salary might not have been a bad idea depending on what the return would have been.
The Penguins will remain in Florida until Saturday.
1. Marc Andre Fleury ( 31 Saves )
2. Sidney Crosby (24)
3. Radek Dvorak
No Tyler Kennedy?