Penguins have won 8 of 10
Sidney Crosby had two goals and an assist and Bill Guerin added a power play goal in the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 Thursday night at Mellon Arena.
The Avalanche in the midst of back-to-back games, played a tight defensive game but Pittsburgh took over in the third period out shooting the Avalanche 14-1 in the period.
Pittsburgh added an empty net goal by Jodan Staal (7) at 19:11 of the third period and Sidney Crosby added another 18 seconds later as the Penguins prevailed 4-1.
Crosby’s three point night gives him 11 points in his last three games.
Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury made 15 saves to record his 17th win of the season.
Post-Game Wrap up
*The Colorado Avalanche like to play a tight defensive game in the neutral zone similar to the Phoenix Coyotes and look to create offense off of turnovers.
In the third period they were just over-matched by a more skilled team and sort of collapsed after a second period goal was disallowed.
The Av’s were very frustrated after the game about the no call, when the ref blew his whistle after the puck was behind Fleury. NHL rules claim a play can’t be reviewed for an “intended blown whistle”.
*Sidney Crosby’s first period goal with 7 seconds left in the period is the kind of goal that drives coaches nuts.
The Avalanche turned the puck over in the offensive zone and Evgeni Malkin moved the puck up to Crosby for a 2-on-1 with Michael Rupp as Crosby scored a beautiful goal on a Give-and-Go play with Rupp.
*Pittsburgh’s power play delivered tonight in the third period just as their 5-on-3 man advantage ended. It’s the kind of game changing power play goal that has been rare this season for the Penguins. Pittsburgh though is 0-7 on the year in 5-on-3 situations.
*Michael Rupp continues to show signs of being able to take a shift on the top two lines but the coaching staff doesn’t want to put too much on his plate right now. The coaching staff is only going to use Rupp with Crosby or Malkin in certain situations, like what happened on Crosby’s first period goal.
*Ruslan Fedotenko had a better performance tonight after a lackluster game Monday night. Fedotenko had 4 shots on goal and 17:33 of ice time. Fedotenko also made a key defensive play on Marek Svatos in the defensive zone.
*Dan Bylsma talked after the game how the Penguins have a knack for scoring timely goals. Bylsma was pleased to see the power play come up big.
*Defenseman Alex Goligoski (groin) skated on his own this morning but will not be cleared to play Saturday night.
Pittsburgh improved to 20-9 on the season and Sidney Crosby stated after the game that there is still room for improvement.
*Stanley Cup Preview? The 17-6-3 Chicago Blackhawks come to town Saturday night. The Hawks are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. A lot of buzz in the locker room after the game about Saturday’s game.
TIOPS Three Stars
1. Sidney Crosby (2 goals, 1 assist)
Analysis: Catalyst for the Penguins offensively. Scored with 7 seconds left in the first period and set up Bill Guerin for the game winning goal with a beautiful shot fake/pass.
2. Evgeni Malkin ( 3 assists)
Analysis: A three point night for the NHL scoring champion. Malkin made the key play on the boards for Crosby’s first period goal and carried the puck in the offensive zone for Guerin’s game winning goal.
Malkin is not putting the puck in the net at Crosby’s rate but is finding ways to get points despite minimal production from his normal linemates 5-on-5.
3. Bill Guerin (1 goal, GWG)
Analysis: Netted the game winning goal and has 8 points in his last 10 games. Production wise, he’s right where the Penguins expected him to be at this point.