Sunday’s Olympic Buzz: Team USA wins Group A; Malkin pointless for 2nd straight game; Kunitz off Crosby’s line


SUNDAY’S OLYMPIC BUZZ Team USA rolled to a 5-1 win over Slovenia, clinching first place in Group A and earning eight out of a possible nine points in the preliminary round. The Americans have earned a bye. Phil Kessel led the way with a hat trick, producing the first hat trick by a U.S. player since John LeClair in the 2002 Olympics. Kessel leads the tournament with 7 points and is one of the hottest players in all of hockey right now. Including NHL and Olympic play, Kessel has 15 goals and 34 points in his last 18 games. Ryan McDonagh and David Backes also scored in the win for Team USA. Joe Pavelski added 3 assists. Ryan Miller got his first start of the tournament, making 17 saves in the win. Brooks Orpik had an assist and was a +1. Orpik played 17:04. Paul Martin was a +1 inRead More »

Chris Kunitz a much stronger candidate to make Team Canada than James Neal


ON KUNITZ CHANCES FOR TEAM CANADA The buzz going around this week is that Sidney Crosby’s struggles to mesh with linemates in the 2010 Olympics has been something discussed internally among Team Canada’s top decision makers and those concerns will strongly enhance Chris Kunitz bid to make Team Canada and likely play on the top line with Crosby. Crosby in the 2010 games had respectable numbers (4G-3A-7Pts), and scored the overtime winner in the Gold Medal game over the Americans, but he didn’t have a dominant Olympics and failed to find much chemistry with the likes of Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla and others.

Five point nights from Kunitz and Crosby lead Penguins to 6-1 win over Islanders


POST-GAME BUZZ Chris Kunitz (17) scored his second hat trick of the season, and Sidney Crosby added five assists, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins (18-8-0, 36 pts) to a 6-1 rout over the New York Islanders (11-12-3, 25 pts) on Sunday night at the Consol Energy Center. Pascal Dupuis (11) scored twice and James Neal (17) had a goal and two assists in the win. Defensemen Kris Letang also had two assists as five Penguins had multi-point games. Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves to record his sixth win of the season. The Penguins played very well in front of him and didn’t give the Islanders many second chances. Vokoun faced just 10 shots through the first forty minutes of the game. The Penguins extending their winning streak to five games, got a huge game from the top line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis who combined for 5 goalsRead More »

Post-Game: Pens get Big win in Dallas but suffer potential costly injuries to Letang, Sullivan


Letang, Sullivan injured in win The Pittsburgh Penguins got a big 4-3 shootout win against the Dallas Stars but it was a potential costly win. Pascal Dupuis converted in the fourth round of the shootout as the Penguins won their fourth straight game and improved to 16-4-1 in their last 21 games. Dupuis fired a shot past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and Marc-Andre Fleury denied Michael Ryder’s attempt to clinch the extra point for Pittsburgh who are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference with 79 points. James Neal and Chris Kunitz also scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, while Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas. Jamie Benn (18) and Steve Sullivan (12) scored first period goals and Sheldon Souray (6) scored with 13 seconds remaining in the second period, giving Dallas a 2-1 lead going into the third period. In an up and down high paced game, CraigRead More »

With eye on division crown, must-win game for Pens tonight


Game 74 Pittsburgh 42-23-8, 92 pts) @ Philadelphia (44-19-9, 97pts) PHI Home Record: 21-10-5 | PIT Road Record: 20-10-6 PHI Last 10: 4-3-2 | PIT Last 10: 6-2-2 | Season Series: Philadelphia leads, 3-1 Game Buzz Although the Penguins are very close to clinching a playoff berth, the Penguins enter tonight’s pivotal matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers in a must-win situation, when it comes to their chances of winning the division title. “They’re in our sights,” head coach Dan Bylsma said on Wednesday. “We’ve gotta win two games against them to think we have a chance of getting them.”

Penguins @ Senators pre-game Notes: Johnson in goal


Game 71 Pittsburgh Penguins (40-22-8, 88pts) @ Ottawa Senators (25-35-9, 59 pts) OTT Home Record: 11-18-5 | PIT Road Record: 18-10-6 PIT Last 10: 4-3-3 | OTT Last 10: 6-4-0 Season Series: Pit Leads 2-1 Game Buzz Following Saturday’s lackluster 3-0 shutout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the schedule makers have been favorable to the Penguins. Pittsburgh bounced back Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over the NHL worst Edmonton Oilers and tonight face the Ottawa Senators on the road, who own the worst record in the Eastern Conference. For the Penguins who are looking to lockup home ice in the first round and still have their eye on a division crown, this is a game where the Penguins have to get two points.

Monday Practice Report: Kunitz misses practice


Pittsburgh — The Pittsburgh Penguins returned to the ice this morning at Mellon Arena after having an off-day on Easter Sunday. Following the teams win Saturday afternoon against the Atlanta Thrashers, the team went out on the town Saturday night for Marc Andre Fleury’s girlfriends birthday. All of the Penguins (except Sidney Crosby), incluidng their wives and girlfriends, spent most of the night in the VIP section at Club Diesel on the South Side. Word is Evgeni Malkin was having himself a good time and was the life of the party. Club Diesel is a common hang out for a number of players. Meanwhile, as the Penguins went back to work today, a good sign for Pittsburgh is that Malkin participated fully in today’s practice. Malkin returned to action on Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers. He had a goal and an assist to lead the Penguins to a 4-3 overtimeRead More »

Game 40: Penguins lose second straight; Staal to learn Team Canada fate


Buffalo 4 – Pittsburgh 3 The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 3-0 lead as the Buffalo Sabres scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Penguins 4-3 Tuesday night. Jordan Staal (11), Bill Guerin (12) and Chris Kunitz (6) scored for the Penguins, who squandered a three-goal lead for the first time since a 5-3 loss at Nashville on January 8, 2009. Pittsburgh dominated for the first 30 minutes of the game but a turning point in the game was a Drew Stafford penalty shot goal at 12:46 of the second period.

Game 40: Fedotenko demoted to the 4th line; Kennedy to return to lineup


Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has not been happy with the production of his top-2 line wingers. Bill Guerin is the only consistent winger the Penguins have had all season playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. Yesterday in practice, Michael Rupp skated with Sidney Crosby while Ruslan Fedotenko took line rushes on the third and fourth line. More changes are instore tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. This morning Chris Kunitz returned to the ice after missing yesterday’s skate and will play on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis tonight. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin will center Michael Rupp and Bill Guerin on the second line. Dan Bylsma sent a message on Sunday scratching Tyler Kennedy and Bylsma is considering another change tonight.