Crosby Assists Penguins’ Wingers Out of Slump

Sidney Crosby assisted on 4 of his team’s 5 goals on Thursday night to help the Penguins outscore the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2, despite being outshot 36-22 in the game.  For the Penguins, it was a night for their top wingers to snap out of their collective scoring slump as Petr Sykora (2G), Pascal Dupuis (1G), Miroslav Satan (1G) and Ruslan Fedotenko (1G) all put the puck in the net with the assistance of Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin.  While accounting for 5-goals tonight, these 4-wingers have together have scored just 5-goals in the prior 10-games.  After Wednesday night’s sub-par shootout performance, Goaltender Dany Sabourin bounced right back to stop 34 of 36 shots on goal, including several fantastic saves late in the game.

The Penguins got rolling at 10:53 of the first period while playing on the powerplay.  With Canes’ Nick Wallin in the box for hooking, Alex Goligoski brought the puck into the Carolina zone and drop passed the puck off the side wall to Sidney Crosby.  Crosby skated the puck to the top of the left circle and passed the puck across to Petr Sykora who was all alone at the top of the right circle.  Sykora unleashed a rising shot that beat Michael Leighton high on the stick side to make it 1-0.  Goligoski and Crosby picked up the assists on Sykora’s 6th of the season.  Then at 12:30, Pascal Dupuis stole the puck on a botched clearing attempt by Josef Melichar and passed the puck to Sidney Crosby as they moved in 2-on-0 on net.  Crosby kept goaltender Leighton moving to the right and then backhanded the puck across the crease to Dupuis, who wristed it into the empty side of the net.  Despite being outshot 11-5 in the period, the Penguins fond themselves up 2-0 going to the intermission.  The Penguins were 1-for-2 on the powerplay and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. 

In the 2nd period, the Penguins extended their lead with another powerplay goal early in the period.  Working near the blueline, Evgeni Malkin set up Sidney Crosby for a one-timer.  Playing well in front of the net, Leighton stopped Crosby’s blast, but lost the rebound to Petr Sykora who collected it and easily moved the puck behind the goaltender and into the net to make it 3-0.  Crosby and Malkin were credited with the assists.  Carolina bounced right back just 19-seconds later as Tuomo Ruutu returned from the penalty box and avenged the Penguins powerplay goal by wristing a shot past Dany Sabourin.  Sergei Samsonov and Josef Melichar each picked up an assist on the play.  At 6:51, the Penguins regained the 3-goal lead as Miroslav Satan skated into the offensive zone with the puck and again caught Leighton way out in front of his net.  Leighton missed on a poke check as Satan skated behind him to the side of the net and backhanded the puck into the crease.  With Crosby and Dupuis on the doorstep, a Canes’ player went sliding into the net taking the puck with him.  Being the last Penguin to touch the puck, Satan was credited with the goal to make it 4-1.  Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang were credited with the assists on the breakout pass.  At 14:15, Eric Godard was called for a hooking penalty and the Carolina Hurricanes made him pay as Matt Cullen connected for a goal from the high slot area.  Ray Whitney and Rod Brind’Amour picked up the assists.  Finally at 18:27, the Penguins again restored their 3-goal advantage as Evgeni Malkin stole the puck at the Canes’ blueline and let one rip on Leighton, who made the stop but gave up the rebound to Ruslan Fedotenko.  Rusty pounced on the puck and rode with it into the net to make it 5-2.  The Penguins were outshot 11-9 in the period, but connected for 3-goals.  The Penguins were 1-for-1 on the powerplay and 1-for-2 on the kill. 

In the 3rd period, the Penguins were outshot 14-8 but there was no scoring as Dany Sabourin shut the Canes down with several key saves.  The Penguins took 2-penalties in the 3rd, but successfully killed them both off as they went on to win the game by a final score of 5-2. 

Sidney Crosby collected 4-points (4A) on the night.  Evgeni Malkin (2A) and Petr Sykora (2G) each had 2-points.  Miroslav Satan led the team with 3-shots on net, while 8 other players each had 2-shots on net.  Max Talbot won 70% of his faceoffs (7 of 10), and was the only Penguin above 50% that squared off on more than 1-faceoff.  Rob Scuderi led all Penguins in ice time with 23:38, while Sidney Crosby led all forwards with 22:06.  Janne Pesonen and Chris Minard were called up and filled in for Tyler Kenedy and ike Zigomanis who were injured in New York on Wednesday night. 

The Penguins finish up their 3-game road trip on Saturday night when they take on the Senators in Ottawa.

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