Penguins Outshine the Stars, Win 4-1

The Pittsburgh Penguins put a 3rd consecutive win in the books on Friday night as they beat the Dallas Stars at the Mellon Arena by a score of 4-1.  After a 6-day rest, the Penguins could have looked a little rusty and played a little sluggish….but they didn’t.  Instead, the Penguins came out strong, scored early, and played a full 60-minutes of hockey in a very successful return to the ice.  It is looking more like the Thanksgiving win against the Ottawa Senators may well have been the turning point of the season so far for the Penguins who are playing with renewed confidence and desperation.   

The Penguins bolted out of the gates in the first period with a goal by Sidney Crosby just 24 seconds into the game.  Crosby picked the puck up off the boards and appeared to be going behind the net.  Instead, he pulled up and came out on the short side of the net surprising the Stars’ tender Mike Smith and jammed it through the 5-hole.  Colby Armstrong and Brooks Orpik were credited with the assists.  At 1:53, there was a short fight between Krys Barch and Georges Laraque in which Laraque got off several jabs to Barch’s helmet before wrestling him to the ice.  Barch never really got a shot on Laraque.  Then at 3:38, Tyler Kennedy scored his 3rd trademark goal by taking the puck into the circle to the right of the goaltender and slinging the puck into the back of the net.  Jordan Staal and Gary Roberts picked up the assists on Kennedy’s goal, giving Staal a 3rd consecutive game in which he has picked up at least a point.  The Penguins outshot the Stars 10-9 in the first with both goals coming at even strength.  The Penguins had no chances on the power play and successfully killed their only penalty of the period.

In the second, the Stars put in their only goal of the game at 5:31 off from the stick of sniper Mike Ribeiro.  Using Darryl Sydor as a screen, Ribeiro slapped the puck over the glove shoulder of Fleury.  Steve Ott and Philippe Boucher picked up the assists.  Just 3 minutes later, the Penguins restored the 2-goal lead on Sidney Crosby’s 2nd goal of the night.  Crosby picked up a rebound at the right side of the net and quickly wristed a roofer over Smith’s shoulder, dislodging the water bottle and making it 3-1.  Colby Armstrong and Darryl Sydor got the assists.  Sydor, playing in his first game after sitting for 4, was called up to replace Sergei Gonchar who is out with a sore groin.  Gonchar skated in practice, but was not ready to return to the game yet.  Maxime Talbot, out with a sprained ankle, also practiced with the team, but remained on the injured list for the game.  Shots were even in the second at 8 a piece.  The Penguins killed off their only penalty of the period, and were not afforded a man advantage opportunity of their own.

In the third, it was pretty much all Penguins as they outshot the Stars 10-6 and scored the insurance marker at 14:28 on a blast into the gaping net by Evgeni Malkin.  Malkin skated into the zone as the late man and took a perfect feed from Petr Sykora that he buried deep into the twine.  The Penguins finally were given an opportunity with the man advantage at 16:38, with an added opportunity coming at 18:34 (creating a 4-second 5-on-3).  However, they failed to score despite several good chances, including a great opportunity for Crosby to score and claim his 2nd career hat trick.  Perhaps tomorrow night… 

Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves on 23 shots and looked solid in goal, although he was not overly challenged.  Sidney Crosby picked up 2-goals and played an outstanding game to be named the game’s 1st star.  Crosby, scoreless in just 2-games this season, is in 2nd place in league scoring, just 3-points behind Vincent Lecavalier.  Colby Armstrong had a great game on Crosby’s wing, picking up 2-assists for the game’s 2nd star.  In their 3-wins, the Penguins have outscored their opponents 14 -6, and have only given up 1 goal in the last 2 games. 

The Penguins hopped on an airplane to Toronto after the game, where they will take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at 7PM.   

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