by Tony on 10/18/09 at 12:44 AM ET
So much for that “first game back home after a road trip” cliche’.
The Penguins used an excellent defensive effort to propel them to their fifth straight win tonight at the Igloo with a 4-1 win over the Lightning.
The Pens are now 7-1 and kept pace with the victorious Rangers for the NHL’s best record. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 23 shots to raise his undefeated record to 7-0.
Bill Guerin, Sergei Gonchar, Pascal Dupuis and Mike Rupp scored for the Penguins, while Steven Stamkos had the only tally for the Bolts.
The Pens started the scoring in the first period on the powerplay when Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki came out far to defend a wrister from the right slot by Evgeni Malkin, but left a big rebound and a wide open net. Guerin was there to gather the puck and bang it home to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.
They doubled their lead later in the first off a faceoff win when Gonchar received a feed from Brooks Orpik and fired a slapper from the right point that Niittymaki couldn’t handle, making it 2-0 Penguins.
The Lightning were able to cut into the Penguins’ lead in the second period on a powerplay of their own when Fleury stopped a hard slapper from Martin St. Louis from the left slot, but the rebound went into the air, where Stamkos was able to bat it past Fleury and into the net to make it 2-1 Penguins.
But the Pens came right back as they’ve done several times already this season, when Gonchar fired a wrister from the center point, aided by a nice screen by Malkin, and past Niittymaki and into the net. The goal was initially awarded to Gonchar, but was later determined that Pascal Dupuis barely deflected the puck for his 1st goal of the season to make it 3-1.
The Pens’ fourth line (plus Sidney Crosby) got the last tally after a steal behind the Bolts’ net, where Crosby then took the puck and made a backhanded pass to Rupp in the slot, where he then fired a wrister past Niittymaki for the final score of 4-1.
- The NHL’s leader in blocked shots, Pens’ defenseman Jay Mckee, had seven more blocks tonight.
- Gonchar was +3 tonight, Crosby and Orpik were +2. Gonchar was also easily the leader in ice time, with 25:28.
- Pens’ powerplay was 1-for-7, including 2:12 worth of 5-on-3 PP time. The Pens had 15 shots on goal on those seven powerplays, but they could have had several more, some extra passing negated that.
- The Pens’ penalty kill was successful on 6 of their 7 occasions short-handed. The PK units are currently 9th in the NHL at an 83.7% kill rate.
The Pens will now host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. The game will be broadcast on Versus, so barring a resolution to their dispute with DirecTV within the next two days, will shut out many Pens fans from watching.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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