by Tony on 03/04/09 at 12:53 AM ET
On a night when all the Eastern Conference teams around them won, the Penguins had to do their part in a place that has been anything but friendly confines.
New Penguin Chris Kunitz continued his impressive start in a Penguin uniform, scoring the first two Pens’ goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves to propel the Penguins to their fourth straight win 3-1 over the Bolts.
The Pens are now tied with the idle New York Rangers for 7th place in the East, two points from the 6th place Florida Panthers and three points from the 5th place Montreal Canadiens.
In all honesty, it really looked like the Penguins were a bit flat all night. They certainly weren’t getting to the same amount of loose pucks that they had been on the first two legs of this road trip. In addition, Tampa Bay sat both former Penguins Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts due to the impending trade deadline.
Once again, the Penguins got on the scoreboard first. Tyler Kennedy brought the puck into the Bolts’ zone along the right boards and fired a slapper that Bolts’ goalie Karri Ramo stopped but left a big rebound. Kunitz was right there to bang the rebound home to give the Pens a 1-0 lead at the 7:38 mark.
It wasn’t too long after that, however, that the Bolts evened up the score. Vinny Lecavalier brought the puck into the Pens’ zone on a 2-on-1 break. Lecavalier waited until the last second before sliding the puck over to Vinny Propsal for the one-timer past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 1-1 at 12:23.
Late in the period, on the Penguins’ powerplay, Evgeni Malkin centered the puck to Petr Sykora in the slot. Sykora fired a quick backhander on net that Ramo stopped, but Kunitz was there again to bang the rebound home, making it 2-1 Pens with 3:16 left in the first period.
The Pens completed the scoring midway through the second period when Pascal Dupuis brought the puck into the Bolts’ zone, spun around and was able to get off a centering pass to Matt Cooke, who fired a one-timer to the top shelf past Ramo to give the Pens a 3-1 lead.
- Outside of the one powerplay goal, the Pens rarely got the powerplay even setup. Even with Sergei Gonchar back, the powerplay is still ranked 24th in the NHL.
Now we wait and see what transpires before the trade deadline at 3PM ET tomorrow. Who knows how GMRS will do his dealing. I have a feeling he’s going to get some more grit, and one more forward. Just a feeling.
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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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