by Tony on 12/05/08 at 12:24 AM ET
It figures. With Raleigh only 200 miles away from my humble abode, I’ve been able to attend Penguins games in Raleigh six times over the years. The Pens are 0-5-1 in those games. So it figures when I DON’T go, they play their best game in Raleigh in several years.
[By the way, the Pens are much more successful when I travel 200 miles north to DC, thanks Caps fans….]
It was refreshing for a change to have a quote/unquote easy win tonight at the expense of the Carolina Hurricanes and their old/new head coach, Paul Maurice.
Petr Sykora scored two goals for the 42nd time in his NHL career without scoring a hat trick, extending his own NHL record, and Sidney Crosby had four assists to pull within two points of teammate Evgeni Malkin for the NHL scoring lead as the Penguins cruised to 5-2 win over the Hurricanes in Raleigh tonight.
Dany Sabourin played another solid game for the Pens, saving 34 of 36 Carolina shots. Most of his bigger saves came in the first period when, as expected, the Canes came out hard in their first game with their new coach.
The problem for the Canes was that along with that intensity came several bad turnovers in their own zone, a few of which resulted in Penguins’ goals.
The Penguins’ powerplay was quite successful as well tonight, going 2 for 3. They started their powerplay success midway through the first period when Crosby fed the puck from the left boards to Sykora in the slot, where he fired a nice one-timer high to the top shelf and past Canes’ goalie Michael Leighton to make it 1-0 Pens.
Less than two minutes later the Pens doubled their lead when former Penguin Joe Melichar did what he did plenty of times for the Pens, turned the puck over, and Pascal Dupuis eventually stole the puck. Dupuis fed it to Crosby, who dished it back to Dupuis for the tap-in past Leighton making it 2-0 Penguins.
They made it 3-0 a couple of minutes into the second period back on the powerplay when Leighton stopped a Crosby slapper from the right point, but the puck trickled behind him, where Sykora was waiting for the easy tap-in. The goal was Sykora’s 100th powerplay goal of his career.
Give Carolina credit, they didn’t give up and scored only 17 seconds after Sykora’s goal when Tuomo Ruutu took a Sergei Samsonov pass and made a nice backhand/forehand move with a wrister that beat Dany Sabourin to cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-1.
However, the Penguins erased that about four minutes later when Kris Letang stole the puck in the neutral zone. He fed the puck to Miro Satan, who skated in on a 2-on-1 break but held the puck until the goalie went down, then got around Leighton and put the puck in front of the goalline, where it eventually was banged over the line by a scramble by the Canes defensemen making it 4-1.
The Canes cut the lead to 4-2 with about four minutes left in the second period when Matt Cullen’s slapper from the center point deflected off Jordan Staal’s stick and past Sabourin to make it 4-2.
The Pens closed the scoring out with about a minute and a half left in the second period when after another Canes turnover in their own zone, Malkin skated in and fired a wrister that Leighton stopped, but once again the rebound was left behind him. This time Ruslan Fedotenko was there to put it home to make it 5-2.
The third period was rather uneventful, with the Pens playing strong defense, Sabourin stopping any comeback attempt by the Canes, and Malkin furiously but unsuccessfully trying to get Sykora his hat trick.
- Janne Pesonen played on the fourth line, but once again only played about six minutes. Rather disappointing seeing him only get that little amount of playing time in a 5-2 game.
- Chris Minard faired better, looking pretty good on the third line with Staal and Cooke. Minard played over 10 minutes, had five hits and a couple of shots on goal.
- Attendance was 14,559, much smaller than recent Penguins games in Raleigh. Figures, I’m usually down there, especially on weekends, and they usually lose.
- Tuomo Ruutu had a pretty nasty boarding hit on Alex Goligoski early in the game, then got hit back hard by Brooks Orpik later in the game.
The Penguins head to Ottawa tomorrow after practice for their Saturday afternoon game vs. the Sens.
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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
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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