by Tony on 12/19/08 at 01:30 AM ET
Well, obviously, the Penguins needed that four day break after a sluggish 6-3 loss in Philadelphia last Saturday vs. the Flyers.
That, and playing their first game after the break against the Atlanta Thrashers didn’t hurt either.
The Pens headed down to Hotlanta tonight, got their #1 goalie back, and played a pretty decent game in topping the Thrashers 6-3.
Evgeni Malkin had 2 goals and 4 points, while Marc-Andre Fleury had a solid return in goal for the Penguins, holding off significant pressure from the Thrashers in both the 1st and 3rd periods.
It wasn’t a great effort from the Pens. The Thrashers, as mentioned, had several really good scoring opportunities but were stoned the majority of the time by Fleury. In addition, the Pens had some fatal turnovers that directly led to Thrashers’ goals.
The Pens got on the board first, when Tim Wallace made a cross-ice pass to Matt Cooke, who skated in on Thrashers’ goalie Ondrej Pavelec and fired a nice wrister to the short side past Pavelec to make it 1-0 Pens about five minutes into the game.
They doubled their lead about four minutes later when Malkin made a good physical effort playing the body to corral a loose puck in front of the Thrashers’ net and backhanded it into the open cage to make it 2-0 Penguins.
The Thrashers got a fortunate bounce near the end of the first period when Ilya Kovalchuk, who had been on the ice for nearly four consecutive minutes, fired a slapper from the right point that deflected off both Kris Letang’s stick and Marty Reasoner’s body to get past Fleury to make it 2-1 Pens. Reasoner got credit for the goal, despite the fact that he and Brooks Orpik had been tangling down on the ice for several seconds prior to Kovalchuk’s shot.
The Pens extended their lead about four minutes into the second period when on the powerplay Malkin fired a shot from the right point that apparently Jordan Staal got a piece of and deflected past Pavelec to make it 3-1 Pens.
The Penguins made it 4-1 a couple minutes later back on another powerplay when Jeff Taffe made a nice centering pass to Miro Satan in the slot, who calmly went forehand/backhand to beat Pavelec again.
Atlanta didn’t give up, as not even two minutes later they made some nice tic-tac-toe passing to Bryan Little in the slot for a quick one-timer past Fleury to make it 4-2 Pens.
That didn’t last long though, as Philippe Boucher’s slapper from the right point was barely deflected by the Thrashers’ defenseman enough to put it though Pavelec’s five hole to make it 5-2. That was the end of Pavelec’s night, and former Penguins Johan “Moose” Hedberg made his first appearance vs. the Penguins in a long time.
The third period, for the most part, was uneventful. Another former Penguin, Colby Armstrong was the recipient of a steal after a bad pass from Satan and fired a wrister from the slot that beat Fleury to the short side to cut the Pens’ lead to 5-3.
However, Malkin got a nice feed in the closing minute from Sidney Crosby for the empty netter for the final score of 6-3.
- The Pens made have gotten yet another injury when Pascal Dupuis left the game in the first period and didn’t return.
- Both Armstrong and Eric Godard got 10 minute misconduct penalties, even though they didn’t fight.
- The Penguins had 6 goals on only 20 shots.
- The Pens took advantage of the NHL’s worst penalty kill, going 2 for 3 on the powerplay.
- Ryan Stone looked pretty good in his first game back up with the Pens, credited with 5 hits and 3 shots.
The Pens now come back home for a Saturday night tilt vs. Toronto.
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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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