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The Confluence

Surging Penguins regain playoff slot in 4-1 win over Stars

Who needs that Crosby fella anyway, right ??  [  Kidding, just kidding !!  ]

The Penguins took advantage of a tired Dallas Stars crew and dominated the play on a Sunday afternoon, getting goal from four different players in a 4-1 win over the Stars.

Pittsburgh, 5-1-1 under IHCDB, is now alone in 8th position in the Eastern Conference race.  They could have tied Florida and actually been in 7th place today, but the Capitals did the Pens no favors by getting blown out by the Panthers today, 6-2.  So as it is, the Pens are now in 8th, only two points behind both the 6th place Panthers and the 7th place Rangers.

Today’s win also marked the first time since November that the Pens won three straight games.

Marc-Andre Fleury continued his solid play recent today as well, although he only saw 21 shots, making 20 saves.  Today’s win for Fleury was his 100th in the NHL.

The Penguins once again jumped on the scoreboard first.  Jordan Staal was able to corral a loose puck in the neutral zone to start a 2-on-1 break with Evgeni Malkin.  Staal fed Malkin for a wrister from the right slot that Stars’ backup goalie Tobias Stephan stopped, but left a big rebound for Staal to backhand into the net to give the Pens a 1-0 lead only 4:08 into the game.

That lead was doubled with about four minutes left in the first period after a great individual effort by Kris Letang.  Letang blocked a shot in the Pens’ zone.  As the Pens gathered in the loose puck, Letang sprinted down the right boards.  New Penguin Chris Kunitz got the puck to Malkin at center ice, who then fed it to Letang at the Stars’ blueline.  Letang the skated past the Stars’ D-man and lofted a sweet backhander past Stephan to make it 2-0 Pens.

By the way, it’s plays like that that made Ryan Whitney expendable.

About eight minutes into the second period, the Pens took advantage of a huge error inside the Stars’ zone.  Stars’ D-man Trevor Daley whiffed on a cross-ice pass to his defensive partner, basically passing it right to Miro Satan.  Satan calmly skated in, waited for Stephan to go down, the skated around him and went backhand/forehand to put the puck in the net to make it 3—0 Pens.

The Penguins padded their lead later on in the second period on the powerplay, aided by a fortunate bounce of the puck.  The Stars’ penalty killers were attempting to go cross-ice along the backboards, but the puck hit a partition and rebounded to open ice where Malkin was waiting all alone.  Malkin calmly fired a wrister to the left post and in the net past Stephan to make it 4-0.

The Stars did get on the board about six minutes into the third period on a powerplay goal by Loui Erikkson, but that was all the offense the Stars could muster.

Other notes:
- Crosby was held out for the 3rd straight game, in which the Pens have won each one.
- Satan was one of the main Penguins’ whippng boys throughout the season, but he has looked much better since IHCDB took over, as has Jordan Staal.  Coincidence ??  I really don’t know right now, but one things for sure, if they can get Satan and Staal going on a regular basis, it makes the Penguins much more dangerous.
- The powerplay went 1 for 6, including two separate 5 on 3’s.
- 9 hits for Brooks Orpik, 5 for Chris Kunitz.
- Max Talbot was 12 for 16 on faceoffs.
- Sergei Gonchar led the Pens in ice time with 26:03.

Next crucial game for the Pens will be Tuesday night in Tampa Bay vs. the Lightning.  Of course, it will also be the last game prior to the trade deadline.  We’ll see if the Pens look any different before they hit the ice on Tuesday.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: dallas+stars, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

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.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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