Pens Control the Hurricanes
It was the first game back after the Christmas break. The Penguins were eager to play as their three game winning streak was on the line, the only problem was the team they played against. The Carolina Hurricanes had won the night before in convincing manor. With a big win against the Canadiens, the Hurricanes came to Pittsburgh a good note.
In the first period, the Penguins took control. They had a vast majority of the shots, but it was the Hurricanes who would score. Off of a great block and pass down low, Tim Brent scored a fantastic quick goal that left Fleury out of position. The period would end at one to nothing, but the Penguins would have an edge in shots and chances.
In the second period, the Pens took it too Carolina. They would score with Neal crashing then net. Malkin would get an assits on Neals 21st goal of the season. The Pens finished the second with a total of 37 shots compared to Carolina’s 10.
The Pens started the third period off strong. With a tripping penalty the Penguins took the power play with authority. Steve Sullivan scored off of a great chance set up by Evgeni Malkin. It was Malkin and Neal assisting off of Sullivan’s 7th goal of the season. Quickly after the power play goal, Pascal Dupuis scored his 11th goal of the season, giving the Pens a 3-1 lead in the game. At this point the Penguins had 39 shots on net compared to Carolina’s 10. They dominated the game so far, but considering Carolina played the night before, the Hurricanes played rather well. The Penguins took over the game decisively from there. After a few minutes of strong play, the Pens got their fourth of the game. Jordan Staal, in his 400th game, scored his 14th of the season on a great wrist shot. It was on a two on one and Staal made the best of it. By this point in time, the game was all but over.
Tuomo Ruutu would score the Hurricanes third goal of the game off of a turnover by Fleury. By this point the Penguins had a 50 to 16 advantage in the shot department. The Penguins have played well, with two strong shorthanded chances, but let a weak attempt follow up with a goal. With a few minutes left the Penguins would take a penalty, but the Hurricanes would follow up with no goal. The Penguins played strong thorough the game, guiding them to their 4th straight victory and their 7th victory in their last ten. The Pens had 52total shots, marking a high total for a team that prides themselves on shots on goal.
Lost in this was the play of Marc-Andre Fleury, Justin Peters, and Simon Despres. Fleury finished with 16 saves on 18 shots, not bad considering the type of game that ensued. Despres was even in the game, but played exceptional. With a few great scoring chances and at least 5 great solo defensive stops, the young Pen continued to excel. Justin Peters was able to stop 48 shots, which is exceptional in all areas. The Pens have been able to hold their last three opponents to just 19, 18, and 18 shots. The Penguins take on the Flyers Thursday and with a hot streak coming in, the Pens look to take over the Atlantic Division in style.