Seven Is Better Than Six, Pens Douse Flames
The Pittsburgh Penguins are making quite the habit of defending their home fortress in recent weeks. The Penguins held on for a 4-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames this afternoon for the Penguins seventh win in a row and tenth straight at CONSOL Energy Center.
Sidney Crosby added three points now leading the league with 54 also having a league leading 34 assists.
With the exception of the Crosby, Dupuis, and Kunitz line, the first period was not very solid for either team, despite the Penguins taking a 2-0 lead on only five shots. Defense has been a noted sore spot for the Flames for the bulk of the season, but have been markedly improved recently with the return of captain Mark Giordano after a near twenty game absence.
Pascal Dupuis got the opening tally of the game halfway through the first period collecting a Crosby rebound that snuck through goalie Karri Ramo into the crease. Dupuis broke in alone behind an unaware Giordano as Lance Bouma was caught anticipating a breakout that was deftly stolen by Crosby.
Only 1:19 later, Harry Zolnierczyk tipped in a Robert Bortuzzo point shot over the glove of Ramo for his first goal as a Penguin making it 2-0.
In the second, the Flames cut the deficit in half when Paul Byron's slapshot hit the post and bounced off of both Marc-Andre Fleury's legs to skitter into the net. Forward Chris Conner got himself caught following Joe Colborne down the left wing boards leaving Byron uncontested for his shot.
Crosby added a new entry to his ever-growing highlight real collecting a Kunitz pass in the neutral zone and effortlessly dekeing TJ Brodie leaving him hailing a cab on Grant Street on his way to blowing a slapshot over the glove of Ramo for his twentieth goal of the season. Brodie was victimized later in the period as Matt Niskanen's wrist shot deflected off his stick and behind Ramo making it 4-1 late in the second.
Noted Penguin killer Michael Cammalleri got one right back getting around a Niskanen poke check and going over Fleury's glove. While, Jiri Hudler got the Flames within one early in the third period getting open in the slot after Bortuzzo and Conner got their wires crossed.
The closest the Flames got to tying the game was stuffed by the goalie's best friend, the goalpost, as Colborne's wrap around attempt got past Fleury but not over the line.
-Fleury finished the game with 27 saves on 30 shots while Ramo stopped 19 of 23 shots.
-Penguins avoided even more injuries to the blueline as Niskanen and Maatta both left the game only to return and finish the contest.
-The Penguins have not trailed at home in 377 minutes and 19 seconds.
-The Penguins are going on a four game road trip starting Monday in Ottawa.