The Penguins found themselves in an up and down hockey game that resulted in their first overtime contest since November but was able to best the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in the shootout. Two points it two points and when you are giving up that extra point to a team that isn’t going to make the playoffs then you can deal with that. The Penguins were all over the ice and really playing some good hockey.
Things weren’t that great early on as the Penguins were behind the eight ball just 2:11 into the game when Jamie McBain scored from the slot to give the Canes a 1-0 lead. Really ugly play by Paul Martin on the play which led to people wanting to cut him on the spot. No idea.
The Penguins played some really great hockey in the period, which translated into the entire game, but their hard work paid off late in the first period when Evgeni Malkin tied the game at one. Matt Niskanen and Martin got assists but this was all Malkin. Malkin took a puck that was deflected off his shins from Eric Staal and beat Cam Ward short side, top shelf, in a window that was just bigger than the puck. No idea how he did it. Ward has nightmares about Malkin the night before Pens/Canes games.
The Pens won the shootout when Geno and James Neal threw goals past Ward and MAF made a sick toe save to clinch the win.
-This was the most physical game that the Penguins have played in some time. Joe Vitale was right in the middle of it and from start to finish he was laying the lumber. No idea how you can make Vitale a healthy scratch for some time.
-Brooks Orpik laid the hit of the season on Jeff Skinner:
Skinner was down and out and this was his second game back from a concussion and it didn’t look good as you can see from the video. Skinner was back to the game after about 10 minutes but that doesn’t mean anything. The Hurricanes better hope that Skinner doesn’t have any concussion related symptoms after that hit. It’s going to look really bad on the Hurricanes and the ATC staff if he does. Could mean huge ramifications for them if this is true. Either way there is no way Skinner should have been back in that game. Orpik also got a penalty for the hit. Interference. The official thought the puck was away but evidently after seeing the replay the official apologize to Orpik.
-Deryk Engelland and Tim Gleason threw down. It was unreal.
-Marc Andre Fleury has been a brick wall lately. He gave up the early one on a defensive breakdown but made tough saves look pretty routine the rest of the game. This has been his best full season so far in his career and with the injury situation the way it has been he has answered the bell and played some great hockey.
-Pascal Dupuis might have been the best player on the ice tonight for either team. On the Penguins there might not be a single player who works harder than Dupuis. He might have had 100 chances tonight but just couldn’t get one to fall but his continued hustle and gritty play created those chances for himself and his teammates. Unreal work by Duper. He should have been one of the three stars tonight.
-Malkin has been nothing less than dominating. Also the chemistry between him and James Neal is so ridiculous it isn’t even funny. Neal is not going to be playing with Sidney Crosby when he eventually comes back and if he does it will be a huge mistake.
Whatever. Bring on the Rangers and Habs on Thursday and Friday.