Thursday, 13 April 2017

NHL - Penguins - Round Up March 15-21, 2017

Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers 0-4 - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dale Weise said he's been waiting a long time for a game like he had for the Philadelphia Flyers in their 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center. Weise had a goal and an assist in his first game after being a healthy scratch in six straight and for 13 of the previous 22. The goal ended a 33-game drought dating to Nov. 23. Steve Mason made 23 saves for his third shutout this season, Sean Couturier had a goal and an assist, and Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux scored for Philadelphia (32-29-8), which ended a three-game losing streak (0-3-0). The Flyers are five points behind the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 13 games remaining. Weise kept his faith despite sitting out long stretches this season. He had an NHL career-high 14 goals with the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks last season but has three in 51 games this season. Weise deflected Brayden Schenn's shot off Penguins goalie Matt Murray to Couturier, who scored at 1:00 of the second period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. It was Weise's first point in 12 games. Weise was at the right post when Schenn's shot bounced off two Penguins and then went in off his stick to make it 4-0 with 48 seconds left.
Murray made 24 saves for Pittsburgh (43-17-9), which had its four-game road point streak (3-0-1) and six-game point streak ended (5-0-1). The Penguins are two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division and one point ahead of the third-place Columbus Blue Jackets. Simmonds made it 2-0 at 6:20 of the second when he scored the 200th goal of his NHL career on the power play. Giroux gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead at 15:44 of the third. Because of the winter storm that affected the Northeast on Tuesday, the Penguins didn't arrive in Philadelphia until 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. They also played the third period without defenseman Ron Hainsey because of an undisclosed injury. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said he expected to have an update on Hainsey on Thursday.
* Simmonds scored on the rebound of Shayne Gostisbehere's shot from the right faceoff circle for his 15th power-play goal of the season, tied with Schenn for the NHL lead.
* Penguins center Nick Bonino sent a pass across to Oskar Sundqvist on a shorthanded rush, but Mason snapped his pads together to make the save at 10:03 of the third period.
* Schenn had an open net from the right post, but Murray dove across to get his left pad on the shot with 27.1 seconds remaining in the first period.
* Late in his first shift of the second period, Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald forced a turnover at center ice and then got the puck deep into the corner on the play that led to Couturier's goal.
* Giroux has five points (two goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak, his longest since he had at least a point in 10 straight between Oct. 15 and Nov. 2.

"Everybody's tired at this point of the season, and obviously it's been a long trip for the guys [playing the final of a five-game road trip after arriving in Philadelphia at 10:15 a.m.], but I think that in games like this, when we don't have our best jump, we need to find a way to play a more simpler game and settle for spending time in their end and keeping it tight and give ourselves a chance to win at the end. I thought we opened things up and gave them a lot of extra opportunities that we didn't need to, and the game ends up getting out of our control." Matt Cullen.
"I think we just didn't execute well and our power play wasn't sharp. All the way through, we didn't execute as we would like. Even with that, I thought we still had chances to get ourselves back in the game." Sidney Crosby said.

New Jersey @ Penguins 4-6 - Friday, March 17, 2017

Sidney Crosby scored twice, Carter Rowney got his first NHL goal, and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-4 at PPG Paints Arena.
Pittsburgh (44-17-9) moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Washington Capitals and one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins are 6-1-1 in their past eight games despite missing several key players, including forward Evgeni Malkin, who did not play Friday (upper body). In a busy first period, Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel and Crosby scored for the Penguins to give them a 3-2 lead. Kyle Palmieri and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils (26-32-12). Palmieri gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead at 5:35. Skating in alone on Matt Murray, he used a shot fake to freeze the goaltender, went backhand to forehand and wrapped a shot around Murray's left pad. Kessel answered one shift after skating to the bench in some discomfort. He carried the puck into the Devils zone and sent a wrist shot past Keith Kinkaid to tie it 1-1 at 6:37. Guentzel gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 13:30, and Noesen tied it 2-2 at 14:02. Crosby scored on a 5-on-3 with 15 seconds remaining to put the Penguins ahead 3-2. Nick Bonino extended the lead to 4-2 at 15:47 of the second period. Beau Bennett cut it to 4-3 at 19:09. It was Bennett's first point in four games against Pittsburgh, which selected him in the first round (No. 20) in the 2010 NHL Draft. Rowney made it 5-3 at 5:17 of the third period.
Palmieri scored on a power play, his fifth goal in his past three games, to make it 5-4 with 3:31 left, and Crosby scored into an empty net to push it to 6-4 with 34 seconds left. Crosby tied Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the NHL lead with 37 goals.

* After Devils forward Joseph Blandisi was called for holding and defenseman Dalton Prout for cross-checking with 1:48 remaining in the first period, the Penguins took full advantage with Crosby's goal. Mark Streit sent a cross-ice pass to Crosby, who dropped to one knee and one-timed a shot past Kinkaid.
Pens Quotes
"I haven't looked yet, but I'm sure there are a few congratulations [receiving text messages regarding his first NHL goal, scored in his 15th game]. I'm sure my brothers were watching back home." Carter Rowney.
"We have some difference-makers. It starts with Sid. When you can build around a guy like that, I think that really makes your team better and the people around you better." Mike Sullivan said.
"I think tonight is one of those games where you just have to find a way to outscore whoever you're playing. It was nice to see a couple go in, and hopefully those chances start to convert a little bit more." Crosby said.

Florida Panthers @ Penguins 0-4 - Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sidney Crosby thought he had to compensate for Evgeni Malkin's absence.
Crosby did that and more with a hand from Marc-Andre Fleury. He earned his 10th NHL hat trick and Fleury made 21 saves to help the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Florida Panthers 4-0 at PPG Paints Arena. Crosby leads the League with 40 goals, three more than Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. He is tied with Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the lead in points with 80.
Pittsburgh (45-17-9, 99 points), which is 7-1-1 in its past nine games, is one point behind the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The hat trick was Crosby's first since Feb. 2, 2016, when he had four points (three goals, one assist) in a 6-5 win against the Ottawa Senators. He has five goals in his past two games, each without Malkin, and six goals in his past four games. The Penguins have won two straight without Malkin, who is day to day with an upper-body injury.

Fleury earned his first shutout since Feb. 29, 2016, when he made 30 saves in a 6-0 win against the Coyotes. He is 11-3-3 in his past 19 decisions since losing five straight (0-3-2) from Nov. 3-25. Florida (31-29-11, 73 points) is six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Crosby's first goal extended Pittsburgh's lead to 2-0 at 14:15 of the second period. Conor Sheary dropped the puck to Jake Guentzel, who moved it over to Crosby in the right circle, where he held the puck before shooting past Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk and goalie James Reimer's glove. Sheary and Guentzel set up Crosby again to make it 3-0 at 16:07 of the second and once more for a natural hat trick at 5:00 of the third to make it 4-0. Patric Hornqvist gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first.
Reimer made 24 saves.

* On Crosby's second goal, Guentzel passed above the crease to Crosby, who kept the puck away from Keith Yandle with his left skate. Crosby spun off Yandle and backhanded a shot through Reimer.
* After Matt Cullen shoveled the puck down the far wall behind the net, Phil Kessel lobbed it over the net, which allowed Hornqvist to bat it out of midair through Reimer. The goal ended Hornqvist's 12-game drought.

"It's great. We're so happy for [Fleury]. He's such a good person and a great pro, and a good teammate." Mike Sullivan.
"Sometimes those chances go in, sometimes they don't. Today, I got some nice passes and guys created things, and I just happened to be in the right spot. … We know the situation we're in. We know there's a few teams and we're all fighting for that No. 1 spot."
"I think everybody wants to collectively make sure that we make up for the guys that are out." Crosby said.
"It's been awhile. I was happy to make it until the end. There were a few series in there that were fun, but I thought our guys did great. … We didn't give them too many chances 5-on-5." Fleury said.

Penguins @ Buffalo Sabres 3-1 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary scored for the Penguins (46-17-9), who have won three straight. The Sabres (30-32-12) had a two-game win streak end. Sheary made it 3-1 with 3:31 left with his 21st goal after a rebound of his shot deflected off Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons. Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead on the power play with nine seconds left in the first period with a goal that he lifted over Lehner with one hand. Sam Reinhart made it 1-1 at 2:09 of the third period. He received a pass from Hudson Fasching and put a rebound of his shot past Matt Murray for his 17th goal. Lehner made 31 saves, and Murray made 29. Penguins forward Jake Guentzel left the game at 8:46 of the first period with a concussion he sustained on a hit by Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Ristolainen was assessed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.

* Crosby received a pass from Justin Schultz in the neutral zone and skated past four defenders before cutting left in front of Zach Bogosian and lifting the puck with his right hand over Lehner's left shoulder for his 41st goal of the season."That's a play that everyone [messes] around doing in practice, and he does it in games," Bonino said. "The sea parted for him there, only 15 seconds left, he turned it on and that's a huge goal at the end of a period."
"The puck squirted to me and just tried to get it off as quick as I could, it went through a couple of screens and it found its way in," Bonino said.

"Well, [Crosby's] just a great player. He gets so many big goals for us. He's the type of guy that when the stakes are high he's at his best. Obviously we've needed him a lot right now with the situation we're in with some of the injuries that we have and he's making those types of plays game in and game out that's helping us stay competitive."
"We're just trying to win each game as it comes. We really haven't discussed [making the playoffs] at length at all with our group. We're just trying to stay in the moment. We're trying to compete hard, we're trying to get better every day, we're trying to win each game as it comes, and as long as we do that, and I think we keep that necessary focus, then the rest of it will take care of itself."
"Hopefully it won't be too long. I think all of them [concussions] are different, so it's not something that, at least at this point, we're hopeful it won't be an extended period of time, but we'll wait and see." Mike Sullivan
"I don't want to say it's taken for granted, it's tough to make the playoffs in this league, but for so long we've been so high in the standings. I think we were hoping we'd eventually make it." said Nick Bonino.
"Not many guys can shoot it with one hand, so I don't think anybody [expects it]. He's always been lethal with two hands on his stick, but now with one hand over the goalie, it works too." Chris Kunitz said.

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