All season long the Penguins have been playing their game with this hidden sense of comfort. They've embraced this style of luring their enemies in, giving them a sense of esteem before finally striking and releasing an endless barrage late in the game.
Tonight was another example of that.
In a four-goal third period effort, the Pens topped the Hurricanes 4-1 before the eyes in the sky of Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux.
Not gonna lie - I missed the first period. However, from what I've heard there was a fight (that I'm sure Dunman will cover) and a Hurricanes goal which, frankly, doesn't belong in this blog.
The second period was a back and forth venture of close calls and near misses. Cam Ward ate rebounds whole, limiting the Pens' second chances on what were pretty incredible saves to begin with. In the Pens' end, Ty Conklin did what Ty does best to keep the Pens in it heading into the third down by one.
The third period scoring unit wasted no time. Following an obvious cross-check (and missed call from the refs), Erik Christensen stayed at home in front of the net to take a pass from Talbot that found its way into the back of the net. The tying goal, his eight of the year, also marked his fourth point in three games.
Tied at one, the Pens put on a whole new show of offensive prowess. They were also effectively shutting down the neutral zone, cutting off the Hurricanes' passing lanes and cycling the puck in the Hurricanes' zone.
Nearly seven minutes later, on the power play, Ryan Malone, Malkin and Sykora crash the net on a Gonchar shot. Amidst all of the confusion and traffic, the puck manages to trickle in towards the net before quickly gloved by a Canes player and tossed out. The goal heads to Toronto for further review and comes back in the Pens' favor, awarding them the goal and giving them the 2-1 edge of the Hurricanes with still half a period left to play.
Ruled a goal...
Roughly two minutes later, Malkin rushed down the ice on a pass from Orpik to Sykora. As he pushed his way past defenders and deep into the Canes' zone, the angle was cut from him and Malkin quickly switched to his backhand. In quite possibly one of the best shots this year, Malkin slipped it past a shocked Cam Ward, off the post and into the net for the 3-1 lead.
The final nail in the coffin came from Sykora on the power play with seven minutes remaining. Final score 4-1.
Amazing effort by the Pens tonight as they edged out the win thanks in part to a late third period attack. Ty Conklin was also superior in net, stopping 27/28 on the night. The Pens power play, previously 1-9 in the match-up against Atlanta, was 2-5 tonight; while the PK unit killed with the efficiency of Sug Knight, holding the Hurricanes 0-4 with the man advantage.
Despite the win tonight, the Pens still hold tight in second place thanks to a win from both the Flyers and Devils. That can change by Monday though, as the Pens head back to Jersey to take on the Devils once more. The puck drops at 7.