On a night when everyone thought Jordan Staal would pot a hat trick (OK, mainly me, and even that was somewhat joking optimism), it was instead James Neal who came up big against his former team to give the Pens a 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars.
At times it feels like this sort of thing only happens to Penguins fans. You know the "thing" - trade away a player/give a guy up, watch him sign with another team and then witness his new-found glory as he burns the Pens for a goal. Nice to see the tables turn every once in a while.
A few things really stand out from this game:
- Discipline - The Pens went to the box only three times during the course of the game. Joe Vitale was nabbed for goal interference in the second period, Brooks Orpik with a tripping call shortly after and Chris Kunitz was tagged with a roughing call at the end of the game. However, seeing as how Dallas' Brenden Morrow was also hit with a roughing call at the same time, the off-setting minors resulted in Dallas only have two power-play chance on the night. That's definitely one way to limit the Stars' firepower.
- Power Play - If Pittsburgh played a disciplined game, then Dallas played the complete opposite of that. The Penguins had five power-play chances and capitalized on two of them thanks to Neal. 'The Real Deal' now has 11 goals on the season, five of which have come on the power play.
- Matt Cooke - There's sure as hell some sense of irony in watching Matt Cooke score on a penalty shot. That makes for goal number five for Cooke, who now has nine points and four penalty minutes this year (tip courtesy of SBN Pittsburgh's Stephen Catanese)
Evgeni Malkin - Can't say he was a huge factor against Dallas, but he's mustering up some quiet, quality points over the last few games. Count 'em - seven points over five games (3g, 4a).
Good to see the Pens could come off that long break and appear as if it did them some good. The rest of the month will be a grind as they return to action tonight against the Hurricanes on the road in Raleigh. Puck drops at 7pm.