PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 20: Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins congratulates goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins after Pittsburgh defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on December 20, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
A strong start for the Pens allowed Pittsburgh to jump out to an early lead but they almost watched it fall to the hands of Chicago before all was said and done.
Thankfully it took the Chicago Blackhawks two whole periods to finally figure out how to get a few goals on the Pens, and by then it was just a matter of counting down the minutes to seconds to the final horn that put the night to an end.
Of course, that's not to take anything away from Marc-Andre Fleury, who posted a phenomenal game to earn his 17th win on the season after stopping 36 of Chicago's 38 shots. When you also consider how well he played in the final 90 seconds when Chicago pulled the goaltender while on the PP to create a 6-on-4 chance, you have to give him the nod and credit him for the 'W.' Maybe the occasional crossbar/post as well too.
It was also a milestone night for Matt Niskanen - minor as it may be - who earned points 99 and 100 on assists to Chris Kunitz and James Neal. Speaking of Neal, he's already at 19 goals and may very well see goal number 20 before Christmas. How's that 2011 trade deadline move looking now?
Evgeni Malkin registered three helpers on the night as well to move him into a four-way tie for first overall in the league's scoring race.Tough break as well when he had his lip split open after a high sticking call, but it obviously did not hinder his production one bit.
Overall just a great game - complete with a questionable hit from Deryk Engelland (we won't mention the beatdown that followed shortly after. Woops...). Back at it Friday at 8:30 against Winnipeg.