Bounce back- Crosby, Malkin each tally goal & assist in 5-2 win over New Jersey

March 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins centers Evgeni Malkin (71) and Sidney Crosby (87) on the ice before playing the New Jersey Devils at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Coming off one of their poorest efforts of the season in a 8-4 loss against Ottawa, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to bounce back 24 hours later against the New Jersey Devils. And bounce back they did, as the offense got in groove against Martin Brodeur, and the defense stablized in front of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Bit of a weird start in the goal scoring, Brodeur- a legend for his strong puck handling abilities, bobbled the puck behind the net when confronted by Evgeni Malkin. Malkin ended up collecting the puck and sent a pass out for an easy open net for Chris Kunitz. The Pens would return the favor though when Sidney Crosby mishandled a pass from Fleury, who went outside the net to retrieve it himself. Crosby tried to get a little too fancy and play it through the middle to Deryk Engelland. Engelland couldn't play the puck and it ended up with Zach Parise. Bad mistake. 1-1

Jordan Staal would put the Pens up for good in the game with less than a minute left in the first period, then Pascal Dupuis scored the eventual game winner. Early in the third Ilya Kovalchuk would bring the Devils back within a goal but that would be as close as they would get, thanks to Crosby walking around Marek Zidlicky for a breakaway goal. Malkin tacked on an empty netter for his 46th of the year and we're off to the next game.

But some more thoughts on this one:
-Ben Lovejoy played only 1:43 on the night but didn't take any shifts after the Parise goal. Lovejoy was in front of the net and couldn't tie up Parise's stick, but blame could hardly be fingered as a responsible party. It also seemed like he was on the bench for most of the game, so who knows if using 5 D pretty much all game long was a coach's decision or if Lovejoy was hurt. -Can we wrap Kris Letang in bubblewrap until the playoffs? First Letang headed off with a head issues after bonking heads with Dainius Zubrus when Letang went to bodycheck him. He was able to return to the game, but then got tripped awkwardly into the boards on a dangerous play by Ryan Carter. He returned again, but man, seemed like Kris had to dodge a lot of bullets tonight. -Sick move on Crosby's goal to basically skate backwards and get behind Zidlicky, shift hips, throw it in 5th gear and get a breakway. Remarkable that he pulled the move off twice (Brodeur stopping a slapper the first time). Crosby's starting to get his timing and some of the natural little hand-eye tricks back in game-time. -Nice night in the faceoff circle for Pittsburgh, with the Pens winning 55% of the draws and Crosby, Malkin and Staal all having positive nights in the circle. -Kind of a weird wrinkle that Staal, Dupuis and Kunitz all tallied goal #23 of the season tonight. Malkin doubles them up with his 46th of the season (and one off his career best in a season). -Hit statistician have a heavy hand tonight? 36 credited hits for the Pens to only 16 for Jersey. -18 blocked shots for the Pens tonight, including 4 by Zbynek Michalek, 3 by Brooks Orpik and 2 a piece for Engelland and Paul Martin. With Lovejoy hurt or benched and Letang in and our of the lineup with his injury scares, the Pens had to lean on those 4 defensemen pretty hard, and all 4 came through with a much better performance then the stinker in Ottawa.

So with another game in the books the Pens get a day off before a good old fashioned home and home with the New York Islanders.



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