Down a goal at home to a hungry opponent and rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins had to dig deep to continue their now NHL season long 12 game winning streak. And they were able to do just that when Wayne Simmonds slashed the stick out of Brooks Orpik's hand. Easy call there. Then Paul Martin made a great pass to Chris Kunitz, who got hooked to holy hell by Kimmo Timonen for another easy call to give the Pens a 5-on-3 power play.
From there, Sidney Crosby stepped his game up to score the tying goal on a Martin pass. In overtime Tyler Kennedy settled the puck down and wristed a top shelf shot by Ilya Bryzgalov, who actually played pretty well stopping 33 of 35 shots.
A nice "grind it out" type of win. Minus Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang the Pens needed and got a workman-like effort up and down the roster, threw a total of 70 shot attempts at the Philly net and came out with the win. It wasn't pretty but, again, it's a win. We'll take it every time.
Some more thoughts on the game:
- 7 shots on goal for the night for Crosby, who really took more of an onus towards responsbility for getting shots, sans 58 and 71. It worked.
- Nasty spill late in the game when Braydon Coburn boarded Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis ended up lying motionless on the ice for the last few seconds of regulation but shook it off to come back and play a shift in OT for the game-winning goal. So hopefully he's OK, and hopefully the league will look into supplemental discipline for Coburn. Pretty bad hit.
- Another game without Malkin and another near invisible night from James Neal. He needs an effective centerman to be effective himself, and right now it's just not there.
- Six hit and three blocked shot night for Matt Cooke, who played an effective and simple game really well.
- Nice to see Dan Bylsma sneak Beau Bennett on the ice again for the 5-on-3 top power play unit. The extra ice space gives Bennett a little more time with the puck, and he defintitely has the playmaking ability and right mentality out there. He picked up an assist on the first goal, and the addition of Brenden Morrow will make it very interesting for what the Pens decide to use their promising young player.
- Tyler Kennedy, often the butt of fan jokes, has scored five goals this season. This is his third against Philly, his other two came against the Rangers. Hey, if you're gonna score infrequently, at least it's coming against the chief division rivals.
- In fact, Kennedy's scored in 3 of the 4 games against the Flyers, and the only game he did not score in was opening day, when TK was actually credited with the game's first goal (later changed). They'll be glad to not see him again this year.
- The Pens take the season series 3 games to 1 on the Flyers. And a little perspective on this 12 game winning streak: Philly only has 13 wins all season. Byeeeeeee.
Pens win, and with Morrow and maybe Letang/Malkin, ought to have a stronger lineup the next time out. And the Flyers dim hopes for a playoff push was deadened all the more.with a defeat tonight. Can't beat that. Go Pens.