Pens Points Thursday: Olli for the Win

Justin K. Aller

Maatta, Jokinen, Pyatt shine to complement Malkin's push and Crosby's pull for the win. Despres, Drazenovic and Letourneau-Leblond assigned back to WBS. Ducks hang 9 on Canucks and Mt. Torts finally erupts.

Another rivalry night is on the books, and the Pens won 4-3 in regulation (check out Hooks's recap) thanks to a tremendous Geno assist on the eventual Olli game winner, the first of his young career. Here are the game highlights and another good recap from Penguins Sauce. It was franchise-best 13th consecutive home win.

In a game in which the goal horn rang a few times, the loudest applause was reserved for Dan Bylsma, who was recognized for the most wins in Pittsburgh Penguins franchise history. Congratulations and well done, Disco.

Back to last night's game. The lines were a mess but still somehow the makeshift lineup got it done. Injury to Brian Gibbons meant Brandon Sutter got shifted from 3C to 1RW. It was an up-and-down game for him.

Fabulous Finns led the way to a W last night. A tremendous game for Olli Maatta. He's had a season full of on-the-job learning and he's made a mistake here and there, but the positives outweigh the negatives so heavily that he's inspired lofty comparisons, even with the great Lidstrom. Taylor Pyatt compared him to Phoenix's Oliver Ekman-Larsson. His poise and ability showcased last night why Olli should be untouchable in any trades the Pens probably are considering.

One of the best plays might be the goal that never was. Neuvirth thought he had Orpik's shot all sewn up, but the puck trickled through and stopped dead on the goal line.

The Pens are suffering some serious lack of forward depth right now, but as long as the two-headed monster of Crosby and Malkin is going, the teams have to literally pick their poison. If you look at last night's shift chart, you'll see how Oates managed to match Alzner and Carlson against Crosby with decent success, which sent Malkin to work against their lower pairings. Ovechkin said it simply: "When you have those two guys, you have to play well".

Our Mike Darnay pulled last night's on-ice stats from Extra Skater and there it is for you in black and white, guys (don't look toward the bottom, gets kind of bad). What a game from the second line, again, thanks to the fact that the Caps best defensemen had their hands full with Crosby, who did a yeoman's work last night and led all Pens players in TOI (and only Alzner and Carlson had more TOI of all skaters last night). My husband skipped the game, took a look at the crawler at the bottom of the screen, saw Crosby 1A and commented "a quiet game for Sid, huh".

Simon Despres. Nick Drazenovic, and PL3 were assigned back to WBS this morning, meaning Paul Martin, Jayson Megna and James Neal are good to come back for the next game on Monday.

Ovechkin and Malkin will be linemates in Sochi, and Ovi thinks it's a good fit.

Those Ducks are kind of hard to beat at home (20-0-2 on the season). Last night they handed the Canucks a 9-1 defeat. Not to rest on his laurels following a splendid 1-second 27-pim performance against the Kings, Tom Sestito led the way for Jannik Hansen and Zack Kassian to put their team in a horrible bind of having to kill 7 minutes of 5-on-3. So we've all been waiting for Mt. Torts to erupt, and he finally did last night and for good reason. Just don't read his lips.

And for the end, happy 35th birthday to Brenden Morrow!

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