Minard, Stone and Staal celebrate one of the Pens' third period goals
The Penguins pulled out a monstrous win over the Sabres tonight in front of the home crowd. With this one win they single-handedly reclaimed first place in the Atlantic, tied Montreal for first place in the Conference and may have officially eliminated Buffalo from any postseason play.
And they did it all without Sidney Crosby, Marian Hossa and Max Talbot.
By definition, tonight's game is an excellent example of the season-long help from the depths of the Penguins system.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins just looked a lot stronger Wednesday night when members of the alma mater led the way for Pittsburgh. Tyler Kennedy, an on and off then on again member of the parent club since October 27, registered a three point night with one goal and two helpers. Jeff Taffe notched his fifth goal of the season, while blueline youngin' Kris Letang added one goal and an assist bring his season point total to 16.
Chris Minard scored his first NHL goal on an assist from Jordan Staal and emergency call-up Ryan Stone.
Evgeni Malkin lit the lamp for the thirty-ninth time this season, while fellow Russian Olympian Alexander Ovechkin grabbed two more goals in the Capitals' 3-2 win against Calgary. By the end of Wednesday night, Ovechkin holds a four point, 17 goal lead over Malkin.
And how about Pascal Dupuis? Whether he's on the penalty kill, power play or part of an even strength attack, Dupuis can hit the net from any angle and fore-check with the best of them. An absolutely phenomenal addition right before the deadline.
Ty Conklin got the start in net and looked excellent for two straight scoreless periods. It wasn't until the third period that he started to falter, giving up three goals before all was said and done. Luckily the Pens had a big enough lead at the time, or this easily could have transitioned into a come from behind loss.
Georges Laraque was ejected from the game on a questionable elbow/mitt to the face of Buffalo's Nathan Paetsch. The hit rendered Paestsch unconscious for quite some time, while medical staff and personnel made every effort to bring him back around. When video is available I'll try and post it up.
Congrats to the Penguins on thirty-five straight home sellouts, a new record for the franchise. On a similar note, congrats to Ryan Whitney for notching his one-hundredth career point on an assist to a Sergei Gonchar power play slapper in the second.
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Pens take on Flyers Sunday on NBC. Game starts at high noon.