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Rollin through Big D; Malkin, Pens defeat Stars 4-1

In a word, it was a workmanlike effort by the Penguins in a matinee game in Dallas.  They showed up, worked hard and skated up to an early lead and never looked back.  The Stars, now losers of five straight, are in free fall mode.  And they started their backup goalie for the first time since the middle of December, so maybe the Penguins ought to have won in the impressive way they did.  But you can never think of anything as a given, especially without Sidney Crosby. 

  • Dan Byslma is now 5-1-1 in his stint as interim head coach, and the Penguins currently sit in 8th place after today.  There's a lot of hockey left and a long way to go, of course, but the Penguins are absolutely back in the playoff picture; which seemed unlikely about three weeks ago.
  • One goal, two assists for NHL points leading scorer Evgeni Malkin.  Geno also had six shots on the net and was credit with two hits, one biggie of which left old buddy Darryl Sydor crumpled on the ice for a second there.  The puck seemed to be following Malkin around, the goal bounced right to his stick and he made no mistakes.
  • Speaking of making no mistakes burying a goal, Trevor Daley misplayed the puck and it bounced right to Miroslav Satan.  Satan scored for the second time in as many games and now has three goals in seven games under Byslma.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 of 21 shots but wasn't terribly tested.  Which is a good thing.  The victory is Fleury's 100th in the NHL.
  • Assorted stat nuggets: Brooks Orpik had 9 hits, in fact every member of the Penguins (except Eric Godard who played 3:12 and Satan) recorded a hit,  Max Talbot won 9 of 12 faceoffs,  Max Tablot won 9 of 12 faceoffs, Kris Letang scored his first career shorthanded goal and sixth game winner.
  • Ruslan Fedotenko was voted the 2nd star of the game for his effort.  Only one assist for Tank, but three shots on goal, four hits, two blocked shots and one takeaway was indicative of the little things he did right all over the ice.
  • The goal scorer from Dallas, Loui Eriksson, quietly has 28 goals on the season.  Malkin, by comparison, scored his 29th on the year today.  Eriksson's having one of the best seasons that no one is talking about.

Now that's over and the Penguins swing down to Florida for a game in Tampa and a game in Miami before hitting up Washington to returning home for a long homestand.  One would think if they even get three of the next six points that'll make for 7 points out of 10 for this road trip.  Good position to be in.