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Cat scratch fever, Pens beat Panthers 4-3 (SO) to earn 7th straight win

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Think Tomas Vokoun will be twitching in his sleep tonight?  The Penguins attempted a season 85 shots on net tonight, 50 of which were on target.  Vokoun did well on the firing range to hold Pittsburgh back as much as possible, but the skill level on the gimmick was again obvious and the Pens got the second point crucial point.

  • Other than defensemen Hal Gill and Brooks Orpik, every Pittsburgh skater was credited with at least a shot on goal.  Ten Pens had three shots or more on net.  By that token, only two Panthers had three or more shots on goal.
  • The Penguins did have a huge power-play advantage, but a team tends to force their opponents to take penalties when they're constantly controlling the puck in the offensive zone, cycling, shooting and going to the net like the Pens did.
  • Give the Panthers credit though, despite getting circles skated around them they retained their facilities enough to drive to the net and get some fortunate bounces enough to take a 3-1 lead into the 3rd.  They might not have been the better team, but they hung in their and deserved the point too.
  • Jordan Staal was a monster.  Game high eight shots on goal, two hits, a takeaway (and a giveaway).  I think Dan Byslma sensed it too that Staal was skating through the Panthers seemingly at will; he rewarded Staal with more even strength ice time than any forward not named Evgeni Malkin.
  • In the third game now since returning from injury, Sidney Crosby has a goal in each game...All three have been at even strength, Bill Guerin has the primary assist on all of them and Chris Kunitz has two assists.  Think Sid is benefiting his new linemates?
  • Overall Crosby's on a personal seven game scoring streak; he's got 5 goals and 7 assists in that stretch.  Malkin's got an 11 point cushion on Sid with just 14 games to go, his lead has gotta be safe, right?
  • Tyler Kennedy has some fancy moves with the puck tonight; Florida gave him room and he used it...I think Jassen Cullimore is still searching for his jock after TK spun him around on play that generated the Staal goal.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury had a couple of weird bounces go in and a long shot with some traffic to contend with, but I thought he recovered well.  It wasn't the prettiest performance but obviously he made up for any blunder by shutting the door (again) in the shootout to guarantee the Pens an extra point.
  • The "big guns" of Crosby, Malkin and Staal all scored a goal.  I think Pens fans see them so much this may need to be reminded every once in a while: those three players are 21, 22 and 20 years old.  They're all under contract until atleast 2012-13.  Feels nice, eh?
  • Fleury's win tonight is career win 104, tying Ken Wregget's mark for 2nd all-time as a Penguin goalie.  Fleury, I'll remind you, is 24 years old and is under contract until 2014-15.
  • Dan Byslma record watch: 9-1-1.  That would get a team 142 points if they played a whole season like that....Just sayin.

Seven wins in a row!  Not bad for a team that didn't string three wins in a row together since November before this stretch.  The Pens are, at the time of this writing, 6th place in the conference.  But things are so tight that a two or three game losing streak could easily toss any team that's 5-8th seed easily out of the playoffs.  Not time to breath easy yet, especially with three games in four days beginning on Thursday