Riding a three-game losing streak and set to play at home against a struggling Nashville Predators’ squad, the Pittsburgh Penguins desperately needed a win.
And win they did.
Failing to provide any sort of offensive stability amidst their slide, Pittsburgh was able to muster out four goals, and more importantly had contributions from every line in their 4-1 victory last night.
Most notably forwards’ Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Brandon Sutter — who all finally broke out of their scoring slumps. Neal and Sutter each had a goal and an assist, while Dupuis buried his first goal since Oct. 15 — a stretch of 12 straight games.
What was even more impressive was the Pens’ recorded three even-strength tallies on the night, which they hadn’t been able to do in the previous three contests. Scoring goals on the power play is without question a key component, but there are going to be times where a team will rarely get into those situations — so last night was definitely a sigh of relief.
Although center Evgeni Malkin extended his goal-less streak to 12 consecutive games, he put forth a solid outing in producing two assists and created multiple scoring chances for Pittsburgh. It’s been a rough go for Malkin so far this season in terms of putting the biscuit behind opposing goaltenders, however, he’s shown signs of breaking out since Neal returned to the lineup.
Arguably a somewhat sloppy game from both teams, the Preds’ didn’t work Pens’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury too hard. Firing just 18 shots on net, Fleury had a relatively quiet night; nevertheless, he was able to pull through for his 11th win of the season.
Fleury is currently tied for third in the league for wins, seventh in goals-against-average (2.00) and within the top-15 in save percentage (.922). He continues to give Pittsburgh a sufficient chance at winning, and although he may let-in a bizarre goal once and a while, he more often than not will sequentially make up for it with a sensational save.
The win for Pittsburgh certainly boosts their confidence heading into Saturday’s matchup against the New Jersey Devils, but they did play a team who was without their starting goaltender (Pekka Rinne) and had surrendered 13 goals in their past three games.
To add, Nashville had also scored just one goal during that three-game stretch, so to say the Pens’ should’ve won that contest would have been an understatement — especially considering they were up against their third-string goaltender.
Pittsburgh has been known to go streaking, last night was a start.
The game tonight can be seen on the ROOT network, and is set to begin at 7 p.m.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins