Quite a game last night against the red-hot Islanders. Sidney Crosby had the second six-point game of his career (that’s right, six points), Evgeni Malkin broke out of his mini-slump with a hat trick and Brent Johnson stopped 31 shots to lead the Pens to a 6-4 win.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the Pens. On top of blowing a three-goal lead on home ice, both Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis left the game with injuries. I’m not sure how Talbot was injured, but he did take a nice slash from Isle goalie Dwayne Roloson in the second.
Dupuis was a victim of a brutal cheap shot late in the third. Hulking defenseman Andy Sutton drilled him from behind, sending him face first into the boards behind New York’s net. It’s never good when a pool of blood forms before the referee can even whistle the play dead, and that’s just what happened. Dupuis was able to leave the ice with the help of Crosby and Guerin but had a towel covering his face. The play was just plain ugly. We can only hope there’s no concussion or facial fractures.
As for the game itself, the Pens built a commanding 4-1 lead only to see the Isle tie it up in the third. But scrappy Craig Adams drew a penalty and Malkin blasted his second one-timer past Roloson on the ensuing PP with 8:51 left to give the home team a 5-4 lead. Malkin added an empty netter to complete the hat/bag trick. (Many in attendance, apparently absent of head gear, decided to toss the night’s free bag handout onto the ice – much to the dismay of Steigy, who bemoaned the practice.)
Crosby was a machine last night. His rebound goal late in the first gave the Pens a 1-0 lead. He had secondary assists on all of Malkin’s tallies and expertly set up Guerin for a second-period PP score. Crosby’s second goal off a scrum in front with 6:57 left in the second made it 4-1.
Johnson’s role in the victory cannot be discounted. His save on Kyle Okposo’s short-handed breakaway early in the second not only kept it 1-0, but helped set up a too-many-men penalty on the Isle. The Pens scored to make it 2-0 shortly after. Not satisfied with stoning Okposo once, Johnson stopped him twice more on breakaways, including a real beauty on a penalty shot. Making his return to the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury, Johnson was solid.
This was a nice rebound from Saturday’s ugly loss in Vancouver and gives the Pens some much-needed momentum heading into Thursday’s anticipated showdown against the hated Capitals.
- The power play scored four times (a season high), including the team’s first 5-on-3 goal of the campaign. Could the PP finally be waking up from its season-long slumber?
- Okposo had a night to forget. Not only did he miss on three breakaway attempts, he took the penalty that set up the Pens’ winning goal.
- Orpik was back in the lineup after missing four games. He didn’t miss a beat, playing over 23 minutes.
- What an idiotic play by Sutton. If you see a guy’s number, don’t hit him. That’s exactly what he did, and he did so at the worst possible time – down a goal with just under 3:00 left. The five-minute major he received effectively ended the game. In case you missed it, here’s the video.