A quick look at the Penguins’ 6-2 victory against Anaheim Monday night at Consol Energy Center:
*** The Penguins’ offense, dormant for so much of the season, had another big evening, putting up six goals for the second time in the past four games as they won for the sixth time in the past seven. “It’s fun to win,” center Sidney Crosby said. “Definitely fun when we’re scoring some more goals here …we’ll try to ride it as long as we can.”
*** Crosby continues to do much of the heavy lifting for the Penguins. He had two goals and two assists against the Ducks to run his totals for the 19 games since the NHL’s holiday break to 18 goals and 13 assists. “His game’s at another level right now,” Sullivan said.
*** Left winger Chris Kunitz, Crosby’s linemate, had a goal and an assist, giving him five goals and seven assists in his past nine games. He had five goals and eight assists in the previous 41. “With Sid going the way he is, it gives everybody confidence,” Kunitz said.
*** The Penguins moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the New York Islanders. New York has game in hand.
*** Former Ducks left winger Carl Hagelin scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 19:43 of the opening period. It was his first goal since joining the Penguins Jan. 16.
*** Anaheim had won its previous six games.
*** Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was guilty of a center-ice giveaway that led directly to Ryan Getzlaf’s breakaway goal at 19:10 of the first period, but only after his shots led to deflection goals for Kunitz and Conor Sheary. “When Sid and [Letang] and the big guys are playing that well, it’s pretty fun to watch,” said defenseman Olli Maatta.
*** The Penguins have won six home games in a row and are 8-0-2 in their past 10 at Consol Energy Center.
*** Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 36 saves after sub-par performances against Ottawa and Tampa Bay last week. “He was himself,” Maatta said. “And he made those saves we needed.”
*** The Penguins have won seven of their past eight home games against Anaheim.
*** Crosby has an 11-game points streak and goals in seven in a row. He also has at least one goal in each of his past nine at Consol Energy Center, two shy of the home-ice record Mario Lemieux set in 1996.
*** The Penguins have scored five or more goals in a game seven times this season, all in the past 20 games.
Right winger Carter Rowney scored two goals for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (30-14-1-1) in a 3-2 home loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday.
Defenseman Will O’Neill recorded two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while goaltender Tristan Jarry made 24 saves in the defeat.
The Penguins’ next game is Tuesday on the road against the Utica Comets, 7 p.m.
Goaltender Franky Palazzese made 20 saves for the Wheeling Nailers (20-20-2-3) in a 6-0 home loss to the Reading Royals.
Wheeling’s next game is Friday on the road against the Adirondack Thunder, 7 p.m.
An overtime goal and two assists by right winger Carter Rowney gave the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (30-13-1-1) a 4-3 road win against the Springfield Falcons Friday.
Left winger Anton Zlobin netted a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while defenseman Steve Olesky and left winger Tom Sestito each added goals. Goaltender Matt Murray made 42 saves in the victory.
The Penguins’ next game is Saturday at home against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Goaltender Casey DeSmith made 24 saves for the Wheeling Nailers (20-19-2-3) in a 3-2 home win against the Reading Royals.
Wheeling’s next game is Saturday at home against the Royals,8:05 p.m.
A quick look at the Penguins’ 6-5 victory against Ottawa Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center:
*** The Penguins got the kind of strong start they have been craving, scoring two goals before Ottawa managed a shot on goal, but still had to overcome a 4-3 deficit to extend their winning streak to four games.
*** Center Sidney Crosby scored the Penguins’ fourth, fifth and sixth goals to record a natural hat trick. It was his ninth career hat trick. “He’s been a dominant factor for a while,” linemate Chris Kunitz said. “It’s nice to see when the puck’s going in for other guys, too, but when he gets the confidence going, it makes other guys on the ice feel better.”
*** Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had his worst showing of the season, stopping just 18 of 23 shots. He did not face a shot for the first 11 ½ minutes of play, but downplayed the impact of that on his performance. “It was even tougher standing there for 60 minutes and getting lit up,” he said.
*** The Penguins improved their record to 25-17-7 and pulled to within two points of the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. They hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and are one point behind the third-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan.
*** Crosby, on the Penguins’ offense compensating for Fleury’s off-night: “He’s bailed us out so many times. It’s nice that we gave up five and we’re still able to win a game.”
*** This is the first time this season the Penguins have scored six goals.
*** Sullivan said he opted against pulling Fleury because “I like guys to have an opportunity to battle through it.”
*** Penguins forward Eric Fehr left the game after absorbing a hit from Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki midway through the second period. Sullivan said he was being examined after the game.
*** Crosby, on recording his first hat trick since Oct. 12, 2013: “It’s nice. There are nights when you feel like you have a ton of chances and it doesn’t go in. To get them in bunches is nice, especially in a game like this where it’s high-scoring and, like I said, you pretty much know the last goal is going to win it.”
*** Kunitz, on the Penguins allowing a 2-0 lead to morph into a 4-3 deficit: “I don’t understand how we had such a lull after a good start. Maybe it was just ourselves thinking it was going to be an easy game after that. To their credit, they came back.”
*** The Penguins are 7-0-2 in their past nine home games.
*** Right winger Patric Hornqvist, on the Penguins’ strong start: “I think our first period was probably the best since [Sullivan] took over.”
*** The Penguins are 9-0-3 in their past 12 games against Eastern Conference opponents.
*** Penguins winger Carl Hagelin had an assist to stretch his scoring streak to five games, tying his career high.
*** Crosby, on participating in a game in which 11 goals are scored: “I think it’s fun. You don’t play that many of them. You have to embrace it. If you’re complaining, or not happy with the way it’s going you’re more likely not to embrace it.”
*** The Penguins have scored first in nine of their past 11 games against the Senators.
*** Fleury, on maintaining his composure on a night when he was leaking in more goals that usual: “I didn’t break my stick, so that was a step forward from before, I guess.”
The Penguins return from the All-Star break tonight with a 7 p.m. game against the Ottawa Senators.
It sounds like veteran winger Chris Kunitz will return to the lineup, but that is certainly not set in stone yet. He still needs to be cleared by the team’s medical staff in order to return.
“I feel good. Still have to talk to the Docs to get cleared. Hopefully there’s no setback and I’m all ready to go tonight,” said Kunitz.
*All-stars Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin were back on the ice for morning skate after getting yesterday off - Letang as part of ongoing injury management, and Malkin with a maintenance day.
Letang on his experience in Music City: ”I mean it was fun, the city itself, the way they made the whole weekend was pretty great. The game was fun, it was fun to be a part of it”.
*The Penguins will play Eastern Conference opponents 29 of their 34 final games in the second half.
“The encouraging aspect of looking forward is we have control over our destiny,” said coach Mike Sullivan. “From that regard our players are excited about that. Having said that I think it’s important we don’t get ahead of ourselves and start talking about divisional games.”