A quick look at the Penguins’ 3-1 loss to San Jose at Consol Energy Center Saturday night:
*** Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored his team’s first two goals, and reminded everyone watching of what an impact he can have. Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy called him “an absolute animal,” and center Matt Cullen was no less effusive. “He’s got it all,” Cullen said. “He shoots the puck. He handles the puck. He makes plays. To me, he is a guy who drives their team. He plays both ends of the ice well, and he’s all over the place because he skates so well. He’s definitely one of those guys who actually doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is.”
*** The Penguins threw a season-high 39 shots at Sharks goalie Martin Jones, but Phil Kessel’s power-play goal at 8:38 of the second period was the only one that eluded him. The goal was Kessel’s seventh of the season and first in six games.
*** Former Penguins defenseman Paul Martin celebrated his return to Consol Energy Center with a goal and an assist. His goal closed out the scoring, and came after goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had stopped his shot from the point, only to have the puck carom off Lovejoy, who was tying up a Sharks forward near the crease. “Get [Fleury] to bank it off of [Lovejoy] and I’ll take it,” Martin said. “I guess I have to thank them for helping me out.”
*** Burns’ second goal also resulted from an inadvertent deflection, as his shot from above the right circle hit Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi near the crease before entering the net. “Stuff happens,” Fleury said.
*** The loss snapped the Penguins’ two-game winning streak and dropped their record to 12-8. San Jose has won five in a row, all on the road, and also is 12-8.
*** The first of San Jose left winger Patrick Marleau’s two assists was his 1,000th point in the NHL, making him the 83rd player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Joe Nieuwendyk, then of New Jersey, is the only other to do it against the Penguins.
*** Incredibly, Penguins center Crosby has an assist in consecutive home games for the first time this season.
*** The Penguins have scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games.
*** Lovejoy, on San Jose’s performance as a road team: “They did a good job. I thought we played well, but not our best. That San Jose team has been good for a long time, and they were good tonight.”
*** Sharks coach Pete DeBoer missed the game for personal reasons. Assistant coaches Bob Boughner, Johan Hedberg and Steve Spott shared his duties.
*** Crosby, on the Penguins’ performance: Our execution has to get a little better. We had our opportunities. It was a close game. The difference in the game was two pucks off of guys, really. That happens.”
Left wingers Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson each had a goal and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (13-2-0-0) in a 5-3 road win against the Albany Devils Saturday.
Defenseman Derrick Pouliot and left winger Tom Sestito each recorded two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while centers Jean-Sebastian Dea, Oskar Sundqvist and right winger Carter Rowney also scored goals. Goaltender Tristan Jarry made 25 saves in the victory.
The Penguins’ next game is on the road Wednesday against the Binghamton Senators, 7:05 p.m.
Goaltender Brian Foster made 38 saves for the Wheeling Nailers (9-6-1-0) in a 5-2 road loss to the Florida Everblades.
Wheeling’s next game is Wednesday at home against the Reading Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Goaltender Matt Murray made 28 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (12-2-0-0) in a 3-1 road loss to the rival Binghamton Senators Friday.
The loss snapped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s franchise record 11 games winning streak. Center Dominik Simon scored the Penguins’ lone goal.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is on the road Saturday against the Albany Devils, 5 p.m.
Goaltender Brian Foster made 48 saves for the Wheeling Nailers (9-5-1-0) in a 5-3 road win against the Florida Everblades.
Wheeling’s next game is Saturday on the road against the Everblades, 7 p.m.
A quick look at the Penguins’ 4-3 victory over Colorado at Consol Energy Center Thursday night:
*** The Penguins turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead with three goals in a span of two minutes, eight seconds in the second period en route to their second victory in a row. “We did a good job of coming back out for the second period and putting the pedal to the metal,” defenseman Ian Cole said. “That was awesome to see. It was fantastic.”
*** David Perron (5:35), Evgeni Malkin (7:04) and Chris Kunitz (7:43) scored the goals against Avalanche goalie Reto Berra during that rampage.
*** Perron’s goal was his third of the season, but not one of the most skilled he’s scored. He got the goal when a Cole slap shot caromed off backside and past Berra. “Definitely a good bounce,” he said.
*** Penguins center Sidney Crosby didn’t wear a helmet during warm-ups, and the change in routine appeared to change his offensive luck. He scored the Penguins’ fourth goal – his third of the season and first in seven games – at 11:56 of the third period, when he threw a backhander between Berra’s legs. “It felt good,” Crosby said. “You get those opportunities, you’ve got to make the most of them. At the time, I didn’t think we were going to need it, but they definitely came hard.”
*** Crosby’s goal became the game-winner when Colorado’s Matt Duchene scored his second of the game with 83 seconds left in regulation. Fleury held the Avalanche off the rest of the way, and denied former teammate Jarome Iginla from the slot as time was expiring.
*** The Penguins have won five of their past six home games against Colorado.
*** Members of the Perron-Malkin-Phil Kessel line had a strong game, accounting for two goals and eight of the Penguins’ 30 shots. “We’re generating some chances, generating some big goals,” Perron said.
*** Cole had two assists, tying his career high.
*** The Avalanche scored first for the 15th time in its past 20 games in Pittsburgh.
*** Crosby, on the impact of the Penguins’ victory: “We still have to get better, but tonight was a good test. We had a pretty emotional game last game (a 4-3 victory against Minnesota Tuesday). It would’ve been easy to have a little bit of a letdown tonight. … Just being able to follow that (Wild game) up was important. We just want to continue this momentum we’re building and really try to build our identity as a team.”
*** The Penguins are 7-1 when scoring a power-play goal.
The Penguins will attempt to fill the void left by Olli Maatta with new defensive pairings tonight.
Head coach Mike Johnston said he planned to bump up defenseman Rob Scuderi to the top pairing with Kris Letang. He wanted to leave Brian Dumoulin and Ben Lovejoy together in the second pair. Ian Cole and Adam Clendening will make up the third pairing.
David Warsofsky was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as a seventh defenseman, but will not play tonight against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, Johnston said.
■ Maatta was at the rink and in good spirits, according to his teammates. He will miss just 3-4 weeks after spending the night in the hospital after the shove by thr Wild’s Nino Niederreiter sent him into the boards right when the door opened Tuesday night. Players said they were relieved to hear he may be back in about a month after initial fears of internal organ damage went unfounded.
■ Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, will be well represented tonight with native sons Sidney Crosby and Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon.
MacKinnon, who is in his third NHL season, leads the Avs with eight goals and 12 assists in 18 games.
“I’m happy for him that he’s doing well,” Crosby said. “When you go out there, you’re competing against one another. He probably understands that more than anybody. I don’t think he’d expect an easy night. We’re out there to compete and put the friendship aside.”
■ Warsofsky leaves behind a streaking club in Wilks-Barre/Scranton. The Baby Pens have won a record 11 straight.
“I think any hockey player will tell you when you’re winning it’s always a lot of fun,” Warsofsky said. “It’s fun when you go to the rink every day. They have that swagger and expect to win every day. Hopefully they keep it going.”
■ Former Penguins Blake Comeau and Jerome Iginla were in town with the Avalanche.