The Pittsburgh Penguins entered this game going 5-0-1 in their last seven games, and they would clamp down and do enough on one play to beat the Buffalo Sabres.
In the first period, Sidney Crosby lifted Luke Adam’s stick and fed a wide-open Pascal Dupuis in front. Duper made no mistake to beat goalie Jhonas Enroth and score the game’s only goal.
From there Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pens defense would do enough. It’s Fleury’s first shutout since Game 2 vs. the Montreal Candiens in the playoffs on May 4th and his first regular-season shutout since March 18th against the Boston Bruins.
Some other thoughts:
-Crosby made the play on the game’s only goal, but he also only won 10 of 27 faceoffs against one of the league’s best teams in the circle in Buffalo. Uncharacterstically, Craig Adams won 10 of 13 draws, so you take what you can get.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was solid. 30 saves on 30 shots. Can’t do any better than that. Fleury has played all the recent games, going 6-0-1 since November 12th. It’s safe to say he’s shaken his early season troubles and is on top of his game.
-On the “Dad’s trip” the Pens are now 7-3 since GM Ray Shero started it, and they’re 4-0 under coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma takes the un-professional approach of letting all healthy players get in the games, which is why Mike Comrie was in tonight (and did nothing on a game-low 8:00 played) and Eric Godard was in last game. It’s nice to see the Pens be first class and let everyone in the lineup. It’s better to see it hasn’t hurt them in the games.
-But now, where does Comrie stand? He got a couple shifts in with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and he didn’t really show any reason he belongs in the lineup when the fathers leave. When Jordan Staal comes back in a few weeks, does Comrie have a spot with the Penguins? Right now it doesn’t look that way.
-Speaking of Staal, who would have thought the Pens' penalty kill would be among the league’s leaders without him? Not many. But they are. Tonight they answered the call all three times and props must be given to Fleury, Adams, Matt Cooke, Maxime Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Paul Martin, who are more than holding it down. When the other team gets the man advantage, they just aren’t scoring. And that’s a huge feather in the cap. Especially when you win 1-0.
-Letang is one of the leading scorers among defensemen this season, and though he didn’t record a point, he was a huge factor. ‘Tang led all Pens skaters with 26:04 played, registered six shots on goal (with six more blocked/missed net) and got two hits. Letang is a certified all-star at this point at all ends of the ice.
-Martin continues to assimilate into the Pens lineup; 22:55 played with major minutes in all situations, a game high six blocked shots and two shots of his own on goal.
-The Pens complete a perfect 2-0 on their father’s trip, and are now 6-0-1 in their last seven. Fleury’s in the groove, Crosby has a ten game point streak and all is right in Penguins world. There’s no rest though, as the boys get Turkey day off before playing two matinee games on Friday (vs Ottawa) and Saturday (vs. Calgary).