-Forget the the explosion by the power play tonight. Forget Evgeni Malkin's slump-buster. Forget the fact that he Penguins hung a touchdown and a two-point conversion on the scoreboard. That's not what impresses us. What stood out most to us tonight is the fact that they were able to come rebound from a humbling one-sided defeat to a division rival on Monday and not only control the game, but dominate it.
-The Penguins' ability to rebound after losses is something to behold. We're not sure if Dan Bylsma goes into the locker room and screams his head off (we're pretty sure he doesn't) or if one of the leaders on the roster stands up and tells the room how things are, but this team finds way to re-focus and get back on course seemingly after any and all set backs.
-Evgeni Malkin. Amazing what some new linemates and the presence of the biggest star in the Russian hockey universe (Tretiak) will do. Malkin played with a purpose that has been missing for weeks. He attacked the zone with speed, and due to the efforts of Kunitz and Guerin, he had a lot more room to operate with as well. This line should not be broken up for quite some time.
-Kunitz and Guerin also obviously benefitted from their new center. Not that their old one, Crosby is all that shabby. But they too seemed like they had a lot more room to operate with.
-The power play. We're still a little iffy on it. We're not sure if we just saw a really good unit for the Penguins or if the Senators were just that bad. It's probably a little of both. The Penguins picked apart a sloppy defense and abused a goaltender who was coming off a long-term injury. Regardless, something worked right tonight.
-Marc-Andre Fleury. He too rebounded after a shaky game Monday and played a pretty underrated game in our book. Lots of folks will look at the offensive numbers but Fleury's effort, especially early one, put the Penguins in a position to win this.
-Crosby didn't exactly suffer either picking up three assists.
-The Senators were actually pretty good early on, the chucked a lot of rubber on net but couldn't beat Fleury for the most part.
-Alfredsson injury wasn't offiically disclosed, but it's pretty apparently it's a shoulder injury. He was wearing a sling on his left arm in the visiting locker room after the game.
-On his health, Alfredsson said:
"I don't know exactly how long (he'll be out). A few weeks anyway for sure. We will probably see the doctor tomorrow. Do an x-ray and see what the damage is. I expect to miss a few weeks."
-On the hit:
I haven't seen it. I'm trying to reach for the puck. I don't think I
ever get to it. In the position I'm in, I'm pretty vulnerable. The puck
bounces over (Gonchar's) stick and goes around the boards. I'm just
trying to get to it, I don't think I ever do but he steps into me."
-The Senators finished with a total of 47 shots. That was one short of the record for an opposing team at Mellon Arena. The Canucks had 48 shots in an 7-5 win, Jan. 7, 1989.
-The Senators led in shots, 47-36.
-Guerin, who would've been the oldest player in franchise history to get a hat trick if he completed the task, led the game with nine shots.
-Kovalev, who had a lousy game in our opinion, led the Senators with eight.
-Talbot, Adams, McKee, Phillips and Donovan were the only skaters who failed to record a shot on net.
-Gonchar led teh game with 23:42 of ice time.
-Phillips led the Senators with 22:35.
-The Penguins had a 37-35 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Crosby was 18 for 25 (72 percent).
-Kelly was 8 for 14 (57 percent).
-Kuba led the game with four blocked shots.
-McKee led the Penguins with four.
-Malkin's hat trick was the fourth of his career. His last one in the regular season came in a three-goal, one-point effort during a 5-3 road win against the Islanders, Nov. 26, 2008.
-The Penguins have four hat tricks this season. THey had five last season.
-Kunitz and Guerin each tied a franchise record by picking up four points each in the second period. That mark has been reached 22 separate times in franchise history.
-Kunitz's last four-point effort was in a 6-1 defeat of the Canadiens, Oct. 28.
-Guerin's last four-point game was with the Blues in a 6-5 loss to the Sharks, Feb. 13, 2007.
-Gonchar's last game with three or more poitns was a four-point effort in a 6-2 home win against the Thrashers, March 17.
-Crosby passed up Martin Straka for eighth place on the team's all-time scoring list with 443 points. Straka has 442.
-Staal passed up Keith McCreary for 52nd place. Staal has 142 points. McCreary has 141 points.