Postgame thoughts - Penguins 3, Rangers 2 (OT) - 03-27-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Observations from the Penguins' 3-2 overtime win against the Rangers.

There was a time the Penguins couldn't beat the Rangers. 

It was 2014-15. Including the playoffs, the Rangers won seven of the nine games the teams played. And most of the time, the Penguins looked beaten as soon as the game started. The Rangers just looked like the better team most of those games.

Now, the Penguins have the advantage. Their speed and depth seems to give the Rangers fits. But most importantly, they look like they know they're the better team. They have a confidence against the Rangers and brick wall goaltender Henrik Lundqvist which was largely absent most of last season.

If these two teams square off in postseason, an increasingly likely scenario, the Penguins will enter that playoff series with a confidence against this particular opponent they haven't had in quite some time.

What happened

The Rangers took the game's first lead 4:19 into play. Rangers center Eric Staal shuffled a pass from the neutral zone to right winger Kevin Hayes on the right wing. Hayes gained the offensive zone and as defenseman Ben Lovejoy approached, Hayes chipped the puck to the slot. Staal hustled by defenseman Trevor Daley and as he fended off Daley with his left hand, he was able to jab his stick with his right hand and backhanded the puck by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's blocker. It was a brilliant individual effort by Staal. Hayes and right winger Jesper Fast netted assists.

The Penguins tied the game, 1-1, with 4:11 left in the first period. After killing a penalty, Daley faked a slapper from the right point then fed a pass to defenseman Derrick Pouliot above the left circle. Pouliot whacked a slapper towards the cage where center Matt Cullen deflected it down and through the five hole of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Pouliot and Daley had assists.  

New York regained a lead, 2-1, only 2:07 into the second period. After defenseman Marc Staal ripped a wrister from the center point, the shot was blocked and right winger Bryan Rust tried to skate it up ice but lost it in the right circle. Fast was all over the puck and fed it to Eric Staal positioned low in the circle. Eric Staal one-timed a rocket by Fleury's glove hand on the near side for his second goal. Assists went to Fast and Hayes.

A little luck tied the game again, 2-2, at the 8:36 mark. Right winger Phil Kessel snapped off a pass attempt from his left half wall for left winger Carl Hagelin at the Rangers' blue line but the puck failed to connect and it slid down to the Rangers' end boards. The puck bounded into the trapezoid behind the Rangers' net and Lundqvist, under pressure from Hagelin, played it weakly to the left corner. Hagelin claimed the puck and shuffled it immediately to the crease where Lundqvist made the initial save. As he slid towards the center of the crease, the rebound wobbled to the left of the crease where Kessel darted in and lifted it into the open net behind an out-of-place Lundqvist. Hagelin had the lone assist

-After a lifeless, tight third period, the game moved to overtime. The Penguins had a power play for the first 1:59 of overtime but did little with that chance. Late in the period, a dominant shift by captain/center Sidney Crosby led to the winning goal. After losing a faceoff to Rangers center Derek Stepan in the Rangers' left circle, Crosby fended off Rangers right winger Mats Zuccarello and defenseman Ryan McDonagh for possession then backhanded a pass to Letang in the slot. Letang hurried a wrister which was off the mark and ricocheted in the left corner. Kessel corralled the rebound, fended off Stepan and fed a pass to Letang at center point. Letang veered to the right point and whipped a wrister towards the cage. Crosby was positioned above the crease battling Zuccarello and had the puck glance off his stick through Lundqvist's five hole. Assists went to Kessel and Letang.

The Penguins

-For as much campaigning the Penguins have been doing for Crosby in regards to the Hart Trophy, they're doing a disservice to a more deserving candidate in Letang. He "only" had one assist tonight, on Crosby's goal no less, but he did so many things all over the ice in this game. He was a horse in his own zone and seemingly got a stick or a body on any puck or puck carrier who dared venture into the Penguins' zone. He did so many little things which don't appear on a score sheet but his impact was felt on so many parts of this game. And he's been playing this way for most of the season. 

-As far as the Hart Trophy goes, it's no coincidence that Crosby's surge in scoring has coincided with Letang's. Head coach Mike Sullivan's top priority since he took over was to get Crosby and Letang on the ice as much as possible. Sullivan feels Letang is the only one who can connect a pass with Crosby with speed. That's not to say previous coaches haven't wanted to get Crosby and Letang on the ice as much as possible but Sullivan almost does it at all costs. Maybe it's a "chicken and the egg" type of situation with who has benefited who, but Letang has been the Penguins' most valuable player this season.

-They weren't nearly as prolific as Saturday's offensive eruption, but the second line contributed once again. Kessel looked like he was shot out of a cannon while Hagelin created all kinds of issues for the Rangers as well with his speed. Center Nick Bonino just seemed willing to give them the puck and let them do their thing. Overall, the trio was solid, even if you account for Bonino taking a penalty, his fifth in the past nine games.

-The Penguins' depth contributed as well in the form of a Cullen goal. He has 13 goals. To put that in perspective, all-star Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf had 12 goals. It's really a marvel to think that Cullen was added late in the offseason almost as an insurance signing.

-Pouliot looked fine in his first game since March 5. He kept things simple and had the primary assist on Cullen's goal. 

-If left winger Chris Kunitz was dealing with any aftereffects from his "upper-body" injury he suffered Saturday, they weren't apparent. He played his typical rabid game. He went to the high traffic areas and was involved in a handful of scoring chances, including one where he put a puck off a post. 

-Fleury was solid. He could have made a save on Eric Staal's second goal but he also stole a few would-be goals. He looked fine for someone playing on back-to-back days.

-The Penguins' lone wart on this game was once again the power play. It looked unremarkable on two chances, including on a four-on-three situation in overtime.

The Rangers

-Eric Staal's dormant game came to life against a team he has usually feasted on. He looked pretty confidence, especially after his second goal.

-Beyond him and his linemates, the Rangers really didn't get many contributions. Centers like J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Stepan, players who usually do the heavy lifting for this team, were rather ordinary tonight.

-Lundqvist got lucky a few times with some shots off the posts but he was strong. He played well enough to win.


-Sullivan talked about the game overall with reporters and team employees after the game:

“I thought we played hard. I thought for a lot of the game, it was a fairly even game. They had some momentum. We had some momentum. There were scoring chances on both sides. It was a hard game to play. I thought both teams checked pretty hard. You had to fight for every inch of ice out there. Those types of games where you have to fight to get your offense, you don't get any freebies. Those are hard fought games. I thought our guys played really hard. They stayed with it.”

-Crosby on the game:

“I think that we worked hard for it.  It was a pretty even hockey game.  That’s what we’re playing for, to get these two points, especially after a pretty emotional game yesterday, knowing what that meant.  To come back and have a good effort and find a way to get two points in a back-to-back against a good team is nice.”

-Letang on the game:

“They got the lead in their building a couple of times. And they're a tough team to play against, especially here in New York, with the system they play, sometimes you have to go off the plan and try to do different things out there. We kept playing the same way and got rewarded."

-Sullivan was asked about taking a time out prior to Crosby's goal:

"We were trying to get those guys on the ice one more time. We think they give us the best chance to win. And it just gave us an opportunity to give them a breather so we could get them on the ice one more time.”

Sullivan likes Kessel's play as of late:

“I thought his last two games might be his best games since I've been here. You can see his speed through the neutral zone. He's going to the battle areas. He's in front of the net. He's down in the trenches. I think Phil is playing hard right now. It's really evident with his speed. He's a dangerous guy. I've said on a number of occasions, when the puck comes off his stick, it comes off his stick differently.”

-Ditto Letang:

“Phil is getting his legs lately. I've talked about it many times. I think when he gets his nose in the [fertilizer], I like when he gets kind of mean and dirty. When he gets his nose in there, that's when he's at his best. We've seen it a couple of times lately. That's the type of player he needs to be.”

-Lundqvist knows what's up with the Penguins' second line:

“I think their second line is really strong, a lot of speed.  When Kessel skates like that he’s one of the better players in the league, and [Hagelin] with his speed. So it’s a tough team to defend with that kind of speed but we did a pretty good job of keeping them to the outside.  When they get going, it’s definitely challenging.”

-Sullivan was asked about the significance of beating the Rangers three consecutive times:

"All I know is what I've seen since I've been here. This is a new group. This is a new group of players. This is a new coaching staff. We're pleased with the types of game we've played against the Rangers to this point. What's important from our standpoint, is regardless of who our opponent is, we're trying to play the game a certain way. And when we play to our identity and don't get caught up in somebody else's game, I think that's when our team is at our best and I think we've been able to do that against the Rangers."

-Fleury on the significance of the win:

“It’s big for the standings.  It’s so close with a division game.  You definitely need those points.  They’ve had our number in the playoffs the past few seasons.”

-Sullivan liked what Hagelin did on Kessel's goal:

"It was a heads-up play by [Hagelin] to put the puck at the net. I think Lundqvist was in an awkward position and by [Hagelin] putting that puck at the net, sometimes it's not about [Hagelin] scoring but it's about creating a next play. And that's what he did. He created an opportunity for Phil to come in and get the rebound. I thought it was a real heads up play.”


-The Penguins led in shots, 32-27.

-Kessel led the game with five shots.

-Eric Staal and former Penguins left winger Tanner Glass led the game with four shots each.

-Fire Jim Rutherford.

-Letang led the game with 31:45 off ice time.

-The overtime period lasted 4:30 and Letang played 3:56 of it. On his two shifts in overtime, he averaged 1:58.

-McDonagh led the Rangers with 24:31 of ice time.

-The Penguins had a 36-31 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).

-Cullen was 12 for 18 (67 percent)

-Stepan was 11 for 18 (61 percent).

-Daley and Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein each led the game with six blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-Crosby had his first overtime goal in over a year:

-The Penguins' last overtime win against the Rangers was a 5-4 victory at Madison Square Garden March 4, 2010.

-Letang (343 points) moved past right winger "Downtown" Robbie Brown (342 points) for 19th place on the franchise's career scoring list. 


-Game summary.

-Event summary.


(Photo: Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

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Batman v Superman soars to $424 million worldwide in first weekend

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

batman-superman-mag-3-6“Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice” was No. 1 by a mile – and many millions – for the Easter weekend with an estimated $170,100,000.

Its worldwide take was $424.1 million, the top superhero opening of all time and fourth biggest industry opener, Warner Bros. reports.  

“Zootopia” held onto the second spot with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” in third. Here are the weekend estimates from comScore:

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” -- $170,100,000.

“Zootopia” -- $23,138,000, for $240,548,000 to date in North America.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” -- $18,116,075.

“The Divergent Series: Allegiant”-- $9,500,000, for $46,605,496.

“Miracles From Heaven” -- $9,500,000, for $34,127,249.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” -- $6,000,000, for $56,010,797 since release.

“Deadpool” -- $5,000,000, for $349,472,050.

“London Has Fallen” -- $2,926,000, for $55,614,857.

“Hello, My Name Is Doris” -- $1,700,925, for $3,268,689.

“Eye in the Sky” -- $1,001,202 in very limited release, for $1,723,309.

“Batman v Superman” was the biggest March debut and helped to set a new record for the overall Easter weekend, with a combined gross of all films in the marketplace around $254 million, topping Easter 2015’s $224 million, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore.

Easter fell a week later a year ago and was powered by “Furious 7.”

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About the Rangers - 03-27-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Rangers.

When and where: 7:30 p.m., EDT, Madison Square Garden.

TV: NBC Sports, TVA.

Record: 43-24-8, 94 points. The Rangers are in second place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.

Leading Scorer: Center Derick Brassard (right), 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists).

Last Game: 5-2 road win against the Canadiens Saturday. Left winger Chris Kreider had two goals and an assist for the Rangers.

Last Game against the Penguins: 5-3 home loss March 13. Center Derek Stepan had two assists for the Rangers.

Rangers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Brassard. He has a four-game scoring streak.

Ex-Penguins on the Rangers: Left winger Tanner Glass, professional scout Rick Kehoe, center Dominic Moore, assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, president Glen Sather.

Ex-Rangers on the Penguins: Center Matt Cullen, right winger Pascal Dupuis, left winger Carl Hagelin, head coach Mike Sullivan.

Useless Rangers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Moore is one of five Harvard alumni who have played for the Penguins. The others are defensemen Dylan Reese, Noah Welch, right winger Craig Adams, center Bob McManama.

The last time the Penguins played the Rangers, this happened: 

-This too:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (33-17-6, 2.30 GAA, .921 SV%) for the Penguins. Henrik Lundqvist (33-19-6, 2.40 GAA, .922 SV%) for the Rangers.

Injuries: For the Penguins, left winger Chris Kunitz ("upper body") is questionable. Defensemen Brian Dumoulin (suspected head) and Olli Maatta ("lower body") are out. Centers Evgeni Malkin ("upper body"), Kevin Porter (right ankle), right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clots) and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle/foot) are on injured reserve. For the Rangers, defenseman Dylan McIlrath (knee) is out.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: Neither team held a morning skate. Consider this a guess based on the Penguins' lines and pairings against the Red Wings Saturday:  

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
62 Carl Hagelin - 13 Nick Bonino - 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 7 Matt Cullen - 17 Bryan Rust
43 Conor Sheary - 16 Eric Fehr - 19 Beau Bennett

Trevor Daley - 58 Kris Letang
28 Ian Cole - 4 Justin Schultz
51 Derrick Pouliot - 12 Ben Lovejoy

-The Rangers' lines and pairings against the Canadiens Saturday were:

20 Chris Kreider - 16 Derick Brassard - 61 Rick Nash
10 J.T. Miller - 21 Derek Stepan - 36 Mats Zuccarello
13 Kevin Hayes - 12 Eric Staal - 19 Jesper Fast
15 Tanner Glass - 28 Dominic Moore - 25 Viktor Stalberg

27 Ryan McDonagh - 8 Kevin Klein
93 Keith Yandle - 5 Dan Girardi
18 Marc Staal - 22 Dan Boyle


-Kunitz is considered a "game-time" decision.

-Center Sidney Crosby has 597 career assists.

-The Penguins' power play has gone 5 for 50 (10.0 percent) in games with Malkin out of the lineup this season. With Malkin, they have gone 38 for 189 (20.1 percent).

-Rangers right winger Mats Zuccarello has 199 career points.

-The referees are (No. 20) Tim Peel and (No. 38) Francois St. Laurent. The linesmen are (No. 96) David Briseboise and (No. 92) Mark Shewchyk.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins-Red Wings - 03-27-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .



-The Post-Gazette's recap from yesterday's game. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin and left winger Chris Kunitz each left the game due to "upper-body" injuries.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We knew this was a key game, and we played like it. The Red Wings have been getting closer in the race, so it was big to get two points and keep them to none." - Left winger Carl Hagelin

-The Detroit News' recap. “Tonight was embarrassing." - Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall

-The Detroit Free Press' recap. "In the second [period], they really, really took it over from the beginning." - Red Wings captain/left winger Henrik Zetterberg on the Penguins.


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-Head coach Mike Sullivan speaks:

-Defenseman Ben Lovejoy returned to the lineup

-“It might not seem like much. But if it comes down to the last shift of the last game, you want to have the last [personnel] change.” - Kunitz on the value of home-ice advantage in the postseason.

-Goaltender Tristan Jarry made 29 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who were shut out, 5-0, by the Providence Bruins.

-Goaltender Brian Foster made 23 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-1 loss to the Kalamazoo Wings.

-After the Jump: The Ducks stage a furious comeback.

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Postgame thoughts - Penguins 6, Red Wings 2 - 03-26-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Observations from the Penguins' 7-2 defeat of the Red Wings.

The Penguins got a big win - against a team they're competing with for a playoff spot no less - but they paid a big price for it. 

Defenseman Brian Dumoulin and left winger Chris Kunitz each left the game with "upper-body" injuries which each appeared to involve the head portions of their upper bodies.

Dumoulin appeared to be initially injured 4:05 into the game when Red Wings left winger Justin Abdelkader slammed him into the Penguins' left corner boards while playing a puck:

Dumoulin's visor appeared to cut his face and he left the ice to retreat to the dressing room to get some medical attention. He missed approximately six minutes of game time before returning to the contest and finished the first period by taking four shifts on the ice. He did not return following the first intermission however. Head coach Mike Sullivan only said his injury was "upper body" and already ruled him out for Sunday's road game against the Rangers.

Kunitz's situation is a little more optimistic. At 16:22 of the second period, Kunitz chased after a puck in the Detroit zone. After Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk lost the puck in his right circle, he allowed Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey to take possession but slammed the pursuing Kunitz with a shoulder check and dropped him to the ice:

Datsyuk appeared to make some contact with Kunitz's head but it wasn't the principal point of contact. Kunitz, who appeared to suffer some whiplash, needed assistance off the ice and to the dressing room and did not appear to be in good shape. Sullivan labeled his availability for Sunday's contest as a "game-time decision."

Despite those injuries, the Penguins were able to blast the Red Wings with a touchdown. What was really impressive was how the second line did the bulk of the scoring. After a few flat games and center Nick Bonino dealing with the effects of an undisclosed "upper-body" injury he suffered in practice Friday, the second line erupted for four goals. 

"Depth" has been a big buzzword with the Penguins much of the season and especially so since the trade deadline. Today, the definition of that word was on display.

What happened

-The Red Wings actually took the game's first lead at 8:24 of the first period. During a line change for the Penguins, Red Wings center Gustav Nyquist poke checked a pass attempt by right winger Bryan Rust from Detroit's blue line to the neutral zone. Red Wings center Brad Richards settled the puck and as defenseman Ben Lovejoy pinched in a bit to pressure, Richards backhanded a stretch pass to speedy center Andreas Athanasiou who raced right down the slot on a breakaway and beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the stick side with a forehand shot. It was a sloppy play all round for the Penguins. Richards and Nyquist got assists.

The Penguins got a little lucky and tied the game all of 20 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Kris Letang gripped and ripped a wrister from above the right circle wide on the near side. The puck hit off the notoriously rubbery boards of Joe Louis Arena and deflected to the right of the net. Kunitz got position on Quincey and shuffled the puck to the crease. It bounced off of goaltender Petr Mrazek's left leg and trickled into the cage. Assists went to Letang and center Sidney Crosby.

They took their first lead of the game at the 15:11 mark with a rare power-play goal. Defenseman Trevor Daley moved a puck from the left wall to right winger Phil Kessel at the left point. Kessel moved towards the high slot then fed a pass to Letang in the right circle. Letang moved in a bit and snapped a wrister through Mrazek's five hole. Kessel and Daley had assists.

It became a 3-1 game thanks to an individual effort by left winger Carl Hagelin. Kessel dumped a puck into the Detroit end boards and Hagelin went to work. He got position on Quincey and just muscled him off the puck. Hagelin then pulled away, circled into he right circle and ripped a wrister which squeaked through Mrazek's gear on his glove side at the 11:58 mark. Datsyuk appeared to have a screen on Mrazek. Assists went to Kessel and Bonino.

They poured it on with 4:50 left in the second. After a poor power play chance for the Penguins expired, defenseman Ian Cole settled a loose puck in the neutral zone and from his blue line, he snapped off a pass to Kessel who took the pass, spun around and raced up the right wing. Kessel approached the net and from the right circle, he ripped a wrister by Mrazek's blocker on he far side. The puck hit off the far post and clunked into the net. Mrazek was pulled in favor of backup goaltender Jimmy Howard. Cole and Bonino netted assists.

Detroit showed some life at 5:08 of the third period. After Bonino was penalized for tripping Nyquist, the Red Wings got a little lucky on the ensuing power play. Red Wings defenseman Mike Green chopped an awkward one-timer from the center point which hit off center Matt Cullen and Cole then hopped by Fleury's blocker. The puck appeared to change direction at least once and had a clumsy flight path almost like a bat. Datsyuk was credited with the only assist.

The Penguins snuffed out any hopes the Red Wings had at the 6:44 mark. After center Tomas Tatar fumbled a puck in the neutral zone, Bonino picked it up and attacked the offensive zone. Bonino gained position on defenseman Brendan Smith and sort of created a breakaway. Howard denied his forehand attempt. After Hagelin darted in to keep the puck loose, center Eric Fehr followed up and jabbed a backhander over the sprawling Howard. Bonino had the lone assist.

They poured it on 1:53 later. Hagelin pushed the puck out of his own zone and created a two-on-two rush with Kessel against Datsyuk and Smith. Hagelin fed to Kessel on he right wing. As Kessel gained the offensive zone, Kessel chipped a puck to the slot where Hagelin was driving. Hagelin was able to tap the puck by Howard's blocker for the Penguins' sixth goal. Kessel had the only assist.

The career-best game continued for Kessel and Bonino. Kessel gained the offensive zone on the left wing, pulled up and fed a cross-ice pass to Bonino in the left circle. Bonino took he pass off his right skate to his backhand, moved past a stick-on-puck attempt from Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser and snapped a tricky wrister by Howard's glove hand.  

The Penguins

-As mentioned above, the second line really drove this game for the Penguins. The chemistry they displayed was something to marvel, especially after that trio looked lifeless against the Devils Thursday. With center Evgeni Malkin sidelined long-term, this trio needs to maintain its chemistry.

-How good was Bonino's game within the context of his mostly lousy season? He had five points (one goal, four assists) today. That was equal to 31 percent of his points on the season entering the game (31). What makes it bewildering he was shaken up in practice yesterday and his status was questionable. Regardless, he was outstanding this afternoon.

-Kessel showed off scoring prowess with his snipe of a goal but he also displayed his passing touch as evidenced by his four assists. His pass to set up Hagelin's goal was a piece of art.

-Hagelin's defining characteristic is and will always be his speed. But he also showed off his strength with his first goal. He shrugged off Quincey from the puck almost like Jaromir Jagr in his prime.

-Before his injury, Kunitz continued his run of strange/lucky/garbage goals. It just seems as of late, he's been involved in a lot of goals which take a bizarre hop off the boards or someone's skate or whatever. Regardless, they count and they've been coming in bunches for Kunitz as of late.

-The Penguins' defense was shuffled around entering the game with Olli Maatta sidelined long term and it got shuffled around throughout the game with Dumoulin sidelined. So it's hard to say any of the "new" pairings worked out since they were scattered to heck and back. 

-Individually, Letang was outstanding as usual. He was caught on the ice in a bad position with Detroit's first goal but beyond that, he was a force in all three zones. Forget the Norris Trophy. Letang could merit some consideration for the Hart Trophy. He's been that important for the Penguins.

-Lovejoy seemed fine given the circumstances of having his partner, Dumoulin, leave the game. He made a bad read on the play leading to Detroit's first goal but he was otherwise unremarkable in any sense, good or bad. He did draw one penalty.

-We're not sure Fleury was tested all that much. Not many of the Red Wings' shots were of a high quality. He was adequate. We wouldn't be surprised if he gets the start Sunday in New York with 29 hours between the starts of the games and today's relatively light workload.

-The Penguins went 2 for 4 on the power play which is a considerable step forward for where it's been as of late. That said, both goals were scored by elements of their "JV" power-play squads. The top unit of Crosby, Kunitz, Hornqvist, Letang and defenseman Justin Schultz did not distinguish itself. 

-Right winger Beau Bennett was promoted to the left wing on the top line in place of Kunitz. It would be a stretch to say he stood out. 

The Red Wings

-This did not look like the Red Wings. Sure, they still wear the red jerseys and have guys like Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg but they didn't look like the Red Wings. They displayed very little of their trademark structure or discipline. They even seemed to give up at some points in this game. And their goaltending was hardly up to snuff. They've made the playoffs every season since 1990-91 and it really looks like that streak might come to an end this season.

-We're not sure how to fairly judge Mrazek off this game. He was under attack most of the afternoon. But he clearly allowed some leaky goals. And Howard didn't seem ready to replace him. 

-We can't say we see anything in the Datzyuk-Kunitz hit which would lead to any sort of supplemental discipline. Datsyuk appeared to clearly know where Kunitz was and tried to keep him from getting to the puck. So it was a legitimate interference penalty. 

-If Zetterberg played in this game, the only evidence would be on the scoresheet. He was a complete non-factor.

-Even center Dylan Larkin, one of the most electrifying players in the NHL, was very quiet.

-Abdelkader seemed to draw the ire from the Penguins on a few occasions. Crosby and Cole each seemed to mix it up with him from time to time.

-Quincey was beaten in one-on-one battles with Kunitz and Hagelin for goals. He had a rough game.


-Speaking with reporters and team employees in Detroit, Sullivan gave an update on Kunitz and Dumoulin:

"They both have 'upper-body' injuries. We'll re-evaluate [Kunitz] tomorrow and he'll be a game-time decision. Brian Dumoulin will be out."

-Sullivan lauded Bonino:

"He had a terrific game for us. When we're in the situation we're in right now with some of the injuries that we have, we need guys to step up at key times for us. He certainly did [today]."

-Sullivan said defenseman Derrick Pouliot is ready to step into the lineup:

"We have lots of confidence. Derrick is a good player. He's played a lot of good games for us. I've said this all along, we're going to need them [the players] all in order to help us win down the stretch. He's been working hard in practice. He's prepared to play. It's an opportunity to step up and helps us win."

-Sullivan spoke well of Lovejoy:

"I thought he had a solid game. That's not an easy thing to do, to have that extended amount of time out [of the lineup] and come back into a game like this and play against a team that has a lot of pace. I thought he kept it simple. He played within himself. He's a good defender and he can skate. That's what he brings to our defense corps. When he's in our lineup. After missing an extended period of time, I thought he did a good job for us."

-Sullivan talked about Kessel's passing ability:

"Everybody looks at Phil as being a scorer and his shot, which is really good. But what I think really goes under the radar is how well he passes the puck. He sees the ice pretty good. He can really pass the puck. I thought he made some really nice plays which set up some goals for us. When [Bonino's] line is going like it was today, that's the type of team that we've kind of become that makes us hard to play against so that we don't necessarily rely on any one line on any given night. We have different people step up at different times that help us to try to continue to try to win. [Bonino's] line I thought did a real good job of that today."

-Kessel likes playing with Hagelin:

“[Hagelin] obviously is a great player. He plays with a lot of speed out there. We just kind of read pretty well of each other. And it's a pretty fast game we play.”

-Bonino made it sound like he had to have quite a bit of maintenance in order to get ready to play:

“They did a really good job of getting me ready. I think the [doctors] and the trainers know what they're doing. I trusted them and it worked out.”

-Bonino talked about being the center between Kessel and Hagelin

"They've got so much speed. All I'm trying to do is get the puck to them and make my plays. If I can play good in our zone, like you saw on [Hagelin's] second goal. Just be low, be supporting them, chip it out to them and let them work their magic.”

-Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall summed up his team's game pretty well:

“Tonight was embarrassing.”


-The Penguins dominated shots, 41-23.

-Kessel led he game with six shots.

-Larkin led the Red Wings with five shots.

-Letang led the game with 29:32 of ice time.

-Quincey led the Red Wings with 21:01.

-The Red Wings led the game in faceoffs, 34-31 (52 percent).

-Red Wings center Luke Glendening was 13 for 18 (72 percent).

-Cullen was 12 for 20 (60 percent). 

-Cole led the game with three blocked shots.

-Quincey and DeKeyser each led the Red Wings with two blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-The Penguins swept a regular season series with the Red Wings (3-0-0) for the fourth time. The previous instances were in 2010-11 (2-0-0), 1998-99 (2-0-0) and 1990-91 (3-0-0).

-Kessel and Bonino each set career highs with five points.

-Here's a heck of a stat:

-Kessel recorded his 300th career assist (as well as his 303rd career assist).

-Crosby played in his 700th career game.

-Datsyuk recorded his 600th career game.


-This guy got his revenge later on:


-Game summary.

-Event summary.


(Photo: Duane Burleson/Associated Press)

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