-Generally speaking, quite a few things can happen in a nine-goal game. That is certainly the case with the Penguins' 7-2 rout of the Wild tonight at Consol Energy Center. Sadly, injuries will be what dominate the storyline of this offensive outburst.
-First, Steve Downie. He left early in the second period after being struck in the head by the right elbow of Ryan Suter. Coach Mike Johnston did not have an update on his status. According to a league source, the NHL's Department of Player Safety, which oversees supplemental discipline, will review the hit.
-If you didn't see the hit, here you go:
-Suter gave an... interesting explanation as to what happened:
What happened on the play with you and Downie?
“Yeah, that was … I reached for the puck and then I kind poked it. I went to put my hand... he like ran into... I hope he's all right. Obviously, you never … that's never the type of player I am. It was kind of a fluky thing. He kind of brushed my arm, my elbow as he went by.”
Did you even see Downie coming?
“Well I poked for it [the puck] then I went to get my stick. As he... like I said, I just hope he's all right. That's not the type of player I am. I hope … I personally never want to see anyone get hurt whether its out team or any other team. That's not the part the game that makes it exciting.”
You were talking to Sidney Crosby at the end of the first period.Was it about Downie?
“Yeah, I just told him, I said, 'Sid, you know what kind of guy I am.' He was like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' So I just asked him to say sorry and hopefully he's all right.”
Do you anticipate the NHL taking a closer look or some sort of action on the hit?
“No. I'm skating backwards. No. It was unintentional.”
-As far as we can tell with the power of a quick Google search, Suter has never been suspended or fined in his career.
-Regardless, even if that wasn't intentional - a dubious claim to be sure - that was at the very least reckless. It more than merits supplemental discipline.
-The truly scary part of that hit is Downie's history of head injuries throughout his career. If he has suffered another one, that's really, really dangerous.
-Additionally, the team officially announced - at 8:56 p.m. following the game no less - that Olli Maatta would miss the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery.
-As far as the rest of the game went, the score wasn't indicative of how lopsided this thing truly was. The Penguins ran over the Wild.
-Things were fairly even in the first period. The Wild generated some chances off some sloppy puck management by the Penguins but Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall and bailed his teammates out a few times.
-The start of the Penguins' offensive onslaught came from an unlikely source; the Fourth line. Marcel Goc was able to clean up a rebound and put the Penguins up 1-0. The assists came from Zach Sill and Craig Adams. It was Sill's first career point in 48 NHL games.
-Up until tonight, Sill had played the second most games in NHL history without getting a point:
|Gord Strate, D
||Detroit Red Wings
|Zach Sill, C
|Frank Peters, D
||New York Rangers
|Billy Cameron, RW
||Montreal Canadiens/New York Americans
|Patsy Callighen, D
||New York Rangers
-Every one seemed to find a way to contribute to this buttkicking tonight. All fourt lines got a goal and the power play even managed to score the game-winning goal.
-David Perron scored two pretty slick goals. He picked up the Penguins' second score by making a lightning-quick collection of a rebound off a Christian Ehrhoff shot and tucked it in by poor Niklas Backstrom for a goal. On the Penguins' seventh goal, Chris Kunitz stole a puck and fed a pass to Perron who buried a one-time behind John Curry. Perron finished with two goals and an assist.
-Kunitz had an excellent game. He buried a rebound off a deflection from Evgeni Malkin for the game-winning goal on the power play. And the steal he made to set up Perron's second goal was vintage Kunitz. The Penguins needed a game like this from Kunitz.
-Crosby had a ho-hum three-assist game.
-Brandon Sutter really put the game out of reach in the third period when he picked up a rebound off a block by Paul Martin, blew by Suter and ripped one of his classic far-side wristers from the right circle behind Backstrom.
-A few readers on Twitter have asked about the Penguins not trying to avenge Suter. Beyond seeing Adams give Suter a few shoves later in the period, we didn't really see much of a physical confrontation with him. And that's a good thing. When the hit occurred, the Penguins were up 2-0. If they had jumped Suter at that point, they could have potentially given the Wild a power play and a chance to get back into the game. There really was no need to give the Wild anything to work with.
-There are times for team toughness and there are times for discipline. And oftentimes, discipline is a form of toughness.
-Ultimately, smacking the wild by a five-goal differential was the ultimate revent.
-Fleury was really good. As lopsided as this game got, he had to steal quite a few goals tonight. He earned this win in more ways than one.
-The Wild looked like a team which gave up midway through the third period. The body language of its players was just lifeless.
-Minnesota's players held a players' only meeting for approximately 20 to 25 minutes after the game.
-Mike Yeo was remarkably composed after the game for someone who could very well be fired in the morning.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 37-32.
-The Penguins had a 61-60 edge in attempted shots.
-Zach Parise led the game with six shots.
-Kunitz and Perron each led the Penguins with four shots.
-Suter led the game with 29:55 of ice time.
-Kris Letang led the Penguins with 23:26 of ice time.
-The Penguins had a 32-30 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Crosby was 10 for 20 (50 percent).
-Mikko Koivu was 16 for 32 (48 percent).
-Martin and Jonas Brodin each led the game with five blocked shots.
-Fleury got his first career win against the Wild.
-The Wild remains the only team the Penguins have never shut out.
-Perron's three points are a career best.
-Some sites. The ice:
-Fans entering the barn:
-It was a kind of lousy night for jerseys. Darius Kasparaitis:
-They always rare Rob Scuderi/Patric Hornqvist duo:
-A rare Aleksey Morozov appearance:
-There are more than a few Wild fans on hand. Nino Niederreiter:
-Jerseys of the Night: Matt Cooke is still popular here in Minnesota form:
-And Pittsburgh form:
-Jeff Jimerson handles business: