The Pittsburgh Penguins started their last game before the NHL All-Star break against the Minnesota Wild in spectacular form.
The Penguins struck first with a goal from Dominick Simon, his second goal in his second game in a Penguin uniform. Simon’s goal came from a remarkable pass from Sidney Crosby, who has been back on his groove as of late.
It was a subtle play but one that shows just how well Simon can fit in with this Penguins team.
After the game, Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan complemented Simon’s adjustment to the league.
“I think when a player gets called up for the first time, there’s a bit of a wow factor and after that experience is over, I think players tend to settle in,” Sullivan said. “With each additional time players are called up, they get more comfortable with their surroundings and that’s what we’re seeing with Dominik.”
Soon after, the Penguins found themselves on a power play, where Crosby once again made a great pass, this time to Evgeni Malkin who was able to whip the puck around the net and past Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk.
The game continued to go in the Penguin’s favor with goals from Carl Hagelin (surprising, right?) and Brian Dumoulin in the second period. Crosby got an assist again on the Dumoulin goal, surpassing Jaromir Jagr for the second place on the Penguin’s all-time scoring list.
“We’ve been playing the right way for a couple weeks and we’ve had great results,” Crosby said. “Everybody’s chipping in and that’s a big part of it. It’s a lot more fun to play and more pucks are going in the net.”
Scoring in the third period were Malkin and Simon, but the tide quickly shifted to the Wild, with players from Minnesota scoring three quick goals after the Penguins were already up 6-0.
Minnesota’s goals were scored by Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund (on a power-play) and Jonas Brodin. Left-winger Marcus Foligno had an assist on Staal and Brodin’s goals.
There were also quite a few penalties. Patric Hornqvist and Simon were called for closing their hand on the puck, a simple mistake that cost goalie Casey DeSmith his shutout.
Also in the second period, Kris Letang was called for roughing.
Despite these lapses in regards to penalties, the Penguins are 2nd in the Metro Division behind the Washington Capitals, who they play next Friday.
The Penguins seem to finally have found their motivation for this season, and not a second too late. Their chances of a strong playoff contest are growing after each game. By winning this game, their fourth victory in a row and their seventh victory in the past nine games, the Penguins show that they are growing with confidence from the young players as well as great performances from Crosby and Malkin.
Hopefully, after the NHL All-Star break, they will come back just as strong and finish out this season living up to the fans’ expectations, a surprisingly impossible feat for a team that has won the Stanley Cup twice in a row.
The Penguins will return to the ice on Tuesday to face the San Jose Sharks. The game will air at 7 p.m.
So, Dominik Simon has scored on three of his last four shots… pic.twitter.com/iON1TOOTKH
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 26, 2018