After a six day layoff in action the Penguins made it three straight last night, defeating the Dallas Stars 4-1. They've only won 3 in a row once before this season, back in the third week of the season. The victory put the Penguins at .500 for the first time since November 7th.
Sidney Crosby came up big early, scoring 24 seconds into the first period, taking the puck from behind the net and beating Stars backup goaltender Mike Smith five-hole.
Just minutes later Tyler Kennedy jumped on a Stars turnover, and scored his 3rd of the season. Kennedy has seen increased playtime due to his solid play and the injury of Maxime Talbot, and rounded out the 3rd line with Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal.
Five minutes into the 2nd period Dallas pulled within one on a Mike Ribeiro shot that deflected of Daryl Sydor and beat Fleury high. The goal ended Fleury's shutout streak of 85 minutes and 31 seconds since he was pulled in the first period against the Ottawa Senators on November 22nd.
Crosby scored his second of the game, and 14th of the season, putting a Sydor rebound behind Smith and increasing the lead once again to 2.
Evgeni Malkin put the game away in the 3rd period when Petr Sykora found Malkin streaking down the wing, who made it 4-1.
Mark Reechi was a healthy scratch once again, further fueling trade rumors. Surely Reechi must be frustrated, but his poor performance has dictated the Penguins position. Rumors have it that Reechi is pursuing a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reechi played under Columbus head coach Ken Hitchcock in Philadelphia.
I'm a little skeptical about whether the Penguins will find a trade partner for Reechi, but even if they do, I can not imagine anyone valuing him to the point that Pittsburgh receives in return anything that would be of use this season. Perhaps a draft pick.
Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar were both scratched due to nagging injuries. Talbot's high ankle strain has kept him out of service since the 17th of November, but he has been skating with the Penguins in practice and should return to the lineup shortly.
Iron Man Gonchar left Saturday night's game against Atlanta with a groin injury, and saw his 105 game starting streak end. He is listed as day to day and is not expected to start on Saturday when the Penguins (11-11-2) take on the Maple Leafs(9-11-6) in Toronto.