*Kris Letang’s move and pass that set up Pascal Dupuis’ tying goal at Buffalo was AMAZING, a legit game-changer. Dangle, dish, snipe. Cross-rink backhand passes that land right on the tape for a one-timer are rare.
*Dupuis netted 25 goals last year and has seven this year. Just one PPG in the bunch; Dupuis scores despite lack of power-play time. He may be the NHL’s most underrated player. Turns out Marian Hossa was the throw-in.
*Evgeni Malkin has three goals in 16 games. Minus-2 compared to Sidney Crosby’s plus-11. That’s UNACCEPTABLE. Malkin has one emotion: FRUSTRATED. Maybe the KHL was too easy. Malkin's been gone a month, and is still that league's No. 3 scorer. Aleksey Morozov will be a KHL Hall-of-Famer, if there is such a thing. Smaller rinks + more talent + increased physicality = GENO STRUGGLING.
*Speaking of frustrating, the Penguins continue to take ill-advised penalties: Crosby’s cross-check combined with Tanner Glass’ illegal faceoff gave Buffalo a two-man advantage and PPG, and Chris Kunitz’ retaliatory slash gave the Sabres a third-period man-advantage with the game tied. WISE UP.
*Tyler Kennedy (one assist in 14 games) is ABSOLUTELY INVISIBLE.
*Beau Bennett is exactly what was expected: Good with the puck, a bit weak physically. Still, he’s got to play on Malkin’s line, and NOW. He’s a top-six talent.
*The Pens’ power play is 8/25 since Paul Martin took over up top, with at least one PPG in each of six straight games. Who suggested that?
*Speaking of prognostication, before yesterday’s game I predicted on SteelCityBuzz.com that Crosby would see Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek ahead of him in the NHL scoring race and produce three points by way of answering the challenge. He did. But Vanek got two points. Nice response. Sid is still a point back.
*Simon Despres was a healthy scratch at Buffalo, giving way to the more physical Robert Bortuzzo. Good move. Bortuzzo gave the Pens’ defense a welcome 8:49 of increased physicality against an aggressive Sabres team.
*With 30 saves at Buffalo and 25 more Friday night at Winnipeg, Marc-Andre Fleury had an excellent weekend. His play in traffic is PHENOMENAL.
*The Penguins are a shocking 8-2 on the road. Even more incredible, they have scored the first goal in all 10 of their road games.
Photo courtesy of Penguins.nhl.com.