February 4, 2012

The Penguins Have All-Star Performers Throughout The Organization

The Pittsburgh Penguins rolled into the All-Star break winners of 7-straight games and sending 3 of their own to Ottawa for the festivities.  Those 3 were NHL leading point getter Evgeni  Malkin, star defenseman Kris Letang, and the winger having the season of his career James Neal.  Malkin scored a highlight-real goal and added an assist while logging 15:34 of ice time for victorious Team Chara.  Letang and Neal both recorded an assist while on the losing end for team Alfredsson. 

In their first game after the All-Star break Tuesday January 31st, the Pens looked to be in trouble.  They trailed Toronto 4-1 in the third period and the fans were about to give up on the game, however the team on the ice was not.  Steve Sullivan raced in alone and hammered home a slapper to cut the Leafs lead to 2, and then Joe Vitale sent home a rebound to make it 4-3 and give the pens life.  It didn’t look promising as the clock wound down to under ten seconds to go with Toronto still leading but an All-Star duo was about to change that.  James Neal fired a shot that hit Malkin up high and deflected into the net to tie the game at 4 with 6.6 seconds remaining.  Malkin, who has emerged as the Penguins hero time and time again scored the shootout game winner to complete the amazing comeback.  The next night the winning streak would end at 8 when the Leafs beat the Pens 1-0 in a game where Penguins net minder Brent Johnson played really solid.  The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins leading point getter, Colin McDonald earned a trip to the AHL All-Star game.  McDonald has 38 points in 41 games with the Baby Pens this year.  The fifth year pro and Providence College product was a 40+ goal scorer a year ago with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons and has seen NHL action with the Oilers in the past and this season with the Penguins. In fact, he was recalled to the Penguins following the AHL All-Star game. 

The Penguins ECHL affiliate in Wheeling received a familiar face from their parent clubs January 25th.  Last year’s team leading point getter and Penguins 2009 4th round draft pick Nick Petersen is a Nailer again.  Before turning pro, Petersen played 3 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He spent 2 seasons with the Shawinigan Cataractes and finished his junior career with the Saint John Sea Dogs.  His highest point total came in his second season with Shawinigan when he recorded 90 points and was a +56.  He set his career high in goals his final season with the Sea Dogs when he scored 39 times.  Last season with Wheeling he scored 24 goals and 33 assists for 57 points and was a +17 before joining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for 23 games, scoring 14 points (5 goals – 9 assists) and registering a +7 rating.  This season Petersen has 6 goals and 6 assist for 12 points and a +6 rating in 28 games with the Baby Pens.  In his first 6 games with Wheeling, Petersen has 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points and is a +5.  Since joining the Nailers Petersen’s game has looked really good as he works hard to get back to the next level.  

-           Andrew Grimm

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