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Penguins Locker Room: Crosby Chuckles at Malkin, Jarry Shines

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ six-game winning streak was not top of mind inside the locker room on Wednesday, but the constants and ability to find ways to win were. While the Penguins have found different ways to win over the last month, they began with an uncharacteristic wide-open track meet against the Florida Panthers Thursday at FLA Live Arena.

The Penguins were on the short end of the chances until the third period but still claimed their seventh straight win, 4-2 over the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena.

They yielded more high-danger chances in the first period (8) than they did in the entire Dallas game (5), according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

The Penguins figuratively flung open the doors in the second period, and it became more firewagon hockey than the team has played in weeks, if not all season. Florida had nine more high-danger chances compared to just three for the Penguins.

Yet the Penguins scored both goals in the second period, while Tristan Jarry made a handful of brilliant saves. He is 10-0-1 in his last 11 games and further upped his save percentage to .923.

Early in the second period, Bryan Rust set up Kris Letang on a shorthanded two-on-one. Letang roofed it for his fifth career shortie.

Then Jake Guentzel may have gotten away with a kick that counted as a power-play goal. Guentzel slid his skate into the puck but never turned his skate for a true kicking motion. Either call would have stood, but it counted.

However, the Penguins’ third goal was painful. On the power play, Sidney Crosby blasted a slapshot from the left circle. Evgeni Malkin hugged the post to deflect it, but the shot hit Malkin just above the shin pad but below the pants.

Malkin writhed in pain on the ice as the goal lights flashed red. It was the game-winner.

Crosby had two assists on Thursday, including blasting a shot off Malkin that seemed to make Crosby chuckle just a bit.

“I don’t think (there’s anything seriously wrong). I got him pretty good, but hopefully, nothing that’s going to keep him out,” Crosby said.

“I guess If you’re going to get hit, get a goal out of it.”

Now that’s a reaction for guys who are close friends. The jokes on Friday when the Penguins have an off-day in southern Florida should be just as brutal.

Sidney Crosby:

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang also downplayed Malkin’s pain, “He’ll be OK. He’s tough.”

Letang also downplayed any surprise over hyperbole over Jarry’s 32-save win. For Letang, it was just another example of Jarry’s talent.

“We all know he’s really good. He’s going to win some games for us,” said Letang.

Kris Letang:

Not only did Malkin get credit for a power-play goal, but he also assisted on Jake Guentzel’s disputed second-period power-play goal. Guentzel slid his skate forward to deflect Malkin’s shot. Florida argued it was a kicking motion. Guentzel credited Malkin with helping his technique.

“In Buffalo last week, Geno just told me to use my skates — kind of get (my foot) back like he does,” said Guentzel. “He scores a lot of goals like that, and he did it again tonight.”

Jake Guentzel:

 

The Penguins locker room had every reason to be smiles, especially as everyone seemed to believe Malkin will be OK. The team will have an off day in southern Florida before traveling to Carolina for the Sunday evening game. And they’ve won seven in a row.

*Dave Molinari contributed to this report from 77-degree Sunrise, FL (He provided the locker room video and will be on-site in Carolina, too). 

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.