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The Penguins rolled on to six straight wins as Ty Conklin added another shutout to his growing resume with a 3-0 win over the Panthers. Conklin, 7-0 in just as many NHL starts this season, may in fact be a front runner for the starting goaltender position upon Fleury's eminent return. At the least, he'll sure give him a run for his money.
Firing out of the gate earily, the Pens mounted a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Kennedy and Malkin within the first seven minutes. Similar to their three-goals in 48 seconds route on the Leafs the other night, it didn't seem like they'd be letting up anytime soon.Try as they did, the score stayed locked at 2-0 for the remainder of the game. That is, until Crosby lasered a shot into the back of the net late in the third to make it 3-0.
The obvious star of the game went to Ty Conklin for his 35 save performance. To top it off, not only was his goaltending outstanding, but so too was the defense around him.
Even though they walked away with a win AND a shutout, I think the Pens should look at this game as a learning experience. I say this only because they collected only two minutes of penalties on the night. Adam Hall got the gate for holding with five remaining in the first. If they can play more penalty free games like this and match it with the goaltending of Conklin and the offensive prowess of Malkin as of late, then it goes without question the Pens will be in a comfortable position at the top of the division by the first week of February. The only thing the Pens should really tighten up is the power play. On five penalty gifts from the Panthers the Pens only converted once.
Max Tablot is expected back in the lineup sometime next week. Talbot, who re-aggravated a high ankle sprain back in December against the Flames, may be eligible as soon as Tuesday against the Panthers.
Pensburgh's own PensFan024 brought an interesting article to my attention earlier today. Erik Christensen is getting some love in the Post-Gazette (available at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08005/846975-61.stm ) for his new found and heavily physical game. It's a good quick read, so check it out.
The Pens hit the road on Tuesday against the Panthers to begin a three game road trip through Florida and Georgia. Previews and more open threads to come.