Heather Wampler-WPAathletics.com STAFF
ATLANTA- It was exciting before the game to hear that defenseman Brooks Orpik was returning for Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Oprik had been out for the past 4 games with an undisclosed lower-body injury. It is also rumored that Tyler Kennedy will try to return for Monday’s game. Only time will tell for him though.
The Penguins defenseman Martin Skoula wristed the puck toward the goal, deflecting it off Thrashers defenseman Ron Hainsey and in past former Pens goalie, Johan Hedberg at 7:38 while on a power play. He was assisted by Christopher Bourque and Sidney Crosby. That was the extent of the excitement for the 1st. Both teams defense did amazing jobs. By the end of the period shots on goal were even at 9-9. Fleury managed to block all 9 shots while Hedberg only 8.
With all of the amazing offense that played Saturday the one star that seemed to shine the brightest was a defenseman. Skoula scored the second goal of the game at 7:34 when he slapped the puck in past Hedberg, assisted by Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal. This was Skoula’s third goal of the season. I was hoping for a hat trick for him, but that would not be the case during that particular game. The third and final goal to be scored by the Pens happened at 11:46 when center Evgeni Malkin wristed the puck toward the net striking the stick of Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom which then hit his teammate and fellow defenseman Pavel Kubina before sneaking inside the far post. He was assisted by Mike Rupp. Center Maxime Talbot had a chance to seal the game for the Pens when he was awarded a penalty shot at 17:34 after being tripped from behind on a breakaway, but he shot wide of the net missing the opportunity. Of course I had expected a fight by the end of the 1st but nothing happened. Boy was I surprised.....
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