Win streak hits seven games

Penguins 3, Maple Leafs 2 / Pascal Dupuis fires up two goals and adds an assist in victory for rookie goaltender Brad Thiessen
March 8, 2012 6:30 am
  • Pascal Dupuis, right, celebrates the first of his two goals Wednesday night.
    Pascal Dupuis, right, celebrates the first of his two goals Wednesday night.
  • Joe Vitale tries to protect the puck as he maneuvers in front of Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins won, 3-2, to run their winning streak to seven games.
    Joe Vitale tries to protect the puck as he maneuvers in front of Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins won, 3-2, to run their winning streak to seven games.
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OK, maybe it's a bit early to ask sculptors to begin submitting design ideas for a Pascal Dupuis statue.

Might be prudent to put that off until Dupuis, say, saves the franchise from bankruptcy or earns a pocketful of league MVP awards.

Or at least rings up a second 20-goal season.

Dupuis still hasn't made it to that milestone in 2011-12, but he's getting pretty close after scoring a couple of timely ones in the Penguins' 3-2 victory against Toronto Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center.


Three stars
  • 1. Pascal Dupuis, Penguins RW: 2 goals, 1 assist
  • 2. Jordan Staal, Penguins C: 1 goal, 1 assist
  • 3. Carl Gunnarsson, Maple Leafs D: 1 goal

The first pulled the Penguins to within a goal after the Maple Leafs built a two-goal lead early in the second period. The second proved to be the winner.

And just to round out his personal stat sheet, Dupuis earned an assist on the Penguins second goal, which was scored by linemate Jordan Staal.

Indeed, the Maple Leafs held center Evgeni Malkin without a point for the first time in nine games and kept his wingers, James Neal and Chris Kunitz off the scoresheet, as well, but couldn't contain the Steve Sullivan-Staal-Dupuis unit.

Those three accounted for all of the Penguins' goals and three of their six assists.

"We've been going really well," Sullivan said. "Overall, we're clicking."

So is their team; the victory was the Penguins' seventh in a row and raised their record to 40-21-5. They are four points ahead of fifth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.

The Maple Leafs played without their No. 2 scorer, left winger Joffrey Lupul, who got a separated shoulder Tuesday in a 5-4 loss against Boston. Toronto also was missing rugged winger Colby Armstrong, who had his nose broken in a fight with Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.

What's more, the Maple Leafs lost right winger Mike Brown and defenseman Cody Franson early in the first period, and thus played with a short bench for most of the evening.

"We knew eventually we could wear them down," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

Not having to contend with Lupul likely made the evening a bit less stressful for Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen, who turned aside 22 of 24 shots to raise his NHL record to 2-0.

Thiessen wasn't often forced to be spectacular, although he made a quality stop on Toronto sniper Phil Kessel on a Maple Leafs power play with just over six minutes to go in regulation, but he was solid enough throughout that coach Dan Bylsma had no reason to second-guess his decision to give Marc-Andre Fleury a night off.

Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com or Twitter @MolinariPG.
First Published 2012-03-07 23:20:06

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