With Niko Dimitrakos being released from his PTO, Matt Rust took his place in the lineup. Zach Sill missed his 3rd straight game with an undisclosed upper body injury, and Ryan Schnell was a healthy scratch. It was Brad Thiessen vs. Curtis McElhinney in net tonight.
Ben Street is playing with a ton of confidence. Eric Tangradi was a force tonight. Alexandre Picard isn't showing any displeasure with being sent down in favor of Simon Despres. Alex Grant and Joey Mormina had big nights. Everyone had a good night tonight.
I'll post the November Grades for the defensemen and goaltenders first thing tomorrow morning. I've been meaning to post it but didn't want to flood the posts with the news of Despres and the games this weekend. So check in the A.M. for that. Here's the forwards grades if you missed that.
Recap after the jump.
Brett MacLean gave the Pirates an early 1-0 lead just 3:27 into the contest, but it was all Penguins from there. The Pens out shot the Pirates 14-6 in the first period and 15-5 in the second.
First, Ben Street tied the game at one with a beautiful tip-in goal off a slap-pass from Jason Williams. Williams' initial shot was blocked but the rebound came right back to him and he found Street behind the Pirates' defense. Carl Sneep got the second assist.
Then with under four minutes to play in the first period and the Penguins on a power play, Nick Petersen found Mormina wide open on the point and Joey made no mistake, burying a slap shot past McElhinney to give the Pens a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Penguins continued to control the flow of the game in the second period. On a power play late in the period, the Pirates looked to have cleared a puck down the ice. But an amazing keep in by Alex Grant kept the play alive and Grant's shot was gobbled up by Eric Tangradi and the "Big Dog" put in the rebound for his ninth of the season. Picard got the secondary assist on that goal.
Off the face-off directly after the goal, Geoff Walker and Igor Gonglasky dropped the gloves to finish an altercation they started early in the first period. I guess Gonglasky was trying to light a fire underneath his team, but it didn't work. The Penguins were up 3-1 after two periods and out shooting the Pirates 29-11 after 40 minutes of play.
The Penguins weathered the storm early on in the third and finished the night off with an empty net goal courtesy of Geoff Walker. Team captain Ryan Craig brought the puck up ice and with a Pirate forward on his back, unselfishly passed the puck to Walker instead of shooting and let Walker skate the puck into the empty net.
Brandon DeFazio, unhappy with a questionable hit from behind from Brett Hextall earlier in the period, went after him as the final buzzer sounded which nearly led to a scrum. Here's what that looked like:
Back at it again tomorrow night against the Syracuse Crunch up in New York. We'll have a pregame post as well as live in-game coverage on the blog's Twitter feed. Stay tuned for more AHL Penguins hockey tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. EST.