Share This Page

Ponikarovsky scores in Pens' Mellon debut

Alexei Ponikarovsky could breathe a sigh of relief late Saturday afternoon.

His 20th goal, which capped the Penguins' scoring in a 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars at Mellon Arena, was his first since Jan. 29 — a span of six NHL games over 35 days.

The goal also kept him from becoming the only scoring-line winger acquired by general manager Ray Shero during the trade-deadline period not to record a point in his first home game with the Penguins.

Add Ponikarovsky, acquired Tuesday from Toronto, to the list of wingers that took an early liking to Pittsburgh: Gary Roberts (a goal and two assists on March 4, 2007); Marian Hossa (a goal and an assist on March 16, 2008); Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin (each with an assist on March 10, 2009).

A 151st consecutive home sellout crowd vocally saluted Ponikarovsky after his power-play goal, scored from in front of the net, with 4:47 remaining in the third period against Dallas.

"It was a warm welcome," he said after mostly skating on a line with center Evgeni Malkin and winger Ruslan Fedotenko.

"In the first period, it felt like every shift was in their end. It was good hockey — going to the net, getting rebounds and getting your nose dirty."

Guerin's back 'a freak thing'

Guerin missed a second straight game because of an ailing back. He was a late scratch Thursday against the Rangers at New York after experiencing spasms that morning.

"Just give it some time ... but I honestly don't know (about a return date)," Guerin said, adding that he has not experienced back problems since the 2007-08 season while with the New York Islanders.

He also jokingly downplayed speculation that stiff beds at the Penguins' New York-area hotel contributed to his current state.

"I don't want to say anything," he said, smiling. "It's just a freak thing."

Sid chasing Mario

With two goals against Dallas, Penguins center Sidney Crosby extended his best single-season total to 44. He is the team leader in goals.

With only 38 assists, he is on pace to become the first Penguin since current majority co-owner Mario Lemieux to lead the team with at least 40 goals and more markers than helpers. Lemieux finished with 54 goals and 53 assists in the 1986-87 season.

Around the boards

Center Evgeni Malkin failed to extend his point streak to 16 games. That would have been a career-best. ... Reebok Canada has upped its reward for Crosby's lost Olympic gold-medal game glove and stick to $10,000. ... Coach Dan Bylsma said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's status for a game today against Boston will be a game-time decision.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.