Penguins notebook: Vokoun playing in regular-season game a possibility
While allowing that Tomas Vokoun could appear in one of the Penguins' final 12 regular-season games, coach Dan Bylsma said the veteran goalie still is experiencing soreness and indicated the Penguins are preparing for Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff to be their postseason goalies.
Vokoun has not played this season since the discovery of a pelvic blood clot in September. He has been practicing with the Penguins for a month.
“Tomas has been progressing in terms of his health,” Bylsma said. “With the ramp up in practice and number of shots he's taken, he has dealt with some general soreness to that level, but he's not at the point where he's ready to play a game yet.
“Hopefully we'll possibly work him back to that as we wind down here.”
Bylsma termed the likelihood Vokoun gets into a regular-season game over the final three weeks as “a mere possibility.”
When asked if it was a priority to get Vokoun into a game prior to the postseason, Bylsma didn't give an answer suggesting that preparing Vokoun for the playoffs was a priority.
“We're working toward Marc-Andre getting 65 games or so, and Jeff also carried a lot more workload in this heavy month of March,” Bylsma said. “There's not a three-goalie rotation.”
Fleury has played in 55 games, Zatkoff 17. Twelve regular-season games remain.
Powerful power play
After spending much of the season holding the NHL's No. 1 power play, the Penguins' recent slump had dropped them into a tie for the league lead heading into Saturday.
A 3-for-6 performance against the Lightning vaulted them back up.
“We can't score every game, of course, and a couple games we didn't score,” center Evgeni Malkin said. “Today, we played so much better.”
The Penguins were limited to three power-play goals in their previous seven games. That dropped their conversion percentage to 23.9 — the same as Washington's. After a 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay, the Penguins' rate was 24.6 percent.
Malkin and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists each on the power play Saturday. James Neal had a power-play goal in overtime. Defenseman Matt Niskanen also had a power-play assist.
The only player on the No. 1 unit to get shut out of the scoresheet was Chris Kunitz, who is tied for second in the NHL in power-play goals.
“You watch the five guys that they roll out there,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, “it's not just class. It's world class.”
Zatkoff assisted on Crosby's second-period goal for his first career NHL point.
The other assist went to Malkin.
“That's a ‘Stop and watch Geno do it all,' ” Zatkoff said. “I'll take my name on a scoresheet, though, with Geno and Sid.”
Widening the lead
When the game ended Saturday, Crosby had 94 points (34 goals, 60 assists) and held an 18-point lead in the NHL scoring race.
The most recent time a player won the Art Ross Trophy by as wide a margin was Jaromir Jagr in 1998-99. Jagr had 127 points for the Penguins; runner-up Teemu Selanne had 107.
Neal's overtime goal Saturday gave him three this season, tying a franchise record with Colby Armstrong (2006-07), Crosby (2005-06), Ryan Malone (2003-04), Aleksey Morozov (2003-04) and Jagr (1998-99). … Craig Adams appeared in his 276th consecutive game, tying him with Nick Harbaruk for the third-longest streak in Penguins history. Ron Schock (313 games) and Jordan Staal (303) are the only players in franchise history with longer streaks.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Penguins notebook: Maatta making strides at practice
- Penguins centermen enjoying better faceoff success rate this season
- Hard-hitting Penguins veteran winger Kunitz is last of a dying breed
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Starkey: Farewell to NHL fighting
- Penguins’ Perron returning to form
- Penguins notebook: Blues defenseman Bortuzzo sticks to brutish ways
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ intangibles provide 1st-line value
- Zatkoff’s, Malkin’s heroics not enough as Oilers down Penguins in shootout
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby