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Moore's contributions aren't overlooked by teammates

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Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006
 

A guy being a pest, staying in the face of an opponent's best player, doesn't usually end up on television highlights or in newspaper headlines.

Same goes for blocked shots, intercepted passes and winning faceoffs.

Now, goals -- they get highlights.

Or at least Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin-type goals.

The hard-working goal that Dominic Moore scored against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, where he skated the puck in from out of the corner and stuffed a second chance past goaltender J.S. Giguere, isn't the type one will see on "SportsCenter."

But while Moore, the Penguins' gritty third-line center and penalty-killing specialist, will rarely get the recognition of some of his younger teammates with the knack for the razzle-dazzle, his addition has been just as important to the Penguins' success this year as players such as Malkin and Jordan Staal.

"Players like Dom help make a team a good team," said John LeClair, Moore's left winger. "They do the things you don't read about, but it's more important sometimes than anything else we have going."

While fans and critics clamored this past summer for a scoring winger and an elite defenseman, new general manager Ray Shero picked up role players such as Moore and Jarkko Ruutu. He not only acquired guys with a lot of bang for the buck but also players who brought an element of grit and defensive responsibility that the team desperately lacked last year.

Shero knew the Penguins were going to have offensive skill.

He also knew they needed to do something about the bottom-of-the-barrel penalty-killing unit and a defensive corps that allowed the most goals in the NHL.

So far, the penalty kill is ranked 19th in the league at 82.9 percent, and it has allowed 33 goals, 11th fewest in the league.

"I think as a team we have a lot to be proud of so far," said Moore, 26. "We're not resting on our laurels. Our focus is on getting better every game. But I feel comfortable. I feel we have good chemistry with the line we've been playing with. We've had lots of chances, and it's started going in for us the past couple games."

Moore scored his second goal in two games Monday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Ducks, proving that even as a defensive specialist he can still contribute in the offensive zone. He has three goals and two assists for five points in 12 games and is a plus-2.

"(Moore's) a smart player on the ice, there's no doubt. He's got an important role killing penalties, and he brings us some depth," coach Michel Therrien said.

With defenseman Mark Eaton out of the lineup indefinitely following wrist surgery, Moore's responsibility on the penalty kill becomes even greater. The Ducks had nine power plays Monday and scored twice, including the winner in overtime.

"I thought, for the most part, we did a good job killing penalties," Moore said. "But it's not about most of the time doing it, it's about all of the time doing it. All it takes is one goal here or there to change the game, one chance out of many opportunities is all it takes."

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