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Pens postgame: Big merchandise sales, impact of Burkle pursuing Kings, and some stats.

“We knew right away this morning when we looked at their lineup that they have a lot of speed. They want to play fast. We can’t play that kind of game against them. Our game is north/south. We need to get in their zone and grind them down. We tried to play the same game as them and got burned.”
—  D Kris Letang, Penguins

Some nuggets from the Penguins’ 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night:

♦ The Penguins scored the first goal for the third straight game.

♦ The Penguins have killed all 13 opponents’ 13 power plays that were 5-on-4. The three power-play goals they have allowed have been 5-on-3 power plays.

♦ With his goal, C Evgeni Malkin has scored a point in every game. Malkin has now recorded 10 goals and 39 points in 21 games against Toronto.

♦ Maple Leafs LW Nikolai Kulemin recorded 3 assists. Kulemin is a close friend to Malkin. They are both from Magnitogorsk, Russia, and both played for Metallurg of the KHL during the NHL lockout.

♦ The Penguins have lost 2 of 3 openers at Consol Energy Center.

♦ The announced crowd, 18,641, is the largest to watch a game at the CEC, which opened in August 2010.

♦ PensGear stores at the CEC and SouthSide Works sold about $500,000 worth of merchandise, which was discounted by 50 percent. The big sellers were items featuring RW James Neal and C Brandon Sutter.

♦ The Penguins were penalized three times for boarding, and also received a slashing penalty. C Sidney Crosby received an unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third period, and Malkin received a match-ending game misconduct.

♦ Majority co-owner Ron Burkle is reportedly interested in buying the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. However, this would not impact his ownership stake with the Penguins, team officials said. Burkle, who now resides in London, owns a home near Beverly Hills. Penguins majority co-owner Mario Lemieux said Burkle has been following the Kings situation “for two years,” and joked that if Burkle did purchase the NBA team perhaps he would get a small share.

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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