The Penguins got two penalties in the first period of their 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena Saturday night.
Both went to guys who are fixtures in their regular penalty-killing rotation, Ryan Malone and Adam Hall.
And both times, Sidney Crosby -- whose short-handed work generally is limited to the final 25 or 30 seconds of a kill, when the chances of fatigue among members of the opposing power play are greatest -- went out fairly early with Maxime Talbot.
The first time they were together, Crosby set up Talbot on a two-on-one break for the first goal of the game.
"I've been kind of out there, off and on, throughout the last few games," Crosby said. "There was no real warning or anything like that, but I think I'm always ready now to go and have that opportunity, so [getting that duty] wasn't something that caught me off-guard or anything."
Whether coach Michel Therrien will make a habit of deploying Crosby when the Penguins are down a man isn't known; the obvious downside is the risk of him being injured, particularly while blocking shots. But he is a threat to manufacture a goal anytime he's on the ice, regardless of the situation.
Even so, Crosby said his focus when the Penguins are short-handed is preventing goals, not scoring them.
"If I go every game and kill all the ones I'm out there for ... that's my main job [as a penalty-killer]," he said. "That's all of our jobs. But maybe we can throw another element out there that will keep the other team thinking a bit."
Waiving the re-entry rule
Although defenseman Alain Nasreddine had to clear waivers when the Penguins assigned him to their minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre last week, he will not have to go through re-entry waivers if they decide to bring him back.
Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, Nasreddine is exempt because he is on a two-way contract with a minor-league salary of $100,000. (That's the cut-off point; a lower figure would qualify for an exemption, too.)
A player earning more than $100,000 in the minors can be exempt if he has played 320 or more games as a professional -- unless he was on an NHL roster for 40 or more regular-season and/or playoff games the previous season or 80 or more over the previous two seasons.
When a player goes on re-entry waivers, other clubs can claim him and his original team is obliged to pay 50 percent of his salary.
Former Penguins defenseman Michal Rozsival scored the Rangers' first two goals Saturday.
That means he has scored three of his six this season against them, giving him six in 19 career games against the Penguins.
"I've had a little success against my former team," Rozsival said. "I think it just happens like that sometimes."
Avery the enforcer
Rangers winger Sean Avery, perhaps hockey's premier antagonist, had a pretty low profile Saturday -- he was credited with one shot and no hits, and didn't pick up a penalty -- but it's hard to overlook the impact his presence seems to have on New York.
It has gone 7-1 since Avery returned from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss 10 games.
In one of those games, a 4-2 victory against the Penguins Nov. 8 at Madison Square Garden, he goaded Penguins winger Gary Roberts into taking a double-minor that turned the game in New York's favor.
"It's not a coincidence that since he's back in their lineup, they've started winning," Therrien said. "He brings a lot of emotion, a lot of intensity. He's a tough guy to play against. He's not fun to play against.
"He can get under your skin. You've got to be prepared for that. If he gets under your skin, it's your fault because we know what to expect from him. If you're undisciplined and retaliate, you're going to be in trouble."