Saturday, October 29, 2005

Game Night - Game #11

Carolina Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Penguins

Carolina - 7-2-1 - 15 pts - 1st in Southeast
Pittsburgh - 1-4-5 - 7 pts - Last in Atlantic

Wow - sure is nice to not have to type a zero for the win total for the Pens anymore. Their PP is now clicking at almost a 23% rate, second only to Toronto in the Eastern Conference. Amazing what six power play goals will do for you, eh?

Carolina is one of the better teams in the East so far this season. Their two losses, however, have come on the road. They seem to play whatever style of hockey is needed for the game. They've had games where they've taken over 40 shots, and games where they've allowed fewer than 20.

Offensively, they're led by Eric Staal, who has 18 points (9 G, 9 A) in just 10 games. He had a hat trick last night at home against Philly. Brind'Amour has four of his six goals on the power play. We saw what Cory Stillman did to Caron last time these two teams played. Hopefully Caron will be ready this time.

Let's get win #2!!

1 comment:

Trent said...

First off, thank god for the win. The first ten minutes were brutal. The last 50 were thrilling.

Second of all, i've got some humble pie to eat, dished up by a "washed-up, over the hill captain who needs to hand the reigns over to the wunderkid." Happily eaten, can i have some more please, a double serving, perhaps with gravy? Mario is still a rock star and he carried his team to a win. Although, i was surprised to see that he had 5 points at the end of the night.

Not sure how i feel about Edzo. On the one hand, i give him credit for making the adjustments to the power play that enabled them to tie a franchise record for power play goals. It's looked really good out there. Putting Crosby and Mario out there together was long overdue.

I want to ask, what took him so long? I want to say that the delay in making the proper adjustments is a sign of his inexperience and will work against the team in the future. Then again, this team has required an adjustment to EVERY facet of their game: Taking penalties, scoring, puck control, defensive work, playing 60 minutes, starting strong, everything. And, to be fair, he's chipped away at them, one problem at a time, to the point where the only problem that remains is one of confidence. (And that little problem of scoring the first goal...)

If Thursday's win came from playing against an inferior team with a 5th string goalie, the Pens will continue to lose and Edzo deserves much of the blame. If, however, the Pens maintain the improved defensive play, passing and power play effectiveness and manage to put together a string of wins, then Edzo deserves quite a bit of praise for bringing around a team as dysfunctional as the Rangers, pre-lockout.

I would, however, like to see a bit more of fire from Edzo behind the bench. I know he's trying to keep the ship from rocking anymore than it is, but the passion for the game that he showed last season was one of his biggest assets. Veterans or not, the team could use some of that energy from the coach.