Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Game Night - Game #16 - Rumbling towards respectability...

Pittsburgh Penguins at Atlanta Thrashers

Pittsburgh - 4-6-5 - 13 pts - Last in Atlantic
Atlanta - 4-9-1 - 9 pts - Last in Southeast

This is a game the Penguins should win. It's also a game that will be easy to look past, considering the first place Canadiens will be waiting in Pittsburgh for the Pens to come home. This is the last game of a five game road trip. The team could be tired and worn down a bit. Atlanta's biggest strength is their power play... The Pens will have to play disciplined hockey to get out of Atlanta with a win tonight.

Atlanta is quite top-heavy, relying on a few players extensively. These include Kovalchuk, Hossa, Savard, Modry and especially Havelid, who is averaging over 27 minutes per game!! To a lesser extent (a few minutes less per game), they play the older guys - Holik, Bondra and Kozlov.

Here's the key - beat them on special teams. Their power play is either screaming hot (5 games with three or more PP goals) or ice cold (8 games with none or one PP goals). Their penalty kill is very similar. Don't take silly penalties, and when you do get whistled, play with the same tenacity that the Pens displayed on Tuesday night in New York, though I'd probably argue that the Thrahers combination is more deadly on the PP...

I'm guessing we'll see Caron again, since Thibault seems to be firmly entrenched as a backup for the time being. Not sure if that's best for the team long term.

Will also be interesting to see if Edzo continues to replace Leclair with a seventh defensemen. Jackman and Melichar dressed on Tuesday.

Let's get one win closer to .500!

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