Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sabres 3, Penguins 2

The Pens got the first goal in this game, so it's the first time they've lost in regulation when scoring the first goal. Murley scored the primary tally - his first this season. He was visibly thrilled.

They worked pretty hard for much of the game tonight. There were a few breakdowns, most noticably on Afinogenov's goal, where he simply hustled past two Penguins to put in a rebound. Obviously, you'd rather not give up the rebound, but there was no way Afinogenov should have been able to skate by himself to score that goal.

Interesting things from the minutes played:
  • Christensen barely played on special teams. I'm not sure why he's not out there on the PP instead of Malone. He (Christensen) did play the third most on the team at even strength.
  • Speaking of Malone, he showed some signs of working hard, and his minutes were there on both the PP and the PK. I don't see it, but I'm not the most qualifed judge. Having John Leclair around will only help him - Leclair should be Malone's mentor and model.
  • Leclair earned a ton of power play time (along with Lemieux and Recchi). He played extremely well and scored his first goal since returning from his ugly face / puck incident
  • Melichar played only 12:33, which is low for a defensemen. His days might be numbered. If there weren't the frustration with Jackman, Melichar might not be playing.
  • Orpik is shaping into a solid guy even strength, and is playing on the PK. He's even +/- for his last three games, despite playing increased minutes.
  • Crosby played a lot of minutes but clearly wasn't himself. He didn't have that burst, due to his foot injury. He was robbed by Biron on one chance, though.

Edzo is on ESPN right now with Mark Madden. He's a good interview and is very straightforward about the short-comings of this team. He was also fairly critical of Fleury in giving up the third goal. It was a weak one, and it was nice to hear someone be held accountable.

Fleury played quite well, for the most part. He wants a few of the goals back tonight, especially the second and third ones, but for the most part, he played well. Let's hope he develops some consistency. I'll expect that we'll see him Thursday night.

All in all, not a good loss, but there were some encouraging signs.

1 comment:

Pronovost said...

I'm very interested to see how they play the next couple of games. There were enough positives against Buffalo to build on. For one thing it was nice to see the Pens play like a normal team -- the effort was there, the shot and goal totals were respectable.

In fairness to Caron and Thibault, however, if either of them had let in those last two goals, I can imagine the howling.

Anyway, baby steps and not without some stumbling, but overall I agree with Pat -- I'm cautiously encouraged.