Thursday, December 08, 2005

Game #28 - vs Wild

Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins

Minnesota - 10-12-4 - 24 pts - Last in Northwest
Pittsburgh - 7-14-6 - 20 pts - Last in Atlantic

Minnesota is playing the fourth game of a five game road trip. They've lost the first three games, and have lost four games in a row and eight of their last ten. Suffice it to say that they're struggling right now.

Their special teams have been struggling, going two for their last twenty. Their PK just gave up two goals in their most recent loss to the Rangers on Monday night. Their penalty kill, however, is ranked first in the NHL at 88.7%.

When I stopped to think about it, I couldn't name a single Wild player, other than their goalie (Manny Fernandez). He and Dwayne Roloson make a very good combination.

Offensively, Minnesota is led by Brian Rolston and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, each with 20 pts in 26 games. Behind them, no one has more than 15 points. Marion Gaborik does have 11 points in just nine games, but 6 of those were in the three games he played before straining his groin.

In a brief look at the current state of the Pens, here are a few fun facts: (okay, maybe they're not so fun, but they are true)
  • They've allowed an NHL leading 111 goals in just 27 games.
  • They have outshot their opponent in three straight games and four of the past five (they'd only outshot their opponent four times total before that).
  • The PK has allowed more than one goal only once in the last seven games.
  • The PP has let them down, going only 2-32 in the last five games (it's probably the biggest reason the Pens haven't won any of the last three games).
I don't know why Thibault is starting tonight, given that the team has been building well under Fleury the last three games. Hopefully Thibault can turn in a solid performance...

Anyway, here's hoping for a win. The Pens MUST start winning games now, or there's no way they'll make the playoffs.

Let's go Pens!

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