Monday, December 12, 2005

Game #30 - at Red Wings

Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings

Pittsburgh - 8-15-6 - 22 pts - Last in Atlantic
Detroit - 20-8-2 - 42 pts - First in Central

This is a David and Goliath matchup if I've ever seen one. The Pens travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings, who have been one of the best teams in the league this year so far.

The Red Wings are loaded with offensive talent, with seven players having scored nine goals or more this season so far. The names include Datsyuk, Williams, Zetterberg, Shanahan, Schneider, Holstrom and former Pens Robert Lang and Mikael Samuelsson (who is amazingly leading the team in +/- and has 21 pts in 30 games - maybe the Pens gave up on him too early?)

Now, I know what you're saying - the Pens just took care of the Avalanche! They can beat the Red Wings! Well, one of the biggest differences between the Avalanche, who are offensively talented, and the Red Wings is on the power play. The Red Wings are LETHAL. They have the best PP percentage by far in the NHL, clicking over 25% of the time. It is crucial for the Pens to stay out of the box.

The PK for the Red Wings isn't too shabby either. They've allowed only two goals in the last five games in short-handed situations. They do take penalties, though, allowing at least seven chances in three of the previous five games.

In goal, there is a drop from Legace to Osgood, but even Osgood still has a GAA around 3. Legace is currently out with an injury, so the Pens will likely see Osgood, or maybe the callup Howard.

For the Pens, Palffy won't play. He's not on the road trip. Neither will Lemieux or Leclair, though Leclair could play tomorrow. Lemieux was placed on IR to make room for a callup.

The Pens have recalled Tomas Surovy from Wilkes-Barre. He's a guy that has shown a knack for putting the puck in the net. He had 16 goals in 25 games in Wilkes-Barre. I'm not sure that Edzo is very fond of him, but he has said that he thinks Surovy will be able to help out on the power play. If memory serves me correctly, Edzo wasn't fond of Samuelsson either... but evidentally he's a different player now than he was then.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that the Pens will have to play a near perfect game to win. No word on who is in net. Let's hope for Fleury.

Let's go Pens!

1 comment:

Trent said...

If i remember correctly, Surovy had a blistering first call up and i think a strong start the second season, before peetering out each time.

I'd be more than happy with the same performance. Sustained production would be icing on the cake.

Hear, hear for the boy who Lemieux compared to Bondra! (As he was comparing Beech to Oates.)

The only good thing about tonight's game is the excitement i had last time the Pens played Detroit. (That would be Fleury's head turning professional debut. Let's hope for a repeat performance!)