Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Maple Leafs 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

Another day, another good effort, another loss.

The Pens actually scored the first goal tonight, something they haven't done with any regularity so far this year. The Leafs then scored twice, with Sundin's goal being a pinball shot off of a Pens stick and off of Odelein's arm and into the net. Sidney Crosby had another fantastic individual effort to setup Ouellet for a goal to tie the score. The Pens then couldn't capitalize on an extended 5 on 3 power play. They honestly looked good on the power play during the 5 on 3, but couldn't get the puck in the net.

Overall, I'd say the team is continuing to improve. The game winning goal for the Leafs came on a defensive breakdown by the Pens, but that was caused more by the fact that Mats Sundin had the puck and drew two players to him. Fleury made several huge saves to keep the Pens in the game. The thing that killed them was that they couldn't score on the power play to get the lead.

A few interesting notes -
  • Do you know who led the team in minutes played at even strength? Gonchar and Crosby were second and third... it was Tomas Surovy. You could see that he was quite tired by the end of the game.
  • Boguniecki started to get more ice time in the third period, seemingly impressing Michel Therrien with his hustle and hitting.
  • For the most part, I didn't notice Melichar, which is to say that he probably played a good game.
  • Odelein isn't playing on the power play right now. More surprisingly, neither is Ryan Malone.
Next game is Thursday at home against the Devils.


Trent said...

That game was singlehandedly lost by Tarnstrom. He looked like a rookie defensemen out there and his appalling gaff led to one of the Leaf's goals. (And i think he was part of the other one, too.) It was as if he didn't know what sport he was playing.

And i'm normally a Tarnstrom fan.

It was a thrilling game, without question. But I think it's time to start talking about the draft. Crosby, Fleury, Malkin and Kessel. Let's hear it!

btw - Who's better? Fleury or Crosby? I'm leaning towards the former. Either way, the future looks unbelievably bright, assuming it includes an arena.

Jim said...

Having seen very little hockey this year, I've been able to take in the past couple of Penguin games...couple observations.

While Sid's talent and vision in open ice has been well documented, I've been pleasantly surprised by his fantastic work within 2 feet of the wall. An 18 yr old Petr Nedved/Markus Naslund he ain't. He's strong on his feet, tenacious, and he wins one on one battles. (Illustrated by his play behind the net that led to the tying goal against the leafs...)

While the forwards on the powerplay work the puck pretty well down low, I've been disappointed with the creativity and production shown by the blueliners on the powerplay. [Haven't seen enough of him, but what's the consensus on Sergei Gonchar? Seemed like the answer when he was signed this summer...] . After noticing Jackman take a hurried, bad angled point shot (with no traffic in front) on an early powerplay Friday night against the Flyers, he couldn't seem to find the net on the 5 on 3 powerplay in the third period against the Leafs. Disappointing.

Phil Kessel as the answer!? We wish. With the talent the Penguins have, it's a crying shame that the talk this time of year has turned towards the lottery and not the forthcoming playoffs, even with exceedingly average goaltending.