Friday, December 16, 2005

Sabres 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

It was an improved effort. It was an improved comeback. It wasn't an improved result.

The Penguins seemed to regain some of the resiliency they had earlier in the season in coming back from deficits against a team that is used to protecting them.

There were a lot of positives that could be taken from this game. Fleury was good, the effort was there, the line of Hussey, Surovy and Malone generated some offense (or at least possessed the puck)... but I'm not interested in talking about positives. The only positive that matters right now is a win. This team doesn't need any more moral victories. Yes, it is good that they got a point, but they need two points every game for several games in a row.

There were some interesting changes. Crosby was playing on the penalty kill. Christensen received extensive time on the power play. Ouellet played a big role on the power play AND on the penalty kill. Jackman was a healthy scratch. Boguniecki was also a scratch - that was a bit of a surprise.

Other changes include the activation of Andre Roy and Ryan VandenBussche clearing waivers and being sent to Wilkes-Barre. Roy received less than 5 minutes of ice time.

It will be interesting to read what Therrien had to say about the game. It will be even more interesting to see if he institutes any changes for tomorrow night. The man isn't used to losing this season.

I have a feeling we might see Thibault in net tomorrow, given that the game is less than 24 hours away. Let's hope the team keeps up the solid effort and this time has something to show for it.


Will said...

Well like you said Pat, it was a good effort but not getting the two points stings. Although I wonder if the Pens come back at all if Edzo is still behind the bench? I saw a few things last game that the Pens have been lacking all season like the Backcheck and energy all game long. I also like the fact that they looked good on the PP...they have not scored 2 goals on the PP for a while. Also, I have to say that Mark Recchi is really a good player. I mean for someone a little older than most guys on the ice he playes with a lot of heart and energy.

On a side note, was anyone at the game? Only reason I ask is becuas on TV it sounded like the crowd was in the game from the beginning. I mean they were on their feet for fast breaks ohhing and ahhing at close shots...I even heard a "Let's GO Pens!" chant MORE than once! It was nice to see everyone so excited.

Trent said...

It's funny, you guys get all hot and bothered because of past improvement under Olczyk despite a 3-0 score but a completely transformed team earning a tie under a new coach is something to complain about.

I thought the game was phenomenal. The Pens were hitting everything that moved. They were getting the majority of the 50/50 pucks. Everyone was making the second, third and fourth efforts. The PP looked like a PP. They totally controlled the last half of the third period. The third goal was the hardest fought goal all season.

As for changes, i think giving Crosby the A is great. (It will cut down on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties...) He's back at center where he should be, in between Mario and Palffy. He's on the PK. I think Recchi and Christensen and anyone is a great second line.

Malone scored and actually sweat a bit. Gonchar actually made an effort. If Therrian can get those two going, that's a HUGE addition to the team. If Ouellet and Surovy can acheive half of what they achieved in WB, that's a lot of offensive contribution to add into the mix.

Sure, the team took too many penalties. They made defensive gaffes, some of which were terrible. But it's only been 2 days. Those things will improve.

The Pens have not been a bad team, they've been an underacheiving team that has shown little effort. Last night i saw a talented team that worked its butt off and showed some bite. That will win hockey games.

And there's no chance that Therrian is going to let anyone on the team get away with a half effort again.