Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Penguins 6, Canadiens 4

This was a tale of three games. The Pens jumped out to a three goal lead, with goals by Crosby, Endicott (a shorty) and Talbot. The Canadiens stormed back, scoring four straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. The Flightless Birds then found a way to tie the game late in the second and score two in the third. The Habs didn't really threaten after pulling their goalie with almost two minutes left.

The positive here is (obviously) that the Pens got the two points. Their resiliancy was refreshing to see. Many teams would have fallen apart when the Canadiens made their comeback. The Pens stuck to their system and outshot the Habs 30-16 over the final two periods (though the Pens did score three goals on just six shots in the first).

Fleury played a great game. He made several key saves in the third when the team needed them the most. Two, maybe three, of the Hab's goals weren't really ones that he could have stopped.

The most troubling part of the game were the defensive breakdowns that led to the Canadien's goals. The Pens seeem to have a habit of collapsing on the net when someone takes the puck behind. Twice in the last two games, they've been burned by a quick pass out to the slot and an open shot for someone. I feel pretty confident that is something that Therrien can clear up in a hurry.

Crosby scored twice and Ouellet netted two as well. Melichar led all players in ice time at even strength, a sign that Therrien must like the way he's playing. Tarnstrom must have been hurt during the game, as he only logged 7-8 minutes of time. Christensen was the third line center, and did get some time on the power play, though his overall minutes continue to be low. He was the only player on the team at a -2 for the game.

The Pens have a few well deserved days off. They have earned seven out of the last eight possible points available to them, and show real signs of starting to "get it" under Michel Therrien. If they can make some hay in their upcoming home and home against the Thrashers (like earning 3 or 4 points over the two games), then they'll be setting themselves up for a great opportunity in the second half of the season.

2 comments:

Pronovost said...

Sometimes things even out pretty quickly -- when Crosby scored off his skate I thought it was a fitting counter-weight to the Leafs OT goal the night before.

Whitney will learn but there's no reason to make that play near the end of the first period (the one leading to the first Montreal goal).

Bit of a flashback to the Edzo Pens for a good chunk of the second period. The players bunch up at times, like they're still having to think about assignments instead of just reacting. Understandable.

This little run is sooooooooo nice after those first two months.

Trent said...

Agreed. Sooooo nice.

8 out of ten of the past points is impressive. Add 4 from the Atlanta home and away and i might become a believer.

Either way, the team looks good. They're fun to watch. They work hard. And, for the most part, everyone is pitching in. Ouellet and Surovy are the youth offensive force that we need to come up from the minors, something the Pens have had little of in the past few years. (Waivers don't count.) Finally the draftees are developing into NHL players.