Last night was a great game. The Pens did what they needed to do to get the win in an extremely tough place to play. The Hurricanes had lost only four home games all year until last night.
The Pens kept the pressure on all evening. They scored first, on a goal by Boguniecki. Every time the Hurricanes tied the game, the Pens were able to come up with an answer to take the lead again. The Penguins scoring (and their success tonight) was the result of hard work. This the kind of effort and hustle that the team needs to show every game.
When the Hurricanes scored with .3 seconds left in the first, all I could think was "here we go again...", but the Pens came out in the second and scored quickly to put things back in their favor. That's when you knew that they had a chance.
Of course, the refs had to have something to say about the outcome. The call that put the Canes up by two men late in the third was justified - Jackman certainly interferred with Justin Williams trying to get to the puck. However, the first call on Whitney (hooking) was awfully weak. The ref didn't even put up his arm until after he saw that Staal didn't score. I'm not sure that Whitney ever touched him with his stick. While I'm talking about the refs, does it seem to anyone else that they're allowing the play where the defensemen impairs the progress of the forechecking forward while his partner goes for the puck? I could have sworn I saw that a few times last night with no call.
Anyway, I was really impressed by the play of Ryan Whitney (and Ric Jackman to a lesser extent). Whitney is really starting to play like a top player on the blue line. He'll be one to watch for next year. Even Jackman seemed to be getting smarter about getting off his shots on the power play, skating laterally to open up shooting lanes instead of just standing back there and blasting it. It will be fun to watch these guys develop.
Wow. Skip the preview... the Pens win. Looks like I'll try my luck again today by skipping the preview for the game tonight against the Caps.
Let's go Pens!