Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Panthers 5, Penguins 3

For some reason, the Panther always takes care of the Penguin. Maybe it's because all the Penguin can manage is a slow waddle, and when there's no water in sight to hide in, the Panther devours the Penguin quickly and easily.

That's the way things seemed tonight. Fleury didn't have a good night, and no one really wanted to play in the first besides Sidney Crosby. After the Panthers jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second period, the tide began to turn. However, I think it largely began to turn because the Panthers started to stay back and force the Penguins to play perfect hockey in order to score.

Congratulations to John Leclair on scoring his 400th goal in the NHL, just the 7th American to score 400. When that happened, late in the second, it looked like the Penguins might be gearing up for another comeback. However, other than a few flashes by Sidney's line (Armstrong and Hilbert with him), most of the Penguin's shots were of the "fire from 40 feet" variety, and relatively easy for Luongo to stop. When the Pens did manage to get some traffic in front and get the puck to the front of the net, they were successful. That was how both Hilbert and Koltsov's goals were scored. Unfortunately, the Penguins were really never back into the game. If they had managed to pull within one, I felt like they might get the energy to get them over the hump. It didn't happen.

Same story, different day.

Noah Welch will most likely be headed back to Wilkes-Barre for the remainder of the season, since his callup was an emergency one to replace Cairns. He showed a ton while he was here, so hopefully he'll get the chance to prove he wasn't just a flash in the pan next year. Between he and Whitney, the Pens have a pair of great young defensemen who can fire the puck and play physical (in Welch's case) and carry the puck up the ice and dish it off with the best of them (in Whitney's case). The future's so bright...

Next up is a trip to Long Island and yet another matchup with the Dark Lord himself. Say a prayer for the players in white!

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