Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Penguins 4, Predators 1

The Penguins carried the play for the majority of this one. It was a really encouraging effort because the Preds are the top team in the NHL right now. I know the game was in Pittsburgh, but the way the Pens played, you wouldn't know that Nashville was so good.

The Preds took a lead into the first intermission with a late goal that was originally credited to Brookbank, but later changed to Nichol. It was starting to feel like trouble because the Pens had several power play chances in the first period but weren't able to convert. That changed in the second.

Sidney Crosby took off down the middle of the ice towards Mason, momentarily drawing both defenders. He passed to Staal, who shot a slapper. It deflected off the stick of Brookbank and went top shelf on Mason, who never had a chance.

Later, on the power play, Recchi made a nice pass from behind the cage to Malkin, who buried the puck. Mason didn't have much of a chance there, either.

In the third, Recchi did one of his patented shots aimed at the far post and beat Mason, who probably did have a chance to stop that one, but was unable to, not that it mattered.

The Pens tried to make it exciting down the stretch by taking a few penalties (maybe they were just trying to get the PK some work...), but unlike Sunday, the PK stood tall and kept the Preds from getting back in the game. Another really nice thing to see.

The Pens have remained hot for an extended period. I'm interested in how they react the next time they face some adversity. You know it's coming. They'll lose a game or two in regulation. Then we'll see how they respond. Hopefully we don't have to see that for a little while longer, especially since Philly is the next opponent.

Random points:
  • Fleury was stellar again tonight. He just keeps on going.
  • Ruutu continues to earn an increased role.
  • Has Petro taken a dumb penalty lately? I can't remember any off the top of my head.
  • Is it too soon to shift from talking about making the playoffs to talking about getting into the top 4 to get home ice? I can answer that myself - it's way too soon. They're hot right now. Let's see where they are in about 15 games.

Next up: at Philly on Thursday. No need to worry about a letdown when the Flyers are the opponent.

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