Thursday, November 22, 2007

Penguins 6, Senators 5 (OT - SO - 2-1)

The Pens twice rallied from two goal deficits tonight. They didn't back down, earned their way into OT and got to a shoot out. Each time you thought the team was done, they found a way to stay alive for another chance. Think about these parts of the game:
  • The Sens go up 2-0 and Fleury is pulled. The Pens rally to take the lead 3-2.
  • The Sens score three in a row to take the lead 5-3. The Pens rally to tie the game at 5.
  • The Sens threaten late in OT with a 2 on 1 and Eaton makes two great defensive plays.
  • The Sens score on their first shoot out attempt (Spezza got his first SO goal in his career), but Sabourin doesn't allow another one (the Sens hit two posts).
We haven't seen this kind of determination paired with execution all season. The Pens simply wouldn't stop, and tonight things finally went well for them.

One particular play from tonight stands out - Gonchar's goal. We were talking with Hoss last night while watching the Pens lose to the Devils, and he (Hoss) commented that Gonchar seems really reluctant to jump into the play in the 5-on-5. Sarge must have felt the psychic vibes, because jumping into the play is EXACTLY what he did, scoring on a one-timer from a great feed by Army.

Several guys had good games tonight, especially some of the secondary players like Malone and Armstrong. Kennedy had another one of his turning goals that seem to take goalies by surprise. I think that could wind up being the 2007 version of the Christensen wrist shot (though it's not quite as easy to get off).

I'm reminded of the game last year against the Capitals where the Pens were down 4-0 and battled back to win the game in a shoot out. That win turned around a middling season and got the Pens going in the right direction. Let's hope this one can do the same.

Great win, and even nicer considering it was the top team in the NHL they beat.

Next up: Iyla Kovalchuk and the Thrashers come to town on Saturday.

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