Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Penguins 3, Panthers 2

Great win for the Pens to come back from a 2-0 deficit at the beginning of the third period. They're now tied with the Devils for the divsion lead. The Habs and Sens are ahead of the Pens in the conference.

Malkin is in front of Ovechkin for the league lead in scoring. That's awesome.

First period:

The Pens came out hopping, with each of the first two lines getting a good scoring chance. Then Orpik took a penalty.

No problem, however, as the Pens killed the penalty. Olli missed the net on a great chance (deep breath).

Malkin made Jokinen look like a merry-go-round on a rush. It resulted in a nice scoring chance.

The Pens go on the power play after Army is held. Nothing doing, but a few nice chances.

The Pens put the Panthers back on the power play. Whitney tries to go up the middle on an exit pass, but ends up handing the puck right to a Panther in front of the net. Conklin bailed him out with a great save.

If you're playing the Little Steigy drinking game, Cory Murphy is the latest victim. He's been referred to as "little" twice already tonight.

Staal rang one off of the post... again.

Booth took a great big rebound and buried it in the top of the net. Bad rebound, nice shot.

Kennedy immediately took issue with the goal and starts a fight with Booth. The referees unbelievably called it a roughing penalty and gave Kennedy the extra two for cross-checking.

The Pens killed off three power plays in the first period against a tough Florida unit.

Second period:

Nothing really happened in the early part of the second. The Pens had a power play, but the Panthers put on an exhibition in penalty killing (or the Pens put on an exhibition on how to suck at the power play).

Conklin made a great save on a breakaway by Nathan Horton.

Typing about these power plays is getting to be tedious. I'll summarize for you: Penguins = suck. They simply couldn't get the puck into the offensive zone and set things up. They had to dump every time and the Panthers had a remarkably easy time of clearing the puck.

Oh, the Pens also allowed a short-handed goal on a second breakaway. How is the penalty killing tactic a surprise to the Pens, and how do they not have a strategy to counter it?

Third period:

The Pens take a penalty when Staal knocks down a player in front. They killed off the penalty and then used the end of the penalty to create a 3-on-2. Army took the pass from Malkin and rifled the puck over the glove hand of Vokoun.

The Pens weren't able to do much right after their goal. Errey called out both Sykora and Malkin for diving, saying they were lucky not to get called. Not sure I'm educated enough to have an opinion on that.

The refs then decide that their ego is more important than calling the game fairly, and when Malkin actually IS tripped, he is called for diving. That was embarrassing, more because they also called the trip. If he tripped him, how did he dive? It's the age old question that makes referees everywhere turn red.

The Pens started applying more sustained pressure and you got the feeling that the game tying goal might be just around the corner.

It was. Malkin made a great cross-ice pass to Whitney, who shot the puck at the net. It found it's way in, courtesy of Ryan Malone. Great play by all involved.

Malkin drew another penalty with 1:05 left in regulation. It's almost bigger for the 55 seconds they'd have in overtime.

It turned out not to be needed, as Ryan Malone got his second when Vokoun self-destructed a second time late in the game. I'm not sure if he slammed his stick again, but he should have.

One troubling note - the Pens still can't get extended ice time from their lower line forwards. Laraque, Smith and James all played 7 minutes or less. You have to think the Pens need to roll four lines if they want to compete against the big boys. Getting guys back from injury will obviously help that.

Next up: A trip to Montreal to play the Habs on Thursday night. Should be fun.

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