Sunday, November 30, 2008

Penguins 4, Devils 1

Nice bounce-back win for the Pens tonight.

No doubt that the Devils were a depleted team. They were missing Brodeur (obviously), Rolston, Holik and Greene. Madden sat out of the game with a sore foot as well. Those losses will take something out of every team.

This game, however, was really the Sidney Crosby Show.

He fired a spin-o-rama backhand shot that somehow found it's way in early in the first period. To me, that was just a bad goal by Clemmensen more than it was a spectacular goal by Sid, but it looked good.

In the second, Sid tossed a saucer pass over the stick of Mighty Mouse where Sykora could just tap it into the open net. He also took a rebound of a diving effort by Geno and deposited it behind the Jersey netminder.

He finished things off with an empty net goal for the hat trick.

The Devils weren't all that competitive in this one. They did manage some pressure in the third, but Sabu stopped 29 of 30 shots and wasn't one of the three stars for the night (still a good game for Sabu).

Nice home win over a divisional opponent. Especially nice that it was in regulation. Those types seem to be scarce for the Pens this year.

Next up: Off until Wednesday, and then it's three road games in four nights, starting at MSG.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sabres 4, Penguins 3

This was a back and forth game, and the Pens just didn't have it in the third period.

They started the last 20 minutes with a one goal lead on a two-man advantage. They managed one or two decent shots on that power play, and the Sabres fed off of the momentum of the kill, never looking back.

The Sabres earned their luck in the third with hard work and determination. The Pens had no answer.

That, and Paul Frickin Gaustad scored his only two goals of the season tonight. That's like Mike Rupp scoring against the Pens for the Flyers (I'm typing this solely from memory, but I seem to remember him contributing). It shouldn't happen, but the Sabres flat out beat the Pens in the third.

Nice goals up to that point from Sid and Kennedy. Curry was pretty good too, but you can only say so much about a goalie that allows four goals in a game. The loss wasn't his fault, but he didn't win the game either.

Next up: Another game tomorrow night against the Devils. As much fun as the game tonight was, get ready for sleeper-ville tomorrow... sometimes the Devils make the Wild look exciting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Penguins 5, Islanders 3

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Quick recap, seeing as how most people are with their friends and family today, pigging out.

The Pens gave us an early holiday treat last night with five unanswered goals to earn the two points against the Islanders.

The Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead, with the Pens not having much jump of any kind. The early power play did look improved, but there were no results as the Isles dominated the early play.

The Pens broke through at the end of the second with a lucky deflection of a Brooks Orpik shot, which appeared to deflect off of the skate of Doug Weight.

In the third, Geno set up Sid for goal #2 and then finished things off himself with the natural hat trick.

Once the freight train started rolling, it wasn't even close. This was a game dominated by Sid and Geno playing on a line together in the third.

Next up: The Sabres on Friday night.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Canucks 3, Penguins 1

Not much to say on this one. I watched it yesterday, but couldn't bring myself to write about it.

Not sure what was going on with the Zebras, but they certainly were on their game yesterday, weren't they?
  • Matt Cooke given a game misconduct for getting jumped the the third man in on the fight.
  • Three pretty blatant non-calls when Crosby, Orpik and Goligoski are all tripped, cross-checked or held near the end of the third period.
  • Van Massenhoven deciding, according to the broadcast, to get things under control by handing out minor penalties to Talbot and O'Brien for talking to each other.
Throwing Cooke out of the game was absolute crap.

That's not why the Pens lost the game, however. They simply could not score. 19 shots on net isn't going to cut it. The power play, while it looked good early, just did not produce. The Pens had 13 shots that missed the net (including a post in the first period on one of the good power plays), and the Canucks blocked another 16 shots. The Pens need to find a way to get those shots on net.

Any way you look at it, this one wasn't a big deal. No team can go 82-0, and losing a game like this probably isn't significant.

Next up: A break until Wednesday when the Pens travel to Long Island.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Penguins 3, Thrashers 2

Great road win tonight against an Atlanta team that's better at home than people give them credit for.

The atmosphere was strange tonight. Consider the following:
  • There had to be more offside calls on the end where the Pens shoot twice than I've seen in any game in recent memory. Not sure who the linesman was, but I've never seen two teams be so sloppy entering the offensive zone ONLY on one end of the ice, which is my way of saying the linesman had to be smoking something.
  • Did anyone else hear the announcement of the 50/50 raffle in the third period? I wasn't sure if I was watching a hockey game or a telecast of the local Parish Festival! Who does a raffle that's announced over the PA at a hockey game?
  • There was NO ONE at that game. The end where the Pens shot twice had more empty seats near the ice than filled seats. That's pretty sad.
  • FSN named Sabu the "Player of the Game" before the game was over! That's bad Ju-Ju to me.
  • John Curry (backup goalie) was shown on camera near the end of the game. He looked to be about 15 years old.
The Pens started the game thinking that they're still playing the Wild. They were out of sorts, with several offside calls and no real pressure on Pavelec.

The Pens yielded a power play goal in the first period to Kozlov. The PK hasn't been doing the job recently.

Satan evened the score with some nice hand-eye coordination. He took a hard Dupuis pass on his backhand, turned it to the forehand and punched it behind Pavelec.

Matt Cooke plastered Kozlov, which was excellent. The only problem? Kovalchuk was also nearby. I wish Ilya had been the target.

The Pens had a two man advantage near the midway point of the second. The Pens turned that 1:18 into a shooting gallery, but couldn't beat Pavelec or the goal post.

As soon as the extended power play was over, the Thrashers were the beneficiaries of a tripping call against Boucher. You had the sense of it being a complete game changer if they could score.

The Pens were able to kill the penalty, and less than 30 seconds later, the Pens cashed in. Crosby took a pass from Kennedy and deposited it behind Pavelec while falling down.

About a minute later, Slater took a puck from behind the net, fell down and blindly swept the puck towards the net, taking everyone by surprise and beating Sabu. He wasn't even looking at the net when he shoveled it, but it went in.

The early part of the third was notable for the Pens' game of "Whack a White". In succession, Orpik gave White a good solid check, followed up by Letang absolutely plastering White near the boards. White tried to get up, but wasn't sure what planet he was on. The Thrashers finally decided to come after Letang, and the next shift Kris was on the ice also showcased Eric Godard (just by coincidence, I'm sure).

The intensity picked up a bit after the hit, but the boost was temporary... until Goligoski tried to kill Army with the hip check. He mostly missed, but both teams again picked things up.

The midway portion of the third had some nice end-to-end action with both teams getting decent chances. The spirited play took a brief break for a Thrashers power play.

Sabu was standing tall late in the third when the Thrashers turned up the heat.

The Pens got a late power play chance, which you just knew would make something happen. It almost gave the Thrashers the lead when Reasoner had a breakaway which Sabourin denied.

The Pens got the elusive road power play goal when Sykora tipped a Crosby shot past Pavelec. Great effort by the Pens to finally break through with only two minutes left.

The Thrashers never really threatened in the last two minutes.

Next up: Back to the Igloo for the rare Saturday afternoon game against Vancouver.

Game #19 - at Atlanta Thrashers

Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-3, 25 pts) at Atlanta Thrashers (7-8-2, 16 pts)

At first glance, it would seem this one heavily favors the Pens. The Thrashers suck this year, right? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend." These teams are more similar (lately) than they would appear.
  • Both had extended winning streaks snapped in their most recent game.
  • Both managed to fill the net pretty well during their winning streak.
  • Both average about the same number of shots and goals.
Here's where the differences come into play:
  • Atlanta is much worse defensively. They don't allow many more shots than the Pens, but they sure do allow more goals (3.59 average vs 2.67 average).
  • The Pens power play is horrendous on the road, clicking at just 9.4% - that has to change.
  • The Thrashers have a doofus for a superstar in Ilya Kovalchuk. Said doofus is having a sub par season so far, with just 6 goals in 17 games.
It's a match up of the backups in net, with the Moose for Atlanta and Sabu for the Pens. That a big advantage for the Pens, because Hedberg hasn't been playing well this year.

Game time is 7:00.

Let's Go Pens!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

OT: Monty Python!

After the terribly boring game against the Wild, we could all use something to enliven us.

If you're a fan of Monty Python, then check out this video announcing that much of their content will be available in high quality on YouTube! The site is here.

I'll pick out a few to post here on off days for entertainment.

Wild 2, Penguins 1 (OT - SO - 1-0)

So I sat down to write about this right after the game, but every time I thought about it, I just got bored. This had to be one of the worst hockey games to watch in regulation. When you get excited over Dupuis or Staal coming down the wing and wristing a shot to the net, then you know things are slow.

Overall, Sabourin played a good game. The complete fluke of a Minnesota goal in regulation was unfortunate. Even more so in that it cost the Pens the game. I think the Wild had about three legitimate scoring chances all night. The Pens didn't have many more than that.

The OT, however, was a bit more exciting with more end-to-end action. That's how regulation should be played in the new NHL. If I had to watch the Wild stacking up at the blue line to force the other team to dump the puck 82 times per year, I might gouge my eyes out.

Either way, not a good home loss for the Pens. Nice that they got a point, but not good.

Did anyone else think Staal was going to get killed getting into a fight? Fortunately, the guy he fought wasn't very good. Eric Reitz has fought a few times per season, but not very often. Staal landed the only three punches and both guys went down quickly.

Let's just put this snooze fest behind us.

Next up: The Pens go south to face Atlanta on Thursday night.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Game #18 - vs Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild (10-4-1, 21 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-2, 24 pts)

The club from Minnesota has the least appropriate name in the NHL. There's nothing "Wild" about the way they play. Now, if they called them Zzzzzzz, or mentioned that Insomniacs Anonymous meets at their games (because that's the only way they can finally get some sleep! Ha!), then we'd be onto something.

The Wild scored more goals in the first three games of the season (14) than they did the rest of the month of October (12 goals in 6 games). Their power play is hit or miss (0-10 against Montreal, but four game with more than one PP goal) and their PK is excellent. They've yielded just 4 goals on the PK all year.

For the Pens, Fleury will miss the game. That means Sabu is between the pipes, and John Curry is one injury away from his NHL debut. Sid, Geno and Jordan will all try to remain hot and the Pens will try to keep the goals flowing.

Immovable object meets irresistable force?

Pretty close.

Let's Go Pens!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Penguins acquire D Philippe Boucher

The Pens traded Daryl Sydor back to Dallas today for his third go-round with the Stars.

In return, they acquired Philippe Boucher.

I think this is a fantastic addition for the Pens. I know they're crowded on the blue line, and will become even more so when Whit and Sarge return, but Boucher is pretty good.

Philippe has some size (6'3"), is a year younger than Sydor and can put the puck in the net. He was hurt for much of last season, but he had 35 goals combined in two seasons prior to last year. He's also very familiar with the power play and is used to playing 20:00 per night.

This may take away some playing time from Kris Letang, the other resident right-handed defensemen, or Alex Goligoski, but I think it's an upgrade for the club as it stands today.

Nice move by Ray Shero.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Penguins 5, Sabres 2

The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a slow start to defeat the Buffalo Sabres. They were down by one goal twice during the game, but used four third period goals to beat the visitors. Another great come from behind win. The Pens have to be feeling good about their chances in any game when they enter the third.


Not much doing in the first period.

The Pens went on the power play, and Steigy proceeded to remind us that the Sabres were amazing on the penalty kill (they had only allowed ONE power play goal on the road so far this season). The Pens acted like they knew it, as the Sabres jumped all over anyone with the puck on the side boards. The Pens were unable to work the puck around and make the Sabres chase (which, in my opinion, would loosen them up a bit).

The Sabres struck first with a rebound goal by Pommenville, who was left all alone to the left of Marc-Andre. He was able to lift the puck over Fleury's left shoulder from a bad angle.

The Pens looked much better on their next power play chance at the end of the first / beginning of the second. This time, they were able to work the puck from high to low and get some movement in the offensive zone. It didn't pay off, but it did set the tone for the next power play.

On their next power play, the Pens did a great job of puck possession. It paid off when Malkin took a pass from Goligoski and blew a one-timer past Miller. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement - Miller managed to get an arm on the shot, but it went through and trickled over the goal line for a power play goal.

Late in the second, the Sabres went on the power play. Vanek pushed off on Eaton and took a cross-crease pass, depositing it behind Fleury in one smooth motion. Nice hand-eye coordination, cheap push off.

Early in the third, Godard had a great chance in front of Miller, but couldn't quite get all of the puck and Miller was able to make a nice save.

From that point, things slowed down a bit (as much as end-to-end hockey can ever really slow down).

Sid and Geno teamed up about halfway through the third and generated a quality scoring chance with Sid setting up Fedotenko for a nice chance. Unfortunately it didn't pay off.

Satan drew a penalty and put the Pens on the power play.

Just 30 seconds into the power play, Miller speared Staal right between the legs after a frozen puck. No call by the Clueless Zebras.

It didn't matter, as the Pens ran the "Whitney Play" for the first time this season, with the role of Ryan Whitney played by Alex Goligoski. Sid threw the cross ice pass to Alex who buried the puck into a nearly open net. Tie game.

The third line scored the third goal, giving the Penguins the lead. Cooke took the puck behind the net and sent it out to Staal, who found the back of the net. 3-2 Pens!

Just a few minutes later, Malkin leads a three-on-two break, staring at Sykora all the way. At the last second, he found Fedotenko, who beat Miller. 4-2 Pens!

Staal finished things off with an empty netter.

  • Great effort from the third line tonight. They were everywhere.
  • You could feel Lindy Ruff's pulse increasing as the Pens tied the game and put the Sabres out of their misery.
  • Nice to see a multi-goal game from the power play. That's just the third time this season.
  • Four goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. Wow.
Next up: Things get Wild at the Igloo on Tuesday night. Last home game before the Pens play 9 out of 13 on the road.

Game #17 - vs Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres (9-4-3, 21 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (10-4-2, 22 pts)

What more could you ask for? This is a Saturday night contest between two of the top teams in the East. Both teams like to get up and down the ice and play an entertaining brand of hockey.

Expect Michel Therrien to be emphasizing consistency. The Pens have one of the weakest five game winning streaks in recent memory. Each of the last four games have involved either coming back from multiple goal deficits (Detroit, New York) or blowing big leads (Edmonton, Philly). The power play hasn't been much help lately either.

The Sabres are also struggling, despite their decent record. They've lost three of the past four, including a bad home loss to Columbus last night. Their power play has also vanished over the last three games, and Ryan Miller has been inconsistent. During a recent four game stretch, he allowed 5 goals in the first and last game and recorded two shutouts in the middle two.

Oh yeah - there's some powder blue jersey thing going on tonight as well.

Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Penguins 5, Flyers 4 (OT - SO - 1-0)

The Flyers are dumb. They continue to get Crosby fired up, and Sid continues to burn them. He scored two goals tonight, including the game-tying goal late in the third. You'd think those smart guys would know to leave Sid well enough alone.

The Pens had a 3-0 lead and the Flyers scored four straight to take the lead. I was thinking the Pens may be done at that point, but they found a way to get the two points in the shootout.

Early in the game there wasn't much going on. Both teams feeling each other out. Neither one could do much on the power play.

The line of Kennedy, Staal and Cooke played really well, and it paid off with a nice wrist shot by Cooke that found the back of the net. We also have to give thanks to Biron for sliding off of his angle.

Prior to the start of the second period, Steigy gets back to talking about Tyler Kennedy. I quote:
"That's maybe the one thing we don't give Tyler Kennedy enough credit for. He is a... He's got a lot of little skills. He can move the puck...."
Yes, that's right - it's another reference to "little" with Tyler Kennedy. Take a drink!

Just 1:11 into the second, Geno made the score 2-0 after an extended shift. Fedotenko, Sykora and Malkin had been on for an extended shift and they stayed on as the puck headed towards the offensive zone. It could have backfired had they been caught up ice. The puck, however, wound up being buried.

Just a few minutes later, the Flyers started a penalty parade. The Pens took advantage when Sid went high on the backhand over Biron's left shoulder. Great goal, and great lead. 3-0 Pens.

The Flyers decided to play hockey again when (and it pains me to say this) Jeff Carter had a nice deflection to make the score 3-1.

The Pens went on the power play when Scott Hartnell continued his fine tradition of absolutely STUPID penalties. That turned out to be part of the Flyers secret strategy, as the Gagne blocked a Goligoski shot and beat both Alex and Geno down the ice. Flower went for the poke check on Simon, but missed. 3-2 Pens after Gagne buried it on the backhand.

Max Talbot took a penalty, but I don't think we were ever told what he did. the Flyers power play seemed to last forever. The Pens did an excellent job killing the penalty.

Max came out of the box and had a near-breakaway, drawing the penalty. He did get a shot off behind his back with the stick between his own legs. Pretty amazing shot.

Coburn used the free hand on Malkin during the power play. The Zebras didn't want to put the Pens on the two-man advantage, so there was no call. Just a bit later, Gagne notched another shorty.

Two short-handed goals allowed in one period is pretty sad. HCMT had to be burning up inside.

Eaton took a penalty with only a minute left in the period (Upshall earned a 9.7 for his tumbling skills) and Carle promptly hit the crossbar. Lucky (for the Pens).

The Flyers cashed in when the puck deflected and floated over Fleury. The Flyers had come all the way back and taken the lead. Horrible second period to be certain. The good news is that it was only a one goal game going to the third.

Fleury was yanked to start the third period. Therrien was looking to shake things up in my opinion, because while Fleury could have stopped Gagne's second goal, but I can't see that the other ones were his fault.

The third period started out kind of sleepy. Things were gummed up, and the Flyers were (mostly) on good behavior.

HCMT tried to get things goin near the halfway point by pairing up Sid and Geno again. Didn't help.

Therrien continued to shorted the bench, putting Staal with Sykora and Satan.

Carter took a cheap hit on Malkin near the boards. Geno's leg bent awkwardly underneath him. Carter's head needs to be bent awkwardly.

Lupul took a penalty, putting the Pens on the power play with about 8:00 remaining.

The Pens were screwing around with the puck too much on the power play. Patience is good, but at some point you have to get the puck to the net. Biron is not that good, but he'll be amazing if you don't shoot.

Is anyone else getting really tired of seeing the obstruction that occurs when one defense has the puck and the other one wanders in front of the pursuing forward like a member of a grazing herd of cattle? The Flyers are annoyingly professional at it. Of course, it might not be that much of an act since many of their defensemen are slower than molasses.

Sid took advantage of a fortunate bounce from behind the net and blew the puck past Biron. Tie game!

The game was going to overtime.

Did I mention the Flyers are morons?

Sid almost brought the house down on a rush up the left side, blowing past Carle and nearly beating Biron, who made a nice save.

Geno almost did the same with a nifty deflection that didn't get past Biron.

In the last minute, Carle coughed up the puck deep in his own corner, Malkin took advantage and again nearly beat Biron.

Richards almost scored with less than 10 seconds left in OT, but he hit the side of the net.

It was time for the shootout.

Biron has allowed goals on both shootout attempts he faced this season.

Sykora was up first. Biron broke his streak of allowing goals.

Sabu poke-checked Gagne, which was lucky since he (Sabu) was in the process of falling over.

Letang also missed.

Sabu again looked bad, falling over, but reached back to make an insane save on Richards.

Crosby had the puck fall off of his stick.

Carter couldn't do it either.

Malkin tried the backhand and just couldn't get the puck on the net.

Timmonen hit the post.

Satan had Biron beat, but Marty was able to do the last-chance poke-check.

Lupul tried five-hole and Sabu said no.

Goligoski tried his first shootout in the NHL, and he beat Biron. Great move by Goligoski.

Hartnell never had a chance, but his comical game-losing attempt was significant in that it's the only one that I've ever seen where the skater (Scotty-not-so-hottie) ran over the goalie. It was typical, but it didn't matter, as the Pens had won the game.

Great job getting the late goal and winning in the shootout.

Next up: Third jersey time on Saturday night against the Sabres.

Game #16 - vs Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers (5-6-3, 13 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (9-4-2, 20 pts)

For my money, this is a bigger game than the matchup against Detroit on Tuesday. Here's why:
  • The Flyers are the Pens' biggest rival.
  • It's a divisional game, so the effect of the points is magnified.
  • You just love to see a cheap team lose, and you really hate it if they win.
The Flyers have been able to score goals this year, and their power play is strong. Sadly, as good as they are in those areas, their defense is just a porous. They're Goals Against and PK are both 24th in the league. The Pens need to take advantage of that.

It won't matter who is in net for our friends from across the state, because neither one has been very good this year. You have to wonder who will go for the Pens in net. Will Therrien put Flower right back in there to show that allowing 6 goals isn't the norm, or will he give Marc-Andre a break and let Sabu and his 1.90 GAA get a shot?

Any way you look at it, this will be a good game, full of intensity and not so nice trash talking. I'm looking forward to it.

Let's Go Pens!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Penguins 7, Red Wings 6 (OT)

Wow.  Just wow.

What else can you say about the way this game ended?

This is the kind of action and environment that can revitalize the NHL.

The Pens were down 5-2 after Zetterberg scored with about 15 minutes left in the game.  From that point forward, the Pens simply kept on coming.

Malkin kicked things off by managing the Pens' only goal on the power play (the Wings scored three).  That made the score 5-3.

Staal scored his first to cut it to 5-4, but then Hudler blasted one past Flower to make it 6-4.  At that point, I was thinking that it was a nice comeback, but they were probably done.

I was completely wrong.

Jordan Staal scored twice more in the third, the last one with 23 seconds left to tie the game and send it to OT.

At that point, I was grateful the Pens managed to get a point out of this after being down 5-2 in the third.

The Pens were done yet, and even though they couldn't score on a power play through almost the first two minutes of the OT, they were able to get the game winner when Fedotenko buried it past a sprawling Osgood.  The assist?  Yep - Jordan Staal.

Wow - you can't say much more about a game like this one, at least with the third period and OT.

How nice is it to look at the box score and see that the Red Wings' superstars were all at least a -2?  That includes Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Rafalski, Franzen, Lidstrom and... oh yeah... some guy named Hossa.

Makes you a bit anxious to see the rematch at the Igloo, no?  That will take place on Sunday, February 8th.

Great win for Pens tonight.  Will be nice to see if this propels them to better hockey.

Next up:  Those lovely boys from Philly come to town again on Thursday night.  Can't afford a letdown!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Game #15 - at Detroit Red Wings

Pittsburgh Penguins (8-4-2, 18 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (9-2-2, 20 pts)

Forget the hype. This will be a good hockey game.

Detroit is a well rounded team this season. They have the top power play in the NHL right now, at just over 30%. They really don't draw that many penalties (they're 26th in the NHL in overall power play chances), but even with that, they lead the NHL in shots. That tells me that they're effective at generating offense at even strength.

For the Pens, their power play has largely deserted them in recent weeks. At the same time, the PK has stepped up and done the job. That will be tough against the Red Wings.

Much has been made of Hossa going to Detroit. Marian has picked it up even more this year. He has 17 points (8 + 9) and is a +9. That's solid.

Ty Conklin has also played well as the #2 goalie. If When Osgood gets hurt, Ty can fill in, as we saw here last year.

Franzen has been hurt. He's looking to return for this one. Lovely.

The Pens will need to play a disciplined road game. Don't take dumb penalties and keep the shots to the outside. If they let the Red Wings play their possession game, the Pens will be in trouble.

Let's Go Pens!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Penguins 4, Islanders 3 (OT - SO - 1-0)

The Pens were very lucky to get out of Long Island with one point, much less two.

A few things right off of the bat:
  1. The ice was horrible at the Coliseum. I saw more pucks jump over sticks and more players wipe out in ruts (especially in the third) than I can remember in any other game recently.
  2. The last save on the shootout by Sabu was another weird one - the puck was inside of his left pad, near the knee. This was the only part of him that didn't wind up in the net. Great work by Sabu.
  3. The Islanders had this game won, and they blew it in the third by being out shot 18-1 (and it wasn't that close)
The Islanders were the better and sharper team through two periods. The Pens were the victim of their own incompetence in allowing the Isles to score twice in the second, especially considering they had four power play chances.

The main reasons the Pens were still in the game going to the third were Kennedy, Staal and Sabu. TK teamed up with Ziggo on a nice passing play, putting the puck into an empty net. Staal had a great individual effort, taking advantage of bad ice. Sabu made several key saves to keep the score close.

Once the third period arrived, the Pens turned the Islanders zone into a shooting gallery, notching 18 shots and finally managing to tie the game on a nice Kennedy redirect of a Goligoski shot.

The shootout was all Sykora and Sabu. Sykora beat MacDonald with a similar move to what Staal had done earlier (last second backhand, put up high). Sabu made three key saves and won it for the Pens.

Malkin took a shot off of the hand / wrist and didn't come back until 5:00 had gone by in the second period. Hope he's okay. He did play the remainder of the game.

Next up: It's a biggie - at Detroit on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Malkin is much older than we thought!

They can't afford the proofreaders north of the border, eh?

Here's the original article, written by the Calgary Herald.

I may have a post coming about said article, which talks about the new injury policy in the NHL. It's a bit on the whiny side, but it's classic for the way they structured the story. Basically, they had Jason Arnott call Adrian Aucoin a "retard".

Game #14 - at New York Islanders

Pittsburgh Penguins (7-4-2, 16 pts) at New York Islanders (4-8-1, 9 pts)

Let's get one thing out in the open: the Islanders suck right now. They're tied with Florida for the fewest points in the East. They have a nice road win over the Rangers, but other than that, the nicest thing you can say is that the last five games were one-goal affairs.

The Pens aren't exactly firing on all cylinders these days either. After a fairly miserable road trip where they dropped three out of four, they returned home and almost squandered a five-goal lead. They need to get the consistency back in their game.

The Islanders take more penalties than the Pens do currently, but they've also scored 6 shorties in the first 13 games. That's something to watch out for after Souray put a shorty behind Flower on Thursday.

DiPietro and Witt are both hurt and won't play. I won't miss Witt in the least. Doug Weight is also listed as day-to-day. On the Pens' side, Sid might miss the game, as he left practice early on Friday. My gut says he'll play, but you never know - he might want to be ready for the big Tuesday showdown with the Red Wings.

The Pens need to win these road games against weaker opponents.

Let's Go Pens!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Satan's double five hole goal

This is Miroslav's first goal from the game against the Oilers. It's not the easiest to see at this angle, but if you watch closely, you can see him take the puck between his legs and then beat Garon between the legs of the goalie (hence the double five hole name)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Penguins 5, Oilers 4

This would have qualified as the Loss of the Year had the Oilers completed their comeback.  Fortunately for us, they didn't.

The Pens built a 5-0 lead on some timely scoring and excellent goaltending.  The Oilers fell behind largely due to Garon's inability to keep the puck out of the net.  He left with the Oilers trailing 5-0.  The Oilers brought in their backup of the night, Drouin-Deslauriers (possibly the longest last name of any goalie), who proceeded to shut the door.

The Oilers got one goal late in the second to make it 5-1 going to the third period.  The next three goals in the third were all either great individual efforts (Hemsky), fluky plays (Gilbert), or both (Souray).  Other than the Hemsky goal, I'm not sure we can fault Fleury for them.

The good news is that even though the Pens had a big lead in the third, and the Oilers were coming back on them, the Pens still managed to out shoot the Oilers.  Of course, when you have 7 minutes of power play time, including two minutes of a two-man advantage, you should register more shots than your opponent.

Most of this game was pretty strange.  It's a good thing the Pens will be able to look back and see a "W".

One last thing - make sure you check out the Satan goal in the highlights.  If I remember I'll post it here.  It was sick.

Next up:  A visit to Long Island on Saturday night

Game #13 - vs Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers (6-5-1, 13 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (6-4-2, 14 pts)

The Pens were able to put some pucks in the net last Saturday (doesn't that seem like months ago?)  Defensively, they held St Louis to just 22 shots.  You would think that for them to win consistently, they need to hold teams to 30 shots or less each night.  At least it would help keep Flower from going nuts due to seeing 40 shots every night.

The Oilers have managed to add some offense as well, notching nine goals in the past two games.  They've also allowed the same number over the same period.  Probably not what they're looking for.

The Oilers have played twice since the Pens last played, and they're in the middle of a seven game road trip.  This is one that the Pens should win, even though the Oilers aren't bad so far this year.

One of my favorite players to hate, Sheldon Souray, plays for the Oilers.  He has a nasty shot, and has a propensity to deliver borderline hits.  Keep your head up, Geno!

Let's Go Pens!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Big Day - 11/4/08

No matter your political persuasion, make sure you get out and vote on Election Day!

Penguins 6, Blues 3

Just a placeholder. I only saw the third period, but it was exciting.

The good news is that all of the real life activities that have been taking up my time are over, so I'll be back to a more timely posting routine.

The Pens are off until Thursday when Edmonton comes to town.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Game #12 - at St Louis Blues

Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-2, 12 pts) at St Louis Blues (5-4-0, 10 pts)

Both of these teams are struggling right now.  The Pens have lost three in a row, while the Blues have lost three of the past four.

The formula to stopping the Blues this year is pretty simple - keep their power play in check.  When they score two or more on the power play, they are 4-1.  When they score fewer than two, they are 1-3.

Stopping them will not be easy.  The Pens' PK is improved over last year to this point (86% kill rate), but the Blues are insane on the power play so far this year, with a 31% scoring rate.

Keeping the Blues off of the power play is paramount this evening.  That's not good news for the Pens, because they have been taking some penalties while out on the road.

No word on whether Sid is going to play - it will depend on the morning skate.  That in and of itself is a good sign, because if the injury was severe, they wouldn't be considering it.

Looking forward to seeing a better effort tonight.  Heck, I'm looking forward to actually seeing an entire game...

Let's Go Pens!