Sunday, February 15, 2009

Maple Leafs 6, Penguins 2

Through two period last night, you probably thought something along the lines of:
"Wow - getting outplayed on the road, but hanging on. Survived a rough second period and Fleury is standing on his head. Maybe we can get two points of out this!"

Then the third period started. And Jason Blake did what he always seems to do - he proceeded to kill the Penguins. Two goals in 19 seconds turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit just over a minute into the third. The game was over right there. The Pens just didn't have it, and they weren't going to find it.

Both of the Blake goals were bad, bad coverage in the defensive zone. The Leafs jumped the Pens defense, causing turnovers that the Leafs converted into goals.

I don't know what the problem is. I don't remember these guys having this much trouble last year in their own end, and the cast of characters on the blue line is basically the same as late last year (with the exception of Eaton).

Fleury played really well for two periods. He kept the Pens in the lead when the Leafs had at least a half-dozen golden scoring chances. He had no chance against Blake or on the dumb-luck Antropov goal that followed (it was nice hand-eye coordination by Antropov, but he batted a puck out of midair with his stick - that usually isn't an effective goal scoring technique).

Gonchar, in his first game back, played well. He had just over 20:00 of ice time, was only a -1 for the game, and had four shots. You could see the difference he'll make on the power play. He gets shots off from the point and they are pretty accurate.

The team is in trouble in terms of the playoffs right now. They're 5 points out of the 8th spot, but there is still time. They just need to get the ship righted and get going. With Sarge's return, this will hopefully be a bit easier.

Next up: President's Day matchup. Long Island. No Jason Blake.

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