Thursday, March 05, 2009

Penguins 4, Panthers 1

The game tonight was a great example of what the Penguins are capable of when they're on their game. The Panthers simply don't have the firepower to match up with the Pens when all the signals are set to green.

It looked like Vokoun might steal the game for the Panthers for the first two periods. The only gaffe was the breakaway by Crosby. Then the third period arrived. The first Kennedy goal and the Letang goal were both shots that Vokoun had a good look at. Unfortunately he was down a bit early, and maybe a bit off of his angle, and both were able to pick the top corner. That's great shooting by the Pens, but also not the best goaltending by Vokoun.

Fleury had to withstand an early storm and then make a few key saves. He was able to keep things scoreless and then keep the Pens in the lead in the third.

The most encouraging thing that we saw tonight was the explosion of speed that Sid showed when he split the (slow) defense and beat Vokoun just 24 seconds after the Panthers had notched the first goal of the night.

I know that Guerin had 5 shots, but I didn't really notice him all that much, except for the Crosby pass he clearly wasn't ready for in the first period. I think that will come with time as he adjusts to playing with Sid. A guy like Guerin has to be salivating at the thought of getting the puck delivered to him in prime scoring areas.

The other encouraging thing to take from tonight was that the third period didn't turn into a shooting gallery like the Pens have been allowing. They had to withstand a few decent stretches by the Panthers, but largely they controlled the play. That, to me, is the biggest step they'll have to make to be successful going into the playoffs (especially against the better teams that have more firepower).

Great to see the Pens earn two big points on the road. They have 74 points, along with the Panthers and Rangers. The Habs have 75 and the Flyers have 78. Don't look now, but the 4th spot isn't out of the question if they team keeps playing well!

Next up: A few days off to ponder how much it sucks to see O-Face celebrate the birth of his first child every time he scores a goal. It's the Caps on Sunday.

No comments: