Monday, May 18, 2009

Penguins 3, Hurricanes 2

Neither team looked to be at their best tonight. The Pens and Canes both had breakdowns at bad times. The difference in this game? Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Pens were handed two power plays early in the first and we quickly found out why Carolina has a 90% kill ratio on the power play - they were all over the Pens. It's like their sticks were glued to the guys in black.

Miro Satan received a even-up holding call after the Pens two power plays, but the Hockey Gods were watching. Faster than you can say "horsecrap call", the penalty was over and Satan was sprung on a breakaway. Miro knows how to finish and he made Cam Ward look really slow, depositing an easy backhand after a shot fake that not only froze Ward, but also turned him into an Ent.

The Pens capitalized on their newly found momentum, buzzing like flies around honey. Geno made it 2-0 with a backhand flick that went right over the right pad of Ward.

The Canes made a game of it by coming on strong in the second. Fleury made several key saves and the Pens went into the third on top 2-1.

Boucher added a timely power play goal in the third, which was needed when the Canes were able to score late.

A few things that stood out to me:
  • The elbowing penalty to Orpik, while not being replayed on TV (Versus sucks), seemed to be flagrant enough to warrant a penalty. That's a really bad spot to even try something risky, and Orpik needs to be more in control there.
  • Both teams had defensive breakdowns - the Pens had three clean breakaways, which is unheard of in the playoffs, and the Canes were able to keep the Pens hemmed in their own zone for long periods in the second. Both will need to be corrected.
  • Fleury is the reason the Pens took Game 1.
  • Ward is the reason the Canes lost it - he made several big saves, but Malkin and Boucher's goals were what you could call "soft".
  • The Pens need to clean up their sloppy play in their own zone, or they'll be in trouble soon.
Great to get off on the right foot. The Pens need to hold serve and win Game 2.

Next up: Two nights for Gonchar to rest that knee. Game 2 is Thursday night at the Igloo.

No comments: