Saturday, May 23, 2009

Penguins 6, Hurricanes 2

The game sure didn't start well. Matt Cullen scored on a tip-in, and you had some of that sinking feeling. Fortunately, it didn't take long at all to turn things around.

On the power play, Geno stole the puck from Gleason (who couldn't clear it cleanly) and walked in alone on Cam Ward. Ward had no chance and the game was tied at 1-1.

It stayed that way until less than one minute was left in the first, when the Pens struck quickly with goals from Sid and Geno (again) just 31 seconds apart.

The importance of those two goals cannot be understated. Given their timing, in the last minute of the period, they sunk the series for the Canes. Instead of going into the locker room knotted at 1-1 with a battle on their hands, the Canes went in deflated and down two goals. It was a great thing to watch as a Pens' fan.

The Canes made it interesting by having Cam Ward keep them in the game until they made it 3-2 less than two minutes into the third period.

Ward couldn't keep the Pens out forever, and when Fedotenko created a 3 on 2 by beating the Canes forwards back down the ice, it was all over. Ruslan took a Geno drop pass, took a step to his left and shot back against the grain over the left shoulder of Ward. That made it 4-2 and essentially ended the game.

The Canes did get a late power play and pulled their goalie, but the Hockey Gods didn't like it, so they arranged for a faceoff just outside of the Pens zone to go all the way down the ice and right into the empty net. Probably the easiest goal Craig Adams ever scored.

The Pens added a meaningless power play goal to make the final score 6-2.

The Pens allowed just 16 shots in building their lead through two periods. If HCDB wants something to focus on, it would be getting out shot 18-9 in the third period. 18 shots is too many to allow in any period.

Chris Kunitz blocked 4 shots from the forward spot. Gonchar had 4 blocks too. The team had 22 (if I counted correctly).

Eric Staal: -3.

Did Jussi Jokinen play tonight? I can't remember seeing him at all.

Tuomo Ruutu was a non-factor in less than 8 minutes of ice time.

Scott Walker managed just one shift after he collided with the boards with some moderate help from Gonchar (that didn't seem to be all that bad).

For the Pens, every forward skated at least 10 minutes. That kind of balance is huge, considering they're going with only 11 forwards. It also saves the strength of the defense for withstanding the charge late in games.

The big thing here is that the Pens finish off the Canes while they have the chance. Tuesday night they have a chance to make Tim Gleason eat his words (he said this wouldn't be a four game series after Game 2).

Next up: Finish it. Tuesday night.

No comments: