Thursday, February 10, 2011

Penguins 2, Kings 1 (OT)

So what happened?
Jordan Staal was exhausted. He came onto the ice with 2:21 remaining in OT. His shift was due to change when the Pens iced the puck with 0:54 left in the game. HCDB was concerned, so he called timeout. That gave Staal and Dupuis (also on the ice, along with Letang and Martin) time to breathe.

After the timeout, the Pens got the puck out and worked it down the ice. After a Jack Johnson turnover, Staal had what seemed like his 37th good scoring chance, and he buried this one, with just 0:19 remaining in OT.

It was the type of shift the Pens were hoping to get from Staal in the absence of Sid and Geno.

The Pens brought the heart and desire tonight. They were certainly outgunned against the Kings, but they didn't let that stop them. Four lines rolled, and everyone (except Jeffrey, who got hurt) played over 10 minutes. That's terrific, especially when you consider it was the first NHL action of the season for all four of the Wilkes-Barre players.

This was a great way to earn two points.

Who scored?
Sterling (1), Staal (4)

The Good?
  • Sterling has the offensive instincts, doesn't he? His goal was a great shot.
  • The defense, especially Michalek, stepped it up big time. The Pens could not afford breakdowns and lapses, and they really didn't have any. The Kings nearly had a few odd-man rushes, but the Pens always shut them down.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury was also great. He made every save you'd want him to.
  • Jordan Staal played like a #1 center.
  • The Pens were able to weather the storm and counter the momentum in the second period, which is good since I think the Kings would have blown things open had they kept going like they were in the first.
The Bad?
  • Nothing really - a few dumb penalties to take in the first period that help put the team behind the 8-ball.
The Ugly?
  • The Clueless Zebras decided that nothing would be called for the last five minutes of the third period. The result was essentially a free-for-all kind of melee. One of my least favorite phrases is "let the players decide", because it is a complete cop out on the part of the refs when it comes to doing their jobs.
Any Surprises?
  • The four guys from Wilkes-Barre - who would have thought they'd all play this well in their debut? Certainly you hope things go this well, but I don't think anyone expected 10+ minutes and a big goal.
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 35-17-4. They have 74 points and are still three points behind the Flyers for first place. The Flyers won tonight over the Canes and also (through the magic of NHL scheduling) have two games-in-hand over the Pens again.

Who's next?
The newbies need to get some rest because they're back at it tomorrow night against the Islanders.

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