The Pens blew a 4-0 lead in the last 23 minutes of the game. Fortunately for them, they never relinquished the lead, which is good, because with the momentum the Wings had, I don't think the Pens would have been able to rally.
James Neal was the hero tonight, putting the Red Wings away with the deciding goal in the shootout. It was the kind of goal we'd love to see more of from Neal - a decisive roof job that was blasted into the top corner over the glove hand of MacDonald. There was nothing fancy about it - just sheer power.
Brent Johnson had an uneven game in place of Flower. He had a few go in that were deflected, and a few that he probably would want back. He also made some big time saves that kept the Pens from losing their fragile lead.
Dupuis (12, 13), Kunitz (22), Kennedy (17)
- Excellent job through the first half of the game. The Pens were aggressive and looked like the better team. They built their 4-0 lead on their hard work and tenacity.
- Pascal Dupuis had a three point night, including a shorty, in what was his best game in a long time.
- Most of the current "big guns", including Staal, Kunitz, Martin and Letang, were excellent.
- The PK - I know Matt Cooke was an excellent penalty killer, but this unit really has to get it together. Allowing two PP goals in the third when the team desperately needs a kill just isn't good enough.
- HCDB shortened the bench, especially on defense. This team can't get Brooks Orpik back soon enough.
- The power play. The debut of James Neal on the point wasn't a good one. There was no sense that these guys had played with each other before tonight. It was a complete mess. Fortunately the Pens have a few days of practice to work on it.
- I was surprised how quickly I got back to hating Detroit. It's easy to respect what they're doing when you don't watch them play, but now I just want to see Letang line up Darren Helm for a good clean hit that puts him through the glass.
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 42-23-8. Tampa Bay was idle tonight, so the Pens have a three point lead over the Bolts and one less game to play.
Just when it couldn't get any more fun - the Flyers... on Thursday... in Philly.