Thursday, October 06, 2011

Game #1 - at Vancouver Canucks

Game 1
Penguins (0-0-0, 0 points) at Canucks (0-0-0, 0 points)

Why does it matter?
The team (and the NHL) is waiting for Sid to return, and Geno is trying to show that he can be The Man (again).  The real early season story, however, is that the Pens are opening up with a tough stretch of three games in four nights, all on the West Coast in Canada.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Everyone's hopes are high after Malkin dominated the exhibition schedule.
  • Canucks - The Canucks are trying to figure out how they'll look without Ryan Kessler in the early going.
Questions to be answered
  • Will Flower avoid the slow start that plagued him last season?
  • Can Geno return to the form we saw from him just a few years ago?  Last season was the first time he dropped under a point per game for the season.
  • How will the top line (which seems to be Malkin, Sullivan and Neal) produce?  Can Neal score?
Keys to the game
  • Get in Luongo's head - his last few real games (in the Cup Finals) weren't his best, to be sure.
  • Lock down the Twins.  The Canucks were the highest scoring team in the league last season, and it all starts with Henrik and Daniel.
  • Win the special team's battle.  The Pens need to be excellent again this season on the PK - this will be a big test tonight, even though the Canucks no longer have Erhoff, who was their power play quarterback.

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