Friday, October 07, 2011

Good Omens! Penguins 4, Canucks 3 (SO)

So what happened?
The Pens blew a two-goal lead but hung on to get to the shootout, where Letang and Malkin made Luongo look silly, while Flower handled Samuelsson and Burrows (who attempted a less complicated version of the move that Letang uses).

The special teams were the key for the Pens as they scored twice on the power play.  They also not only stoned the Canucks on the man-advantage, but scored a shorty when Matt Cooke did his best Ovechkin impersonation (using the defenseman as a screen and whipping a nasty wrist shot).

I thought it was a great initial answer to several big questions we had coming into the year, including:

  • James Neal scoring a goal on the power play (and he looked great at times in this one, but probably a bit too much dangling at times)
  • Matt Cooke keeping himself under control and scoring twice - that has to feel good
  • The power play scoring twice, while the PK stoned the Canucks

Who scored?
Neal (1), Cooke (1,2)

The Good?
  • Fleury had a solid game - the first Canuck goal should never have gone in, but he made several other huge saves to keep the Canucks from ever getting the lead.  He was also great in the shootout.
  • Joe Vitale showed some real hustle and effort.  He worked his butt off, especially on the forecheck.
  • All four lines played decent minutes.  This was critical, as you could see guys getting winded by the latter stages of the third period.
  • Steve Sullivan not only appeared to have more gas in the tank than we're used to seeing from the "old guy signings" (Bill Guerin, John Leclair), but he also showed great chemistry with Geno and Neal, along with several sharp offensive moves.  Let's hope we get to see more.
The Bad?
  • Blowing a two-goal lead late in the second.
  • Losing 3-0 at five-on-five hockey.  That is the most troubling thing to come out of the opener.
The Ugly?
  • Nothing really ugly - no nasty hits or cheap shots... just exciting hockey.
Any Surprises?
  • Hearing the NHL on NBC music on Versus.  Everyone knew NBC had purchased Versus, but it still sounded strange.  Somehow the production values seemed higher too...
What's their record now?
The Pens are 1-0-0.

Who's next?
Another late one in Calgary on Saturday night.

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