Friday, November 11, 2011

Game #16 - vs Dallas Stars

2011-12 Game 16

Dallas Stars (11-3-0, 22 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (9-3-3, 21 points)
Benn leads the Stars with 18 points in 14 games.  He also doesn't realize a "signature" is usually more than your initials.
Why does it matter?
It's a match between the top teams in each conference.  It's also the return of Alex Goligoski to Pittsburgh, and the first time Neal and Niskanen will face their former team.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Three points out of four on the West Coast is good, but blowing that lead in San Jose still stings.
  • Stars - The Stars have lost just three times all year, with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Kings.  They just blew past Washington in the third period on Tuesday.  They are very, very good so far this season.
Questions to be answered
  • Will we see Raycroft in goal for the Stars?  Given that this is the first of a back-to-back for the Stars, with the other half being tomorrow night in Detroit, I'm thinking we might.  That would be good for the Pens - Raycroft is 0-2 so far this year (yes, Lehtonen is 11-1 so far - really amazing).
  • How will Goose, Neal and Niskanen react to playing against their former teams?  I'd like to see Neal put a few in the net, just to show the Stars what they lost (hopefully Goose doesn't do the same).
  • Will we see the return of Tyler Kennedy?  He's been labeled at "game time decision".  He would bring some welcome scoring punch back to the lineup.
Keys to the game
  • Shake off the rust and start quickly.  The Pens have been off since last Saturday, which included some team building at Nemacolin during the week.  Get the legs going early.
  • No Steve Ott.  That's a key - seriously - that eliminates one cheap-shot artist from the game tonight.
  • Get traffic in front of the goalie.  If Lehtonen plays, use the screens with Kunitz and Neal, especially on the power play.  Lehtonen is out of his mind right now with the way he's playing.

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