Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Flower - Penguins 3, Blackhawks 2

So what happened?

Fleury saved the day.  He made several HUGE saves during the first two periods as the Pens built a 3-0 lead, and then helped the team to hold on through a tumultuous third period that saw the Hawks score twice and have a power play (with Emery out of the net) for the final 90 seconds.

The Pens took advantage of their second power play chance in the first period when Geno found Kunitz cutting across the middle and hit him in stride.  Kunitz swooped in on Emery, having beaten both D by a step and used his backhand to open up the five-hole, which is where he deposited the puck.

James Neal scored on a ridiculous low shot to the far post, and Kennedy deposited the puck into an empty net after Ben Lovejoy (in his first game back) attacked with speed and tried a wrap-around.  The puck caromed straight to Kennedy, who wasted no time.

The lack of recognition early in the third that the Blackhawks were activating their D almost cost the Pens.  Matt Cooke alluded to it when he was interviewed by Pierre after the game.

In short, great two points to have earned.

Who scored?

Kunitz (12), Neal (19), Kennedy (4)

The Good?
  • Geno and Jordan were 16-8 and 16-7 respectively on the draws.  Where did that come from?
  • The first two periods - the Pens were opportunistic and Fleury made the key saves.
  • Balanced ice time up front.  Asham had the lowest number and he was just under 10 minutes.  I think that was key in having the strength to hold on at the end.
  • The PK killing off all three chance, including the big one at the end of the game.
  • Ben Lovejoy was solid in his return.
  • Brooks Orpik playing over 19 minutes at even strength (almost 24 total minutes), going up against the top lines from the Hawks.
The Bad?
  • Vitale and Adams on faceoffs.  They were as bad as Malkin and Staal were good.
The Ugly?
  • Getting out shot 19-4 in the third period.  I know they were trying to hold on, but this team isn't built to play that way.  They still need to get the puck deep and play some shifts in the offensive end.  Honestly, they were very lucky the Blackhawks didn't tie the score.
Any Surprises?
  • Holding on to win a key game against a strong opponent was a nice surprise.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 19-11-4.

Who's next?
A quick trip to Winnipeg on Friday night.

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