Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grind it out - Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 2

So what happened?

The Blue Jackets were intent on making this a hockey game.  They held the fort during the first period by limiting the quality of the scoring chances for the Pens, and Curtis Sanford, in his first game back from injury, didn't allow any second chances.

The strategy was working, as the Pens out shot the Jackets 15-5 during the first period, but were unable to score.  Things took a turn for the worse when Rick Nash scored on a shorthanded goal midway through the second to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead.

However, Geno got the Pens on the board with a power play goal late in the second, and then in the third, the cracks in the armor started to show for Sanford.  He just wasn't quite as fast or on top of his game as he had been earlier.  Shots that I think he would have stopped in the first period started to go in, and before you knew it, the Pens were up 4-1.  Vinny Prospal scored with less than 5 minutes left to make it mildly interesting, but the Jackets never really threatened after that.

Who scored?

Malkin (37), Dupuis (15), Letang (9), Vitale (4)

The Good?
  • Another two power play goals - the Pens have six power play goals in just 13 chances over their past four games.  That's incredible.
  • Thiessen was solid in his NHL debut.  The team insulated him well for the most part (other than the Nash breakaway while the Jackets were shorthanded).
  • What more can you say about Geno?  He is the best player in the world right now.
  • Faceoffs for Staal and Malkin were solid - both were over 55%.
  • Great persistence for the Pens - the shots weren't going in early and they weren't getting any rebounds, but they didn't panic and just kept working.  It paid off.
The Bad?
  • Letang was a -2, meaning he was on the ice for both goals against.
The Ugly?
  • Nothing, really.  Just two points for the Pens.
Any Surprises?
  • Again, pretty plain vanilla victory.  Nothing too surprising.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 36-21-5.

Who's next?
A quick road trip to Dallas and Colorado.  The Pens play Dallas on Wednesday night.

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