Saturday, March 03, 2012

Game #64 - at Colorado Avalanche

2011-12 Game 64

Pittsburgh Penguins (37-21-5, 79 points) at Colorado Avalanche (33-28-4, 70 points)

Steve Sullivan is expected to play tonight.  No word on whether he'll finally disclose the location of the Fountain of Youth he's been sipping from.

Why does it matter?

The Avs are fighting for their playoff lives.  They're currently three points behind the Dallas Stars for the eighth spot in the West.  The Pens will have a battle on their hands.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Four wins in a row, and 16-4-1 in their past 21 games.  Simply amazing.
  • Avalanche - They were doing better in February, but then they lost at home to Columbus on Thursday, 2-0.  Pretty poor.
Questions to be answered
  • Who will quarterback the power play?  With Letang out, I guess you put Matt Niskanen on the point with Steve Sullivan.  That makes me a little bit nervous.
  • Can the D absorb the minutes?  When Letang was out previously, things were a little bit choppy on the blue line.  Paul Martin, especially, saw his numbers suffer.
  • Can Geno keep going?  He has a six game point streak on the line, and the Pens will need him to spur the offense tonight.
Keys to the game
  • Dig in.  With Letang out, the remaining D will need to suck it up and step up their play, at least on the defensive side of things.  The forwards will need to do most of their own work and not count on having a guy like Letang joining the play.
  • Different uniform, same dork.  Steve Downie now plays for he Avalanche.
  • Special teams - the Avs PK has allowed a goal in three straight, and their power play simply doesn't get many chances.  The Pens have a clear advantage here - they need to exploit it.

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