So what happened?
The Pens started slowly again. They took a lead, again. This time, however, they had to hang on for the win.
Phoenix fired lots of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury. Fortunately, most of them were from some distance (at least for the first two periods) and there were no significant rebounds. The goal they did score was in the third on a nice chip by Ray Whitney. I thought Malkin should have been busting his tail get get back into the play - he looked more like he was gliding from the blue line in.
On the other end of the ice, Smith was playing very well, but he flubbed two shots in the first period. Both went over the right pad and under the right arm / blocker. Both were slightly deflected by Smith himself (in other words, he was just a tiny bit off in trying to stop them). The Pens were very close to being shut out tonight.
There were no significant special teams chances, which is somewhat surprising given how physical this game was.
Michalek (2), Kunitz (19)
- Michalek with his second of the year against his former team, and it was a seeing-eye shot.
- Tyler Kennedy seemed solid in his return.
- The Pens put together several great shifts in the offensive zone, and they didn't really allow any extended shifts to Phoenix.
- HCDB rolling the forward lines in a tight games. Only Jordan Staal played more than 20 minutes up front. That's good to see - in a tight game that is mostly even strength, it tells you the coach trusts his team.
- Getting out shot again. I think that may be more a function of how Phoenix was playing, but you know HCDB can't be happy with the shot totals.
- More faceoff headaches. Staal and Vitale combined to win 11 while losing 22 (yikes).
- Brian Strait - four blocks and four hits. It was a solid night for him in just over 12 minutes.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 39-21-5. They are all alone in fourth place in the conference, four points ahead of Philly and New Jersey, and eight points behind the Rangers.
Wednesday night the Leafs come to Consol.