Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A No Point Night

Well, that sucked. On to the game comments:

--Watching the TSN feed, they point out Evgeni Malkin has 16 goals in the past 17 games. Quality stat from a quality channel.
--The sure to be Jarrko Ruutu fiasco....If you look closely, Ruutu comes into finish his check with his shoulder. Ilya Kovalchuk pulls away with his upper body and the only thing Ruutu connects with is Kovalchuk's legs, in an awkward position. 5 minutes for kneeing? More like 5 minutes for a bad reputation. Also, how did they tack on a fighting major? ATL's Steve McCarthy stood up for his teammates and immediately dropped the gloves and tried punching Ruutu, but Ruutu turned and was pinned against the bench and McCArthy only connected with the back of his helmet. Ruutu never threw a punch, never dropped the gloves, never made any action remotely resembling a fight but is still handed out a fighting major which ended up giving the Tbombs a PP. Ridiculous!
--We'd have to agree with what TST favorite Matthew Barnaby said during the intermission on TSN (paraphrased): Yeah they shouldn't have counted the apparant Nathan Smith goal since it was technically a kicking motion, but since he didn't even lift his skate to re-direct it perhaps it shouldn't have mattered since he demonstrated that much skill in deflecting the puck while seemingly stopping without really kicking it home.
--Right off the bat in the 3rd period Erik Christensen goes real hard to the net but can't pull th move he loves on shootouts but does pull the penalty. But on that PP;
--Sergei Gonchar misplays the puck, makes a diving effort in vein; Eric Perrin uses his speed to catch up with it and snaps a good shot and that's basically the game.
--It was nice to see the Pens avoid the shutout with a goal by Ryan Whitney after a terrific shift of cycling and puck domination by Christensen, Jordan Staal and especially Maxime Talbot did their thing.
--Georges Laraque was a -2 in 6:02 TOI. He did have a golden chance but failed to convert. Not a very good game for BGL. As a veteran and experienced player you'd expect/hope him to have a bigger impact.
--How many times did Malkin fall tonight for no reason? Too many for no reason at all. Credit the coaching staff for a cool new breakout though: Malkin carries the mail through the neutral zone like he loves to do, then when the opponents swarm on him, he drops the puck to Gonchar who's two steps behind and Gonchar quickly rifles a pass to a winger who gains entry to the zone and Malkin or the other winger isn't offsides, even at full stride. A nice adjustment from the coaches, keying in to the other team swarming on Malkin.
--As great and confident as Kris Letang played last night....Well he just didn't show any of it tonight.

Still a night that very much looked like a tired team. We predicted here that perhaps ATL would be a little slow in the start but that didn't come true. From open to start and top to bottom they were the better team and carried the play.

The Pens have about 72 hours off now; you'd imagine that they'll get at least 1 NHL caliber player back (Colby Armstrong) and maybe a fringe skill player in Kris Beech. Jeff Taffe (who took a double minor high stick and hardly played afterwards) and Alain Nasreddine should sit. Shift Brooks Orpik back to the blueline, for the love of all that's good and holy.

A missed opportunity to be sure, but it's hard to be that upset considering the team just won a highly contested and emotional battle AT a divisional rival less than 24 hours earlier.....All the Pens can do is try to regroup and come out strong for Carolina on Saturday night.

1 comment:


1) The Smith goal was legit. He may have gone out of his way(or not) to slide his skate into the puck, but didn't see him actually 'kick' at the biscuit.
2) You are absolutly correct about the Ruutu penalties derived more from his rep than what transpired out there.
3) Ironic that if Kovalchuk had recieved a proper/appropriate suspension for the hit on the Rangers Rozival last week, he wouldn't have played last night.