Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Team Effort; Pens Win

Our live notes from the game:

``Pens dominating first 5 minutes in possession, shots(7-3 advantage) and cycling the puck well, controlling the play.
``Nice PK'ing for Evgeni Malkin in the first but then Pens broadcaster Paul Steigerwald mentions on the Devils PP that Mike Rupp hadn't had a point in his past 56 NHL games....And you knew what was going to happen next....The "Slumpbusters" strike again.
``Also note that Nathan Smith (1st NHL game with Pittsburgh) was out there when the PK goal went in, since Jordan Staal (a regular PK'er) took the penalty and other regulars like Adam Hall and Colby Armstrong are out with injuries. This is what "they" talk about when "they" talk about the Pens depth being challenged.
``Weird to see Brooks Orpik on the wing. He didn't look comfortable and how could he; that's not his position.
``People don't think of Kris Letang being tough by style, but dudeman took a redirected puck to the face enough to draw blood and stayed on the ice another 30+ seconds to finish his shift.
``Jarrko Ruutu taking an interference penalty that will make a coach's stomach turn. Both players are going to the corner, the puck is coming, why take your hand off your stick and pull the man down when you can simply ram him into the boards cleanly in about 1.5 seconds.....Decisions like these are why he'll always be a 4th liner on a good team.
``Jordan Staal made a great power move from the corner and drove to the net and appeared to get a shot off that beat Martin Brodeur. It actually bounced off a Devil or two and went in. But the fact remains, good to the net hard and you will, eventually somehow someway be rewarded.
2nd line has been the best unit for the Pens....Crusher found Ryan Whitney streaking in the slot but a nice save by Brodeur.
``Bad and weird bounce off Letang's chest on Rupp's second goal....But if Jeff Taffe doesn't lose that faceoff cleanly in his own end, Rupp never gets to pull the trigger on the shot.

Martin Brodeur gets undressed

``Christensen's goal a thing of beauty. What hands, what precense of mind to cooly pull the "Forsberg" move on a helpless Brodeur.
``Letang won't get an assist on the 3rd goal, but his play to hold the puck in, skate it a second and then toss a saucer pass low to Malkin made the sequence happen. All three goals from plays starting behind the net...Hmm..
``Brian Gionta boards Taffe and at the worst possible time; when the "Bash Brothers" Orpik and Georges Laraque were quick to get in his face.
``Unbelivable hand-eye coodination from Ryan Malone on his second goal. Again patience of standing near the goal and waiting for his chance to knock the puck into the net.
47 minutes into the game and NHL.com has credited the Penguins with 3 hits. Either they statistician isn't watching this game or his hit button is broken.
``Darryl Sydor did a good job breaking up an evolving 2 on 1 for the Devils with about 9 minutes to go that could have shifted all the momentum to the home team.

At the end of the day the Penguins "took the air out of the ball" to use a football expression by playing sound hockey through the neutral zone and cycling down low playing keepaway---which shouldn't go un-noticed as being trademarks of Devils hockey.

Down 2-1 on the road Pittsburgh struck quick with two goals in under a minute and a half (one the sweet Christensen goal and then the first Malone one) that turned the game around. The Pens road their big dogs (Malkin, Malone, Peter Sykora, Maxime Talbot, Staal and Christensen) and they came through.

Sweater Ted 3 Penguin Stars of the Night:

HM: Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin
3. Maxime Talbot [2a, +2, 16:22 TOI]
2. Erik Christensen [1g, 1a, +2, 15:14 TOI, 3 SOG, 2-0 faceoffs]
1. Ryan Malone [2g, +1, 24:06 TOI, 3 SOG]

After Sid Watch:
2-1-1 (5 of possible 8 points)

Philadelphia is in OT at the press time, so Pittsburgh will remain in second in the Atlantic Division for another night....But more importantly, they knocked the Devils down a notch, at least for one night but also have a base of momentum for the next night. That next night won't be too long, as the boys will be back in action against the T-bombs.

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