Monday, October 20, 2008

Game 7 Preview: Boston on a Monday night the Pats play and the day after Red Sox lose

Tonight ends a moderately taxing stretch of four games in eight nights for the Pens against three clubs that made the playoffs last year. The game is Pittsburgh's real first away game and also Boston's home opener. And it sounds like B's defenseman Aaron Ward is slightly excited about coming home from a four game season opening roadie...

I'm tired of listening to other teams' chants and listening to everyone else's grand opening and anniversary ceremonies," defenseman Aaron Ward wrote on his blog. "I am so sick of sitting around on their blue lines listening to how great their organization is, and I can't wait to see a lot of black and gold in the stands at the Garden."

OK then...

No one is quite certain if the Super-powers line of Evgeni Malkin + Sidney Crosby will stay in tact tonight, but we're guessing it's a pretty good bet. They created two goals on even strength (and four for the night) on Saturday, why break up something clicking so well.

Also an interesting note is Marc-Andre Fleury's workload, he's expected to start his 7th game tonight, and if you're keeping close tabs on the season you may notice it's Game 7. Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers and Dan Ellis from Nashville have also appeared in six games so far this season, but it's important to note the Rangers have played eight games, while the Preds have rode Ellis through all six of their games . Fleury's seen 198 shots so far, 26 more than the next closest goalie in the league-- shellshocked Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen who's faced 172 shots in just five games.

But of course Fleury's played so well and the Pens have seen their October schedule pretty favorably stretched out--with a long homestand to boot since coming back from the early start in Sweden. But if you look at the schedule starting today through Thanksgiving weekend the Penguins have 17 games coming up in the next 39 days, only one instance of two games in two nights but some meaningful travel too....Just something to keep an eye on going forward.
The key for tonight's game is weathering the storm....

As you can tell from Ward's words, the B's are going to be pumped up to be back in front of their fans and surely the Boston fans will be looking for something to cheer about-- even with the Patty's on Monday Night Football.

TST Key players to watch:

Marc Savard....Never more than a 28 goal-a-year scorer, the mainly assist master Savard has already light the lamp 5 times this season. Since the lockout he's an eye-popping scored 19 points (3g, 16a) in just 12 matchups against the Penguins.

Marc-Andre Fleury....As we alluded to Fleury's seeing a lot of minutes and a lot of rubber early in the season. How he can handle Savard and the pumped up B's in the early going of the game will go a long way in determining who comes out of it with the 2 points at the end of it.

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