In Casa De Hooks there is a new problem: the DVR is currently not recording shows...But up 5-0 with about five minutes left in the second, surely we could pull away from the hockey game to watch "The Office" and "30 Rock", right? We think the Penguins wanted to be somewhere else too that last frame as well.
--For the first 35 minutes the Pens played one of their best games; they were getting a lot of Edmonton's turnovers, cycling the puck well and putting a lot of shots on the goal. The skill wingers showed skill; Miroslav Satan scored the first goal between his legs and deflected another, Petr Sykora was quick enough to one-time a sudden puck won by Evgeni Malkin, then he deflected a Malkin shot (which was saved) and put the rebound by the battered goalie Mathieu Garon.
--The second 25 minutes the Pens showed they could just about give away everything they'd established. As mentioned, we were off in comedy-land for a while and thankfully were spared the high blood pressure of witnessing the meltdown. But a lot of the breakdowns (deflections here, giving up a shorthanded breakaway to a defensemen there) didn't look like too much fault could be placed on Marc-Andre Fleury. Maybe the 18 guys in front of him wanted to watch NBC comedies as well.
--Rough night for the 4th line (Matt Cooke-Mike Zigomanis-Eric Godard), they were each on the ice for two of the goals. 4th lines have to play "nothing against" because they're not generating much in the way of offense anyways. Being on the ice for two goals against, no matter the circumstances, is inexcusable for this trio.
--But we will give Godard his due, he rocked a young buck named Joey MacIntyre in a fight. Then when MacIntyre (who plays at 250+) totally flattened Kris Letang with a huge open ice hit--which looked clean except for the fact Letang passed the puck a full 2-3 seconds before getting trucked--Godard was there to remind Mac you can't do that. Thankfully Letang appears to be OK, but he was bleeding a little from the nose either from his visor or a stick.
--What a complete effort from Max Talbot; his first game of the year playing 20+ minutes, a short-handed goal to go along with 5 shots on net and a lot of hustle plays that the stat sheet can't record. With Talbot playing up there we think this is the best the first line has looked at even strength all season...And yes that includes the stint where Malkin played with Sidney Crosby.
--Malkin was a tour de force tonight, 3 assists, two of them were Ovechkin-esque (as in they were initially shots) but the play he made stepping around an Edmonton center immediately after the draw and firing a quick pass over to Sykora was a thing of beauty.
In the end winning 5-4 has just as much significance in the standings as winning 5-0. Hopefully the Penguins learn the bigger lesson on display for the night; that if you don't put in a 60 minute effort and try to coast in down the home stretch, you will pay. They've lost a couple games already when they were winning late into the game (Washington, at the Rangers) so you think that lesson would be learned. Whatever the case, a win is a win, now off to the Long Island for a matchup with the unimposing Islanders (4-8-1) in what could be a "trap game" before going to see our old friends in Detroit.