Monday, December 8, 2008

1 for 9 doesn't spell success

Tough loss tonight, playing without four of the top six defensemen on the team is tough, but not converting on the powerplay (1 for 9) was too much to overcome. Penguins fans love to try and call for Mike Yeo's head, but it's hard to argue the chances the Pens got. 12 shots on the powerplay, several of them great chances. Many more went just wide or were blocked. Tonight, Ryan Miller was awesome and he was the difference.

  • It looked like "trick night" at the rink for Evgeni Malkin. A lot of crazy dekes and moves all around the ice, perhaps the best being pulling the puck between his legs, leaving a defenseman in the dust and throwing a perfect cross-ice pass to Ruslan Fedotenko for the game's first goal.
  • Speaking of Rusty, the guy is nothing if not a very streaky goal scorer. When he's hot he's hot (remember the 12 goals he scored in 22 games to lead the Lightning to a Cup?)
  • Janne Pesonen has his share of apologists...Err, supporters. But he's not an impact player at this level. Is he getting a ton of minutes or opportunities? No, he's not. However, what has he done? Absolutely nothing. He's generated nothing and looked lost. The cream rises to the top, even at getting 6-7 minutes a night if he was the real deal he'd be showing flashes of brilliance. He's shown nothing. He got six shifts and 2:55 tonight. But give Malkin 2:55 of time and he'll show something. Give Sidney Crosby 2:55 and he'll show something. That's tough competition to measure yourself against, but the bottom line is you have to show something. Pesonen, right now, has nothing to offer, whether he got 2:55, 12:55 or 22:55 it'd be hard to argue for him.
  • Thought: if you didn't know this was Ben Lovejoy's first NHL game, could you have guessed it? Probably not, but you'd still think he was a rookie though. A couple times we noticed Jordan Staal making a conciseness effort to get back and help out. Lovejoy did get a "welcome to the NHL" moment when Paul Gaustad lined him up around the endboards with a thunderous (but clean) hit. Malkin, stepping up, checked Gaustad and then cross-checked another player.
  • Nice to see the Penguins help Kris Letang get the monkey off his back by giving him a lot of powerplay goal....Still not a good night for the improvised Letang/Brooks Orpik top pair, as they were on the ice for four Buffalo goals, two off of Orpik turnovers, the other off a careless Miroslav Satan entry to the zone.
  • When Max Talbot looks like a giant in a post whistle scrum, you know the opponent is tiny. Nathan Gerbe, listed at 5'6" (possibly with skates on) might be even smaller than Martin St. Louis. He's still a good player though.
  • After going 1 for 7 on the powerplay through two periods you just couldn't feel good about the Pens chances, huh?
  • As we alluded to at the top, Pittsburgh threw a lot at the net..The Pens got 54 shots on net, 32 on the target. Miller was huge in keep out what he could and it was enough.

The Pens looked a little sluggish last game, but that could be reasonably excused by playing three games in four nights in three different cities. But tonight began another stretch of four games in six nights (in three different barns). The road is going to be tougher before it becomes easier.

At the end of the day the finger pointing can go around. The Pens were sunk tonight not just by the inability to convert powerplay chances, but by sloppy turnovers. Orpik, Orpik and Satan made three plays that resulted in the puck being in the net. Letang and Dany Sabourin had chances to make great plays to cover the mistake but couldn't. At the end of the day the Pens just need to buckle down, make smarter decisions and better plays and execute. They didn't do it tonight, and the power-play couldn't cover that up this time.


recchistillsucks said...

Did you happen to see Buffalo's third (i think it was 3rd) goal?

Goddard has the puck at his own blue line and fails to clear the zone...He does not constitute even half of a hockey player and is getting entirely too much icetime.

Pesso may be no Mario but he can move the puck better/smarter than Goddard that's for damn sure.

Danny said...

hey, are you interested in reviving the Battle of PA?