Monday, December 22, 2008

GOOSE, Pens Win

The Penguins still seemed to be stuck in a rut, they were badly outshot and didn't control a lot of the puck possession game. But, a win is a win and you take the two points any way you can get them, especially on the road against a good team.

  • Something we forgot to mention in the Mellon Arena recap: Jordan Staal seemed to be really throwing some checks. Maybe it's just contract year encouragement, or maybe that the 20 year old is feeling more comfortable at the NHL level, but he's becoming a physical force in the corners and behind the net.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury rebounded well from last game; the first goal took a bounce off Phillipe Boucher from point blank, the second goal Mark Eaton got caught flat footed at the blueline for an Ales Kotalik mini breakaway, and the third goal was a powerplay marker saw Boucher and Eaton soft in front of the net.
  • See a trend there? Boucher, Eaton, Boucher and Eaton largely responsible for the goals against. When Ryan Whitney returns tomorrow we all should know the candidates to watch from the press box.
  • Nice to see Pascal Dupuis back in the lineup, and he had good jump in his step, it appears the dreaded "lower body injury" isn't hindering him. And what a great breakout pass from Brooks Orpik to advance the puck up to Miroslav Satan for the Dupuis goal to catch the Sabres in a sloppy change.
  • Evgeni Malkin's trek towards a 100 assist season is alive and well with three apples tonight. Geno is about 2.6 assists ahead of the pace....And just like that he's up to 58 points, 11 up on Sidney Crosby and 15 over Alex Ovechkin, his closest chasers in the scoring race.
  • Crosby didn't particularly have a forceful game, it's seemed his been off his mark lately. The Trib noted he might have the cold or flu with a scratchy voice, and that would make sense, since his game just hasn't added up.
  • Crosby was great in the faceoff circle, winning 70% of his 23 draws, it's a high standard he's held to, so maybe we all just need to take a step back.
  • Was the goal over the cross-bar or not? Hard to tell, looked very close to being a non-goal, but at the same time the angles we saw would make it almost impossible to indisputably overturn the initial call on the ice (no matter what it was).
  • Something that has been filtering through our head: tonight's GWG was Crosby's first of the season, and Malkin only has 1 GWG as well. Crosby does have some balance though, with 7 goals at home, 7 on the road, 7 against divisional foes and 7 against non-Atlantic teams.
  • Last but not least of the bullets, Alex Goligoski, two goals and an assist tonight for a guy who's quickly got to be moving up the Calder Trophy list--especially when other leading contenders are eliminating themselves. You know if Goligoski was about half a foot taller and wearing a different jersey number one wouldn't be out of line to think Whitney had returned in midseason form a night early.

So that is that, an old fashioned bus ride down, two points in the ledger and now a quick turnaround to a home game against Pittsburgh South (aka Tampa) tomorrow night.

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