The stage was set, and the anticipation was there. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins left alot out on the table in a 2-1 loss against New Jersey on Saturday.
New Jersey 2 @ Pittsburgh 1
What is more important than the final score, though, is how players produced. Worrying about wins and losses this early in the season is wasted energy, considering the Pens find themselves around December every year.
As it went, Marc-Andre Fleury was the lone shining star.
Playing a team that is historically defensive minded, I was surprised to see Fleury faced nearly 50 shots. All told, he stopped 47, a career high.
The game could have easily been a blowout for the Devils, but Fleury kept the Pens in the game.
“Without Marc, we don’t even get a point,” center Sidney Crosby said.
“We didn’t deserve it. It’s funny how it works that way. We didn’t do what it takes to win that game.”
– Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
It’s evident that the defense has a lot of work to do in solidifying itself. Never should the Devils get that many shots off, or any other team for that matter.
One thing that worried me about Fleury was the way he handled the puck. Leaving the net and coralling rebounds were a bit of an adventure.
However, it is only the third game of the year. Also, the Pens had five days off, which may have led to sub-par play.
It was encouraging to see the Penguins come out with as much speed as they did. Though it did not amount to much offense, emotions ran high … and deservedly so.
Miroslav Satan’s goal was also good to see, considering how putrid the power play had been in Sweden. Scoring once in seven tries is not outstanding, but to score at least once on the pp during a game is not bad.
Chemistry takes time folks. That is the bottom line. The Pens will develop just that in time. We’d like to see them jump out to a commanding lead to start the season.
Then again, everyone remembers how well Ottawa started last year, and then how horribly it ended.
Slowly they will gel, and when Gonchar and Whitney return to the lineup in a few months I would expect to see a complete team.
We’re in the “feeling out” period. Sometimes it’s not fun to watch, but it’s necessary.
Chris @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk