Flyers 2 – Penguins 3
The game unfolded just as the previous game:
The Pens got the first goal … a puck goes off Hal Gill … opponent is back in the game … now we’re in overtime … we’re getting chances but no goals … puck goes over the goalies shoulder on a break down the left wing … game over.
This time, Pascale Dupuis lasered home the game-winner, giving the Pens a 3-2 victory and a well-deserved win after a much better effort.
The Penguins allowed 30 shots and registered 28 of their own, a large difference compared to the 34 shot disparity in favor of the Devils on Saturday night.
What was more impressive was the production in the faceoff circle. Mike Zigomanis, who scored the Penguins second goal of the game, went 11/13 in the circle. Sidney Crosby went 12/17.
Penguins fans aren’t used to these numbers.
In the first period, the Penguins had alot of trouble winning draws in the offensive end. However, as the game progressed the Pens got stronger, and finished the game with a commanding 36-24 mark in the circle.
The game was not complete by any means, but the team got a win. All who watched noticed how much Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney are sorely being missed.
The power play, though it managed to score a goal, was anything but what we are accustomed to seeing. Rather than having Gonchar bring the puck in to the zone and pass it off to set up the attack, Alex Goligoski was in his place. He didn’t take over the same duties.
Evgeni Malkin and Crosby handled the puck in to the zone, but tried to do too much. Sustained attacks were few and far between on the night, because both attempted to make a move rather than dump or pass.
It frustrated the crowd enough too elicit boos … surprising to say the least.
The other area where the two absent defensemen were missed was in handling the puck in the defensive zone. Pittsburgh srtuggled to transfer the puck on to the attack because there was no real, experienced guy back there to do so.
Time is the only thing to heal these problems, and it can not pass soon enough.
However, the injury woes let free their grasp of Petr Sykora, who had a great game in his first action of the season. Not enough can be said of how he completes that second line.
Overall, it was good to get a win over a good team, and a rival, in a performance that was less than spectacular. The Penguins have little time to transition as they face an even tougher opponent in the Washington Capitals tomorrow.
I have to make note that I criticized two pairings at the beginning of the game, on of which I’ve changed my mind on.
Dupuis on the top line is a sight I’m still not happy to see. Sure, he got the game winner. But that was in overtime on a line with Kris Letang as well.
He just doesn’t seem to complement Sid’s talent enough. He can skate with Crosby, but is not a good recipient of his talent. In my mind, Fedotenko should be there, which leads me to my next point…
Fedotenko, Talbot and Kennedy played outstanding together. They were the only line that was able to sustain pressure on a consistent basis in the game.
I was rather upset when the game started, but by game’s end I was convinced that the three make a killer third line (however if Ruslan Fedotenko moves to line No. 1, I wont be upset).
Come back tomorrow to see pictures and video from the arena that I took while at the game, as well as a preview of the Pens vs. Caps game.
~Chris @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk