When it was announced that Dany Sabourin was starting in net over Marc-Andre Fleury, many Penguins fans were critical.
It’s almost a certainty that no one saw ‘Sabu’ stopping 35 of Boston’s 36 shots in a 2-1 win. His performance proved that an already strong goaltending position can potentially be as strong as it was last season, when Ty Conklin, now with the Detroit Red Wings, played a major role in getting the Penguins to the playoffs.
Sabourin was there to back up another poor defensive showing, and was the No. 1 reason, and No. 1 star, that the Pens won Monday night in Boston.
The game started probably as one-sided as possible, with the Penguins allowing 16 shots to the Bruins in the first period. Dany Sabourin was there, however, and turned away every shot.
“Everyone has a lot of confidence in Dany (Sabourin). If it wasn’t for
him early, we would have been down by two or three (goals).”
– Brooks Orpik (Courtesy Penguins.com)
After killing the third penalty of the period, Pittsburgh took a huge momentum boost in to the first intermission.
Sidney Crosby took control of the puck and led a break out of the Pens zone, passing to Malkin near the Bruins blue line. Malkin went streaking down the right wing and fired a shot at Boston goaltender Tim Thomas.
Thomas stopped the shot, but left a rebound off to the left wing about five feet oustide of the crease. Miroslav Satan showed great awareness coming out of the penalty box by following the play, and was able to get the puck on the fly and quickly fire it to the top shelf for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead.
It was a huge hit to Boston going in to the break, being that they had every chance to be up by as much as 3-0.
The Pens played better in the second, but coincidentally surrendered a goal in the process.
Out-shooting the Bruins 14-11 in the period wasn’t enough, because the penalties continued to pile up. The first of two bone-headed penalties by Jordan Staal led to Boston’s equalizer.
The Penguins did outplay Boston, but headed in to the break tied at one. It seemed as though Sabourin wouldn’t be able to hold up for another period.
The third was back and forth, and neither team gained much momentum. Less than 10 shots on goal were registered by both teams combined, and no penalties were taken.
It was a lot of struggles to amount anything on five-on-five hockey by both teams. However, it set the tone for overtime and the shootout.
The Bruins elected to go second, and put the Pens in familiar territory — shooting first is what they prefer.
The shootout went as follows:
Kris Letang (Pit) – wristshot, save
Phil Kessel (Bos) – backhand, goal
Petr Sykora (Pit) – backhand, goal
Patrice Bergeron (Bos) – missed net
Sidney Crosby (Pit) – snapshot, save
Michael Ryder (Bos) – backhand, save
Miroslav Satan (Pit) – wristshot, save
David Krejci (Bos) – backhand, save
Evgeni Malkin (Pit) – snapshot, goal
Marc Savard (Bos) – wristshot, save
Malkin nets the gamer winner, only his third shootout goal of his career
Doesn’t it feel like the Pens keep winning games that they, maybe, don’t deserve to win?
This is because they are good enough to play badly and still beat teams. As this team continues to find itself and develop chemistry, they are still able to win games.
We have to look at this a positive.
Sure, the defense has been pourous, and at even strength the forwards are struggling. But look at the whole: we are nearing the end of October, and the Penguins are 4-2-1 and in second place in the division.
They are in good shape, and slowly but surely are coming together.
Pittsburgh must eliminate the bad penalties, and I have a feeling that will improve quickly being that Michel Therrien is behind the bench.