It wasn’t a complete win by any stretch, but it might be enough to get this team out of its losing funk.
Thrashers 1 — Penguins 3
The Pens got on the board first and protected the lead. They scored not one power play goal, but two. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby finally got back to adding points to their resumes. And most importantly, the Penguins got the win.
How far will this go for the team? Well, last time the Pens got a convincing win was Dec. 26 — a 1-0 win over New Jersey. Since then the Pens had lost five straight games until last night.
That has no reflection on where the Pens are to be going, but hopefully it serves as a reminder to the team about the importance of stringing together multiple positive performances.
The biggest moment of the game came with the first goal of the game. Petr Sykora scored at the 17:10 mark of the first period and the entire crowd at Mellon Arena cheered like it was the playoffs. From that point, it was all downhill.
Sykora netted another at the 12:43 mark of the second period, a goal that was equally huge. Atlanta had controlled most of the period to that point and his goal was a reversal of fortune. Recently we have seen the Pens play good hockey and just miss on scoring opportunities only to see their opponent get a lucky break on the other end for a goal. The Pens found good fortune this time as Malkin got a pass across the front of the net over to Sykora, who then backhanded it in to the goal.
Crosby added another a few minutes later and the Pens were smooth sailing. His goal was a deflection goal off of a rising slap shot by Malkin.
The most important part of this game was to get the win, case closed. How it happened didn’t matter. The Pens could have gone 0-8 on the pp, but if they got the win it wouldn’t have mattered. Now they must use this as a building block.
The Pens have a three-game road trip in which they play Nashville, Colorado and Philadelphia. Two of three is a must … all three would be nice. Nashville and Colorado are teams like the Pens: struggling to stay around .500. I never thought we’d have to say that this year.
However, they are very beatable and it would be nice to get four points before getting back to Eastern Conference play.
We’ll find out a lot about the Penguins tomorrow night in Nashville. Do they really have a commitment to working hard and playing the system? It will be a little clearer after they play the Predators.
What is for sure is that it’s probably the biggest game of the season.
- Ruslan Fedotenko is likely out for a while considering Michel Therrien said after the game: “We’ll miss him.” Process of elimination says it’s a hand injury.
- Pascal Dupuis left the game in the second. Now word on his status.
- Colby Armstrong went from being absolutely love by the fans to absolutely hated. He was getting the long, drawn out goalie name chant by game’s end.
- I had a good feeling before the game. Not only did I know the Penguins were playing possibly the worst defensive team in the NHL, but I got a call from Ko Sports right before I walked out the door to go to the game … my Joey Mullen jersey was finished. It’s the mid-90s one with ‘Pittsburgh’ spelled out vertically down the front … I’m in love.
Chris | PPT