Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coyotes shut down Pens offense and silence the crowd in 3-0 win...WTF happened?

-If this hockey game had a theme song, it might just be the "Sound of Silence". It wasn't Brent Johnson's fault the Pens lost 3-0, and frankly the defense wasn't all that bad either in this game, but the number of penalties taken and the lack of composure on the Pens side was unacceptable. The Pens had 10 minor penalties in the game, 2 of which resulted in goals for the Coyotes. The newly coached 'Yotes were much tougher to face tonight under Tippett. Because this team doesn't have too many stars, a more defensive approach (for now at least) is the way to go, and this Coyotes team did that to a T.

-The script for this game had been written many times before when the Pens would be down 1 or 2 heading into the 3rd, and I told my friend (Rishi) that we were gonna come back and steal this one, nuh uh. The Pens 3rd period was just as scary to watch as the previous 2. The Yotes D, as well as forwards, were doing an excellent job of clogging the neutral zone and making it very tough for the Pens to gain the offensive zone or even the red line. And the Pens didn't try dumping it in enough behind the Coyotes D in this game, and even when they did their speed wasn't good enough to get to the puck first.

-Brent Johnson did a solid job tonight in stopping 22 of 24 shots faced. At 1-0 Phoenix, Johnson stoned Shane Doan on a point blank opportunity, which ended up being the highlight of the night for the Pens. The other highlight was Rupp crushing some scrub Phoenix player named Lepisto into the boards, rightfully so it was the "Subway sandwich of the game." The Coyotes simply outworked the Pens and were the more disciplined team. Every time the Pens had some sort of attack going, Crosby/Cooke/Orpik would take some stupid penalty and kill any momentum we had. There were 2 or 3 plays in the whole game where the Pens had possession of the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches of the time.

-On one of the positive Off. zone shifts, the Pens had a goal called off when Cooke ended up cross-checking a guy in the back. Were the Pens tired? Or did the Coyotes play that well that the Pens couldn't do anything? I believe it was a little bit of both. The Pens legs were not visible in this game, and usually their speed and forecheck is the perfect recipe for success. Jovo was physical tonight for Phoenix and Pens killer Petr Prucha scored the 2nd goal of the game while sitting on the ice, amazing. The Pens had maybe one odd-man rush, and it came on a 3 on 1 with TK, Feds, and Geno and Jim Vandermeer ended up making a great play to prevent a goal. Other D-men such as Yandle, Aucoin, Michalek, all had effective games. 'Yotes goalie Bryzgalov was very solid tonight in stopping all 24 shots. Former Pen Robert Lang, wasn't all too bad himself. Looked like the Lang of old when he had the puck on the half wall of the PP.

-Chris Bourque did get the nod in place of Eric Godard and he played pretty well although again, it's hard to see any player (especially a young one) get into a groove when there's a penalty being called every 3-5 min. No one was visible tonight offensively. The team was sluggish and it was as if they wanted to conserve as much energy as they could for tonight's game against Philly. I boy as hell hope they saved some energy, because they'll need it. There are 82 games during the regular season and these games happen, even to Stanley Cup champions. Give credit to Phoenix for displaying a disciplined, defensive masterpiece tonight against the Pens. Remember the Devils "trap," well that was kind of it.

-Expect to see Eric Godard or Godzilla in the lineup against Philly and the Pens can't blame fatigue on a loss against Chris Pronger and company because not much was exerted against the 'Yotes. Fleury will be in net, the juices will be flowing, and oh yeah some gloves might be dropped...just sayin'

- Pens/Flyers preview will be up in the afternoon


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