Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crosby and Johnson Lead the Pens to 7th Straight Win, 3-2 in SO...Devils in Town Tonight

-It wasn't a picture perfect victory tonight at the Igloo. But some players just happened to turn it on like no other. They include goalie Johnson, Crosby, Geno, and Kunitz. Johnson was playing out of his mind. He had 27 saves on 29 shots and just like in the Phoenix game a couple weeks back, he gave the Pens a chance to win or squeak out a point. Booth was stoned on a breakaway early in the game, Dvorak had a breakaway graze Johnson's jersey, Booth had a couple other good chances, etc. The greatest save of all was one that wouldn't have counted. Johnson was out of position and just stuck his glove out to rob Horton of a goal.

-The Pens were sleeping in the 1st period and could only generate 8 shots on goal. Most of those shots were easily snagged by Vokoun, who had 41 saves himself in the contest. The Panthers did an excellent job of clogging the neutral zone for the first period and a little and the Pens couldn't generate anything offensively. Bourque was in the lineup in place of Godard and he created something every shift whether it be a couple shots or hits. Reinprecht scored the first 2 goals for the Panthers and it was simply because of desire. The Panthers were winning loose puck battles and charging the net to get rebounds.

-It could've easily been 4-0 in the 1st if not for Johnson standing tall in net. In the 2nd the wheels began turning and the Pens turned it up a couple notches. Kunitz began the period with a huge hit on Leopold and the momentum seemed to come from one big shift in the game. Kunitz, Sid, and Guerin were hacking away around the net and the puck was just rolling off their sticks and they couldn't capatilize. But Kunitz was exchanging cross-checks with Ballard and then both decided to tango and Kunitz threw some good punches in their against the tough d-men. The crowd seemed to wake up and the team started skating faster.

-But it was the 3rd period and the magnificent play of Geno and Sid which really won the game for the Pens. A couple minutes into the 3rd, on a Pens PP, Geno lost the puck then dove and saved it from exiting the zone and it went from Gogo to Sid and past Vokoun for a 2-1 Panthers lead. With a little under 4 minutes to go Orpik was called for interference so Bylsma decided to put the two-headed monster on the PK. Geno was storming the whole period and he came around the net in Jagr-esque fashion and found Sid wide open and BOOM, it was 2-2. The Pens outshot the Panthers 15-6 in the 3rd.

-The OT didn't create much excitement but in the SO Johnson was huge again. He stopped SO specialist Ville Koistenen, Reinprecht, and Horton. And of course, Sid the Kid was the only who scored for the Pens to win the game. He made a nice forehand to backhand move then back to forehand and it was a goal. Letang didn't try anything but shoot on his attempt, and Guerin tried to go five hole again and failed. Marty Skoula played well this game but at times the defense was confused and sloppy. Feds and Gogo ran into each other and Skoula's speed was an issue on a couple plays as well. Johnson was terrific and if a backup goalie can play like this the rest of the season it will be huge for the Pens.

-The Pens faceoff against division foe's the NJ Devils tonight. Brodeur will be looking to tie Terry Sawchuk's shutout record tonight, good luck doing that. Fatigue will be an issue as the Pens seemed to exert so much energy last night to beat the Panthers but there are no excuses. Fleury will start and he will be fresh and the Devils are missing Elias, so we're in good shape. Look for Godard to start tonight because Peters is likely to play for NJ. They have a new coach Jacques Lemaire who coached them to a Cup in '95. He has a defensive approach to the game, the "trap", but the team still has some nice offensive weapons: Parise, Zajac, Langenbrunner, and Zubrus.

-Pens vs. Devils at Mellon arena at 7:38 pm....Goin for 8 in a row


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