Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kunitz Wins it For Pens in the SO, 3-2 Over the Canes

-Chris Kunitz didn't exactly end his scoring funk tonight, but he did give the Pens an extra point and maybe boosted his self-confidence a bit as well. Kunitz has scored just one goal in the past 30 games (including the playoffs) and zero in six games this season. But as the 6th shooter chosen in the shootout, Kunitz faked Cam Ward and sniped it 5-hole to keep the Pens a perfect 4-0 on the road.

-All was merry in Penguin land thru two periods of play, but one shot by P
ens killer Ray Whitney seemed to turn the tide midway into the 3rd. The Canes were surging for good parts of this game, but it was Fleury and the Pens defense who were helping the door stay shut. Whitney tipped a Tuomo Ruutu thru the legs of Fleury and in. The building went wild and the Canes gained some much needed momentum. The Pens didn't stop moving their feet and a couple minutes later Guerin got absolutely robbed by Ward. Crosby stopped up and passed it thru the legs of Gleason to Kunitz who went to Guerin who had a wide open cage but shot it right at Ward's glove, still 2-1 Pens.

-The Canes came surging back once again after this huge save. On an overskated puck by Crosby, Gleason shot it at the net and Whitney tipped a beautiful shot over the glove of Fleury, and so it was 2-2. The Pens had several good chances after that but the period came to a close and the Canes who looked completely out of this game now had all the momentum. In OT the Pens had the edge with the 4 on 4 play. Geno/Sid connected on a pretty play where Geno was robbed by Ward's nasty glove. Ward was dominant tonight in stopping 36 saves.

-Once it got to the SO, it was the "Fins" of the Canes against the "Hands" of the Pens. Shootout specialist Jussi Jokinen dipsy dangled and scored a sexy goal on Fleury on the 2nd Canes attempt. Crosby responded by burying a backhand sky high on Ward. And then Fleury stoned 4 more shooters until Kunitz was called upon to save the Pens, he didn't dissapoint. Kunitz was the first shooter to shoot 5 hole on Ward and it worked. All the others were going backhand and failing (besides Sid). Fleury was huge in the shootout against some very tough shooters: Ruutu, Cullen, Staal, and Samsonov.

-Some key parts of the game I haven't even mentioned were the Pens first 2 goals. After Ruutu absolutely nailed Letang in the corner midway thru the 1st, the Canes brokedown defensively and Mike Rupp scored his first as a Pen on a spectacular backhand goal to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. Ward couldn't believe a 4th line scrapper just scored that goal. Asst. coach Tony Granato wanted to french kiss Rupp he was so ecstatic. In the 2nd period Geno had a ridiculous goal as promised tonig
ht. Dupuis almost lost it but quickly passed it over to Geno who sniped it glove side on Ward from an insane angle, impossible to save.

-As Kunitz mentioned in the post-game interview, the Pens still have room for improvement. Only one game has been a 60 minute effort. That's a scary statement considering the Pens are 6-1 and averaging 4 goals a game in those wins. Geno had a goal and an assist, Gogo was skating very well tonight, and Kennedy had some excellent chances once aga
in. Maybe that slapper streaming down the right side is his new signature shot.

-Props to Fleury for holding the fort against several Cane onslaughts tonight, but no props to the PP, who couldn't capatlize for the 2nd straight game and went o-4. Bourque got the nod in place of Godard tonight and he had some good shifts with Sid and then Staal/Cooke. He seems to fall down a lot and get knocked off the puck, but he's got potential and he's only 23.

-Congrats Pens for a perfect 4-0 road trip..Saturday night Ryan Malone and the Lightning come to town.


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