Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's See How Far We've Come: 5 things we know about the Pens

5 games and 5 things we know about the Pens

1. Fleury is 4-0

It's been a tough road to the top for one Marc-Andre Fleury. Being scrutinized in his first couple years then getting injured then choking and so on. Fleury has lead the Pens to two straight Cup runs and one won Cup, shutting the critiques up for good. This year he has looked as sharp as he has in a long time. His rebound control has been exceptional as have his game-changing saves. He did that in almsot every playoff game last year and he is continuing where he left off, making big saves when the Pens need it the most.

2. Jordan Staal looks sexy alongside Geno

Two years ago we saw 18 year old Jordan Staal net 29 goals, including 8 shorthanded. Oh and by the way one of his linemates that year was one Geno Malkin. Staal looks like a monster on the ice and he's building off his terrific playoffs with even bigger strides now. He's forechecking harder, winning more faceoffs, making tough plays to score goals, and giving Bylsma another scoring option to work with. Teams will have an even tougher time stopping our top 2 lines if Staal can continue his great play with Geno and Feds/Dupuis.

3. Jay Mckee is a shot-blocking Machine

Ray Shero knew what he was doing when he brought in vet. d-men Mckee in the off-season. He didn't fit into the Blues plans so how in the world was he going to start for the Pens? He has done just fine. He's averaging nearly 5-6 blocks per game and doing a good job of exiting the puck out of the zone with no problems. Mckee has been a perfect complement to youngster Goligoski (Gogo) who is playing some terrific two-way hockey himself. Mckee has also showed us what a great teammate he can be when he stepped up to fight the Isles Brendan Witt last weekend after Witt put a punishing hit on Fedotenko.

4. Crosby is becoming more of a scorer

During the summer Sid the Kid spent a good portion of his time practicing his shot, he said he wanted to score more goals this year. Guess what? He's doing just that. He leads the team with 4 goals and instead of passing as much as he used to, he's trying to shoot it from wherever he can, a la Tyler Kennedy. Crosby scored a bunch of goals in the playoffs last year around the net. He had a couple in Toronto last night in the same area to the right of the goalie.

5. TK/Cooke/Adams are hard-nosed pests

The NHL already knows what a pest Matt Cooke has been over his career, but TK and Adams are two different types of pests. TK handles and controls the puck as good as anyone in the league, not exaggerating. The little guy can skate, hit, shoot from any angle and goes all out on every shift. Craig Adams was once on waivers and a couple months later he's on the ice for the last seconds of game 7 vs. Detroit. Adams is converting to center and has been winning over 50% of his faceoffs in each of the 5 games. Adams like Cooke and TK, loves to hit and punish people with checks, he can even check Chris Pronger, OMG. Together the three pests, comprise a very effective 3rd line that will be a pain in the ass to play against for several months to come.

NOTE: Geno is the Pens points leader with 7 and 2nd on the team with 16 PIM. Stop hooking people Geno.

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