Monday, November 23, 2009

School-uhh Steals the Show in Hot-Lanta as Pens edge Thrashers 3-2

On a night that featured 4-5 elite offensive machines, it was Marty Skoula, a "7th defenseman" if you will, who scored 2 goals in leading the Pens to their first road win in 4 games. In the midst of half our defense being depleted due to injury, Skoula has made himself the most noticeable defender both offensively and defensively. It is fantastic to see another D-men who constantly gets the puck on net and can create scoring chances.

Skoula's first goal was off a wrist shot that hit some Penguins back and past Hedberg. And his 2nd goal was off a pretty Cooke feed as he caught Skoula storming down the left side, wide open, and Skoula lined it up and ripped a slapper short side past the Moose. The Thrashers did narrow the score, but the 2nd goal came with 18 secs. left in the game.

One thing this game proved: the Thrashers are a much better team than they were last year. They now have weapons not named Kovalchuk. Afinigonov was flying all over the ice, and had it not been for Fleury, he coulda had a couple goals. Antropov was also effective. He's a big kid who can skate and wins faceoffs. My favorite player from that Senators team (2 years ago when they beat the Pens) was Christoph Schubert. He was hitting the Pens hard again tonight, but his defensive skills are limited.

Other Thrashers who looked good included Peverley and rookie Kane who got in a fight with Engelland near the end of the 2nd period. The Pens played textbook Penguins/Bylsma hockey. Get to the offensive zone, cycle the puck, play physical and prevent the Thrashers guns from getting quality chances. Sounds like every team does that, right? Well sure some do, but not all have the players who can actually execute as well as the Pens do.

Rupp had a couple glorious chances while playing with Sid on a shift and then Bylsma put him with Geno and he lugged the puck up ice before giving it to Geno who wristed it past Hedberg (former Pen), for a 3-0 lead. Hedberg was phenomenol for the Thrashers. The final score could've been 7 or 8-2, Dupuis, Staal, Rupp, Geno, Sid, and Talbot were all stoned on numerous plays. Dupuis has to be the most improved Pens forward with the way he's playing. He's actually holding onto the puck for longer than say 3 seconds.

The Thrashers are much improved but they still need help on D. Hainsey was bad, Schubert was slow, Enstrom is tiny and weak. Only Bogosian seemed to standout. In the 3rd period, Cooke and Kovy got into a fight and Cooke got the best of him, although Kovy was assesed a 4 minute instigator and game miscondunct. Not sure what happened because the camera view on the play was terrible, thank you Fox Sports. Bourque had another good game. Sadly he still hasn't found a way to get his first goal as a Pen.

The Pens play the bipolar Florida Panthers tomorrow night in Sunrise, FL.

See you then.


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