You read the title right, the Pens blew a 3 goal lead!!! Defense, goaltending, and a team effort were 3 key components that were missing from the Pens this game. Where's Max "Superstar" Talbot? Dupuis? Adams? The secondary players need to start producing or at least making their presence felt. Adams tried to engage himself physically but it ended up being a penalty.
After the Pens were just playing lights out and on their way to an easy 2 points, Drew Stafford's penalty shot goal turned the game around. Kunitz had just buried a shot to make it 3-0 Pens, a minute and change later Mckee sat on a frozen puck in the crease and Stafford beat Fleury five hole. MAF has not been himself the past couple games. He went for a poke check on Stafford and completely missed and Stafford blew it by him.
The Pens were playing with passion and worked hard till the bitter end. Patty Lalime came in relief of Miller after the 3rd Pens goal and he was dynamite, again. This time he ended up on the winning side. He stopped all 27 shots the Pens fired and the Pens outshot the Sabres 38 to 24 overall in the game. 18 second period shots were fired on Lalime and in the 3rd period the Pens seemed gassed and a bit frustrated.
Geno was flying like a mad horse again and he almost tied the game late. I thought Gogo had a better game offensively and it was interesting to see that Bylsma paired him with Gonch. Letang is having a hard time getting the puck to the net, as are most of the Pens d-men the past three weeks. After the Stafford penalty shot goal, the Sabres began playing their game, using size and speed. They made the simple plays their good at making and they were in the face of MAF all night.
Hecht, Gaustad, Kennedy, and Vanek were in the face of Fleury on every opp. they could get. Lines 1-4 for the Sabres were all playing with jam and fire. The team has a lot of big, skilled guys who know how to use their size and strength. Reminds me a bit of Washington's big players: Steckel, Laich, Gordon, and now Chimera.
Momentum is a funny thing in hockey and over the years Pens fans should know better than anyone that a game is never over. Leads like this are blown and the Pens went from being completely in control to being down by 1. Pominville's goal to make it 4-3 was a beauty as he lifted it upstairs and Fleury had no chance. Stafford was phenomenal in this game. He was a healthy scratch the last game so he had something to prove to Coach Ruff.
TK was also scratched the last game and he played a spirited game and used his speed which he's so good at doing. He helped create Staal's goal to make it 1-0 Pens in the 1st. But the Pens need to begin playing as a team. They need passion and a 60 minute effort. Skill alone from guys named Sid, Geno, Gonch, and usually Fleury will allow them to be in games, but winning will take everyone.
As Bob Errey mentioned it will be a very quiet plane ride to New Jersey tonight and the Pens will need to regroup and be ready to ride Johnson tomorrow in net. Feds will most likely be in and Godard a scratch. The Pens chased one of the 3 best goalies in the league and still lost the game, figures.
-IN TRADING FEDS WE TRUST