Thursday, December 10, 2009
You, Me, and Dupuis scores GW, Pens beat Habs 3-2
It's something about being in your hometown, playing in front of a loud and passionate crowd that gets the juices of the French-Canadian players goin'. Pascal Dupuis was no exception tonight. Roughly 5 minutes left in the game and Orpik made a terrific bank pass off the boards right to a streaming Dupuis down the left side of the off. zone. You had to know what was comin' next, right? It was Pascal's signature slapper and instead of getting his shot deflected into the stands it came up high on goalie Price and slipped right past his glove.
The Pens were firing from all cylinders in the 1st period and they were playin' some good 'ole Pens hockey. Get the puck deep, cycle it, and intitiate a furious forecheck. The Pens outshot the Habs 11-7 in the 1st and were clearly the dominant team. Guerin found a wide open Gonch coming down the middle of the ice for the first goal of the game. Great to see Gonch and the other d-men jumping into the play on more than one occassion tonight.
The Habs top line began setting the tone for the Habs in the 2nd period. Plekanec, Kostitsyn, and Cammalleri were creating havoc in the Pens zone on numerous occassions. Plekanec got in the face of Geno that caused a post-whistle scrum and he was making some big hits as well. D'Agastani scored a beautiful 1st goal for the Habs and Hamrlik added the 2nd on the PP. Their PP was moving the puck very well and it's somethin' I'd like to see the Pens do.
The Pens tied it near the end of the 2nd on a deflection by Matty Cooke. The Pens 3rd line which was so key in the Cup run last year is starting to get their mojo back. Gonch wristed the puck on net and both Cooke and TK were causing traffic in front of Price and Cooke got credit for his 6th of the year. Staal was a beast as well in the 2nd and he had a nice breakaway opp. that lead to a PP. Even with the Habs outplaying the Pens in the 2nd, they were still outshot 15-8.
In the 3rd period the Pens got back to their game and the Habs looked a little tired. Three PP opps. came up and the Pens couldn't convert. Come playoff time the PP HAS to be addressed. It's been there MO the past three seasons especially in the playoffs late in games, the PP was clutch. They have to vary their plays and you saw the backdoor play used with Gogo tonight. The PP had some productive chances but you gotta find a way to score.
Bylsma wasn't putting Rupp on the ice much after Rupp took the 2 min boarding penalty in the 2nd. I don't agree with that. Every shift tonight Rupp was creating something and he was on the ice for Dupuis' (8th of year) game winner. The Pens caught a break in the 3rd when Fleury did NOT have the puck covered but the ref blew the whistle before Lapierre poked it into the net. Lucky break but we'll obviously take it.
It wasn't perfect but it wasn't the worst of games either. Fleury made some good saves against a pesky and well coached Montreal team. Price was terrific in goal, stopping 38 of 41 shots. It was his glove side that turned out to be the difference. That same glove which haunted him during the '07 playoffs when the Flyers beat them in the 2nd rd. Geno passed up a nice shot late in the game but he hit the crossbar which was unfortunate. He's still looking for his stride and it's good to see Feds have another "spirited" (Errey) game. Although he ain't scoring, he's still being physical and making other things happen.
See ya on Saturday as the Pens take on Ballard and the Panthers
-IN EARLY WHISTLES WE TRUST