Thursday, January 7, 2010
Discipline and Offense Lead The Flyers Past Pens, 7-4
Let's face the facts ladies and gents, the Pens are a struggling bunch right now. They've lost 7 out of the last 9 games and their hurting from many different facets of their game. Goaltending, defense, and secondary scoring are the immediate things that come to mind. Fleury is 1-6 in his last 7 games and has a 4.48 gaa. Ok it's a slump, these things can happen, but it's still a problem. The defense is having a tough time staying physical, making the first pass out of the zone, and limiting their mistakes. Mckee, Eaton, and Gogo have all been sloppy.
Gogo was flying today and had some good rushes, but his slapper and wrister are the softest things in the world. His shots either get blocked or are easily stopped by the goalie. Even Leighton who let up 4 could stop Gogo's shots. Gonch's presence on the backend with both his slapper and wrister are critical for the success of this team. I love the way Tanger has been playing last couple weeks amidst the slump. He's been physical, likes joining the rushes, and is shooting the puck on net.
Secondary scoring came tonight in the form of Cooke and Rupp but what about Dupuis and Caputi? Both had some quality chances and weren't able to capatilize. Dupuis shines offensively once every 7 or 8 games, just like Fedotenko and Kunitz. Is that the consistency you want heading into the playoffs? Yes Feds is a playoff performer and blah blah blah, but how long can Shero wait until he pulls the trigger for a sniper?
Geno had a couple chances to shoot on the PP but didn't and was forced to give it to Gogo who's shots are as ineffective as they come. Geno HAS to shoot it more often, his speed, stick-handling and passing skills are phenomenal but he should not have only 14 goals at this point in the season. He is far too talented to be passing up slappers from inside the circle or the point.
There have been some positive signs believe it or not. The all-important 3rd line of Staal/TK/Cooke has been doing it's deed. Hitting, speed, grinding, and scoring. Talbot was thrown on there with TK and Staal, and he helped assist Rupp on the Pens 4th goal. Max looked very sharp for the first time in several weeks tonight, good to see.
The struggles of the defense have been downright ridiculous. If we're to play effectively in the Off. zone the D has to make a good first pass and help the forwards. And defensively the D has been terrible. There were 3 or 4 two on one's in this game and Van Riemsdyk had two carbon copy goals where the D just fell asleep and collapsed. Skoula hardly played at all in the 3rd period, he was awful.
Give the new look Flyers credit. They were much more prepared to play this game and played smart and disciplined hockey. Carcillo didn't take any stupid penalties and neither did Hartnell. Wow, really? Yes really. Carter had 2 big goals on a couple nasty wristers. Richards was effective and the D did an excellent job of keeping the Pens forwards to the outside. Pronger and Carle did a good job on the Geno unit.
The Pens PP was 0-3 and the PK allowed 2 PP goals. The PP continues to struggle mightily. The opposition always knows who's gonna shoot and from where. Easy to read. Guerin/Kunitz/Cooke don't do a good job of screening the goalie at all. They move away and look away for tips the majority of the time.
Let's hope this road trip gets the Pens rolling again...
-IN AARON ASHAM PASSES WE TRUST