Saturday, April 17, 2010
Crosby Leads Pens to 2-1 Victory Over Sens, Series Tied 1-1
-Fleury didn't have to be the hero tonight for the Pens, but when called upon he delivered a number of solid saves. 18 secs into the game, the talented Dane (Peter Regin) hammered a wrist shot glove-side, 1-0 Sens. Uh-oh. But this didn't seem to rattle the Pens one bit. Instead they turned it up and went about business by playing Pens hockey: outhitting the opposition and controlling the puck in the offensive zone.
-Orpik was hitting left and right, Rupp nailed Phillips, and Kunitz continued his bashing of Ottawa d-men. The Pens came to play with a purpose and had passion on nearly every shift. Alfy and Spezza were nearly invisible. The lack of offense for Ottawa is clearly evident. So by shear talent alone, if the Pens play solid/smart hockey they can't lose this series.
-Elliott had another good outing for the Sens in making 29 saves. The Pens PP had a 4 on 3 PP in the 2nd that failed and another PP in the 3rd that failed. They have to get their MO going. Their seemed to be much more energy in their 5 on 5 play last night but not with the man advantage. Kunitz's high shot and the big juicy rebound lead to a Crosby goal and a 1-1 tie after 1 period.
-In the 2nd the hitting just got outright brutal. Sutton nailed Leopold with an elbow to the head. I thought it was illegal but Leopold did have his head down and Sutton is a giant, so who knows. But Rupp pushing Smith into the Zamboni gate was hilarious and then Talbot dropping the mits with Smith was nice to see as well. Granted Max can't fight to save his life, he does have a lot of heart though.
-The 2nd line of Poni/Geno/Dupuis played pretty well in this game. It was one of Poni's best games. His name didn't appear on the scoresheet but he was making several good passes and using size to create room for his wingers. Give the Pens D credit for taking away time and space from the Sens. There were still good chances where the Sens players would skate up 10 ft from Fleury uncontested, not good.
-Notice how the Pens stopped making passes through the middle and started using dump ins which in turn lead to big hits. It's all about the "investment" philosophy that Bylsma loves referring to. The 51 hits the Pens generated clearly tired out the Sens by the end of the game. Crosby outdanced Spezza and made a nice pass to Tanger who sniped it past Elliott. First time Tanger's shot actually got on net and didn't miss by 20 feet.
-Leopold is day-to-day and Ben Lovejoy was recalled today from WB/S. Look for Mckee to step in tomorrow night in Ottawa. Game 3 on Sunday at 6:38pm.
-IN MIKE RUPP WE TRUST