Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ruutu Haunts Old Team...Leads Sens to 5-4 Victory

-Sure wasn't the start you were expecting, huh? Well they actually started out on fire the first 5 minutes. Elliott was clearly nervous after bobbling the TK shot and then soon after Geno hammered it on the PK, boom 1-0 Pens. But then the Pens seemed to sit back and didn't have a shot for 16 minutes. Wow right? Truth is several of those shot attempts were either blocked or missed. Good bet that the shots that missed came off Letang's stick, hehe.

-But where was Fleury when he needed to make a big save? Where was the defense when he needed to get bailed out? Gogo was the best Pen d-men on the ice, and that's not a good thing. But Fleury's big rebound on the 1st goal, his lack of covering the side on Neil's goal and Ruutu's 5 hole game winner are inexcusable goals. Especially for a goalie the caliber of Fleury.

-Secondary scoring 5 on 5 was the story in this game. Neil, Ruutu, and Kelly all scored goals while only Adams got one for the Pens. First in 82 games lol. But Feds, Poni, Staal, Cooke, and Guerin weren't too visible offensively. They were close and had some chances. Kunitz was a physical machine and I thought Talbot/Adams did a good job of playing their game. But the Sens D really shut down on Crosby and Malkin knowing that their wingers weren't going to do much.

-Look for Feds to be a scratch tomorrow in place of Rupp. Rupp at least adds some physicality and could give either Geno/Sid more space on the ice. The Sens did what the Devils have done to us this year and what Tampa did on their last visit to the Mellon: clog the neutral zone and eliminate passes up the middle. The pens weren't dumping it in enough and when they were, they were beat to the puck by the Sens d-men.

-There was fight in the Pens as they came within 1 goal on several occasions until the Sens would score one more and the Pens would get deflated again. But they have to play with more passion and energy. Use their speed rather than play into their opponents hands. You saw how effective the forecheck can be in the first 5 minutes, but that has to continue for 60 minutes, or somewhere close to it. Spurts of dominance and spurts of sloppiness defined the Pens play in this one.

-Michalek tore his ACL so he'll be out for the post-season, that's great news, another legit top 6 winger down for the Sens. Look for a better game plan from Bylsma tomorrow and look for Fleury to be lights out. He is after all one of the top "rebound" goalies in the league, says Billy G.


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