A little late on the Penguins recap. It has been some busy days for me, but I am sure you had plenty of places to go to read about this game. I actually got to watch the game on TV rather than trying to find it online there somewhere but since it was on VS I think i was part of the 0.01% of people who were happy it was on VS.
This game wasn't really a "game". It was pretty much a domination. The Penguins just had their way with the Blues for the first period. Any time you can get 20 shots in a period and hold your opponent to only three. St. Louis just looked like they wanted to get a free meal in Pittsburgh and this was a meeting you had to go to in order to get the free trip.
The Penguins got on the board with two in the first. TK scored at the 11:19 mark with his fifth goal of the season. Honestly, how good has the third line been? I mean after the game there was a stat that stated that in the Penguins nine games the third line of TK-Staal-Cooke have combined for ten goals. What a line.
Evegeni Malkin got on the board with a power play goal just 69 seconds later on his third shot. Geno took a shot that was saved by goaltender Mason, got his own rebound then took another shot and got that shot blocked and then took another shot that was just a rocket that tickled the twine for a 2-0 Penguins lead after one period of play.
The Penguins were not as good in the second, but then again how can you follow up such a dominated period. The Penguins scored two goals, 34 seconds apart, when Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke scored goals. Feds goal came on the power play and Matt Cooke redirected a Kris Letang shot that beat goaltender Mason for the last goal he would give up for the night.
The reason Mason would give up no more goals was because he was yanked after two periods of play. Ex-Penguin Ty Conklin came in for the mop up duty and got some mixed reactions from the Mellon faithful. Go-Go welcomed him to the game about half way through the period with his second of the season from Crosby and Kunitz to make it 5-1. The Penguins squeezed the life (what was left) out of the Blues and won.
MAF was good again for his eighth win of the season. He is now 8-0-0 for the Penguins and has been cash all season. MAF was not tested greatly but he is making the routine save and never let the Blues feel if they had a chance to be in the game. That is a huge part of MAF's game that has improved. He is not letting up as many "softies" this year as he has in the past. He is maturing very well year after year and just gives Penguins fans a great feeling when he is in net.
The Penguins power play was 2-for-4 on the night. They are getting back into the groove of things but then the worst thing happened for that power play.
As many of you already know Sergei Gonchar will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist. Now, during the game we heard some things that Gonch went to the tunnel and some people were whispering that he had a bummed wrist. I immediately thought that he was going to be a three month thing and it was going to be a real detriment to the team. I actually think this isn't going to be as bad as everyone thought.
Go-Go and Letang are going to get some more minutes and going to be asked to carry that first power play unit. Last year Go-Go was thrown into the fire when he was asked to fill in for Gonch when he went down with his injury so this is not new to him. Last year there was a learning curve with those two but I think they will be alright.
Lets not get it twisted, Gonchar is very, very important to this team. The team will change in how they do things but this is not the end of the world. It is a month and a half, it could be a lot worse. The Penguins have a pretty solid group of blue line depth and the signing of Martin Skoula looks really good right now.
There are ups and downs in a season and you have to learn to keep an even keel and not get too up or too down. The Penguins will not be the same team without Gonch but they will survive. They will be alright.
Lets Go Pens