Man, these late nights kinda really suck don’t they? I mean I have to work this weekend and have to get up really early in the morning and I am having (well, not having) to stay up for the Pens game until after midnight. Meh, whatever. The wait was good tonight as the Penguins got the win in Calgary in a sort of uncomfortable 5-3 fashion.
There are a ton of ways to win games in the NHL but I think if you looked at the definition of team win then I think you would see this game tonight as one of those games. There was primary scoring and secondary scoring and some pretty good defensive team. The Flames aren’t necessarily a good team but if they can get some momentum they can dominate you. The Penguins were clearly the better team coming in and they took care of it after weathering the storm in the first five minutes.
Like I said above the Penguins weathered the storm in the first five minutes of the first period. It was the first game of the season for the Flames and they were definitely jazzed for it. They were flying and got some pretty good chances but the Penguins fought through it and both teams seemed to try and figure each other out for a while.
The Flames got on the board first with a goal on a beautiful cross ice feed from defenseman Mark Giordano to Curtis Glencross and it looked like that the Flames might use that to really start pushing the issue and piling it on, but after that it was all Pittsburgh.
The Pens scored four goals in a dominating second period. They got secondary scoring from Matt Niskanen and Craig Adams and then got primary scoring from Tyler Kennedy (yes, he is a primary scorer right now) and Evgeni Malkin. You know what was awesome about the four goals? Two of them were on the power play. That would be four power play goals in two games for the Penguins. I remember last season when we were praying that the Penguins would just decline power plays because they were so terrible at it. Not anymore.
-Malkin looked much better tonight and seemed as if he was more in sync with the game. Things flowed better for him and he was rewarded for his hard work with a power play goal. There are still parts of Geno’s game that need improved which includes discipline but overall he improved from the first game. Malkin has been taking a ton of penalties and cost the Penguins a 5-on-3 tonight. After drawing two penalties the puck was touched up and Malkin was getting messed around with by a Flames player and Malkin took a swing at him and took a penalty to nullify a 5-on-3. Just a little silly to throw the punch and Malkin could have been thrown out for not having his jersey tied down. I understand why Geno threw the punch but it probably shouldn’t have happened.
-Joe Vitale has played some fantastic hockey this season. You would not know it by looking at the standard stats that you see in the paper but he is a good energy guy that wins a ton of faceoffs. I know some people want to see Richard Park in the lineup but there is no room for him, especially with how well Vitale has been playing.
-Interesting situation in the second period when Matt Cooke took a shot to the head from Cory Sarich. It was a pretty clear shot to the head although I am not sure if it was intentional but to be honest that shouldn’t matter. There was a follow through that was directed at the head and Cooke had to go to the quiet room for the rest of the second period. Save your ironic and “Cooke deserves it” jokes because they aren’t funny and they make you look like an idiot. This is the stuff the NHL is trying to get out and I wouldn’t be shocked if Sarich is suspended. It could be viewed as unintentional so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was no suspension. Should be interesting to see.
-The Flames got another couple goals in the third period and really got back into the game with about four minutes to go. I have no idea what the deal is when the Penguins get a comfortable lead they just take the foot off the gas and let teams get back into the game. They still won the game but it needs to be easier than this. The Penguins were dominating for the first two periods holding the Flames to only nine shots in the first two periods but the Flames found some flow and had 10 shots in the third and scored on two of them. Staalsy scored the empty netter but when you have a three goal lead you need to shut it down.
Pens better be ready as they go to Edmonton tomorrow. Game time is in like three minutes.