Crazy game tonight for the Penguins and Sharks. Penguins got a point in a shootout loss 4-3. It is really late and I won’t get much chance to get anything up tomorrow so here are some few thoughts from the game tonight.
-Evgeni Malkin looked really, really, good. He was buzzing all over the ice and having his way with the Sharks. At the end of the game he was credited for two goal and an assist but one of those goals might get changed to James Neal, but whatever. In the games he has played this season Malkin has looked really good. Sure he might not have a ton of goals yet but he is making things happen in the offensive zone while playing some decent defense. He is creating chances for his teammates and things seem to be coming easy for Malkin this year after looking like he was trying to force his game last season. Malkin still turns the puck over a little too much trying to make some fancy plays but that is what you are going to get. He will make those plays more often than not.
-Even though it wasn’t the cleanest game in the world MAF played a really nice game. You might look at the box score and see that he gave up a couple of goals but when the Sharks cut the Penguins lead to one both times MAF came back with huge saves to not let the score go tied. His lateral movement is just unreal to watch. MAF also hit a barrage of shots in the second period after only seeing four shots in the first and you wouldn’t have been able to tell. He stopped 16-of-17 shots in the second and really weathered a pretty hard storm that the Sharks brought. It could have easily been a five or six goal night for the Sharks if not for the play of MAF. He faced 37 shots tonight and turned away 34 of them. He is at least one of the stars of the night in my book. What a goaltender.
-The Penguins hadn’t own in San Jose since 1997 and after a ton of days off and having to go to the west coast (again) you would think it would be easy for the team to take a while to get back into things. That was not the case. They got on the board two times in the first 2:04 of the game and really dominated the entire first period. Deryk Engelland got on the board 24 seconds into the game and then Malkin found the net 100 seconds and force the Sharks to yank starter Antti Niemi. Really solid start by the Pens.
-As good as the start was for the Pens they kind of let the Sharks back into the game, especially the second period and the second half of the third period. The thing that I mostly didn’t like was that the Penguins gave the Sharks some momentum at the end of the first period when Craig Adams decided to drop the gloves with Brad Winchester and then to start the third period Engelland went a round with Ryane Clowe. Really both fights were pretty unnecessary and with the two goal lead I think it would have just been well enough to not get into that stuff and just worry about putting another goal on the board, but that is just me. The Sharks are a very talented team and once they started going they really brought it. Could have been worse but whatever.
-I thought Engelland had a really nice game. He got the first goal really early and then played a pretty solid defensive game especially seeing that they were without Ben Lovejoy for almost half of the game. He gave Joe Thorton a pretty heavy shot in the first period and was pretty physical all game.
-Like I said Lovejoy got busted up a little bit tonight. He went into the boards very awkwardly and did something to his left wrist. He looked to be in a good deal of pain coming off the ice. Great, just what we need, right? Another d-man banged up and hurt. So is the life of a Penguins d-man.
-I gotta give mad props to Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss who came in to relieve Niemi and had a great night. He only gave up one goal on 30 shots and really took away a lot of momentum that the Penguins had after the first couple minutes of play with some big saves. He earned that point for the Sharks.
-Hard to say that this one doesn’t suck. The Penguins dominated play for the first period and played a pretty good game but let one slip away. When you enter the third period with a two goal lead you should get two points but that just didn’t happen tonight. San Jose is a pretty excellent team so I guess one point is better than nothing but I am kind of disappointed to only get one point. Whatever. Kings Saturday.