Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Penguins Game 80 Recap - Penguins 5, Bruins 3

It wasn’t a pretty game but it worked. The Penguins went on the road for the last time this season and took a 5-3 decision from the Bruins in a game that probably isn’t going to mean a whole ton in the end. The Bruins already have the two seed sealed up and all the Penguins are playing for is home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs after the Rangers clinched the Atlantic with a win over the Flyers.

This wasn’t a particularly pretty game for the Penguins but the difference between this and the games before was that they were able to land the knockout punch after blowing another two goal lead. Does it suck to blow a two goal lead? Yea. Does it feel great to then win the game by two? Hell yea.

The defense wasn’t that great overall but Brent Johnson seemed to have found his swag back and won his first back-to-back games of the year with a really nice performance. The Bruins were able to get a few too many odd man rushes and they scored on a couple of them but Johnson was able to shut the door on a couple of them to give the Penguins the win.

Sidney Crosby decided to show up to the party and scored a couple of really pretty goals, one during a 4-on-4 segment and on the power play. There was some worry from some that after he came back he wasn’t scoring enough goals but I think he is starting to do that now.

James Neal also found the score sheet with his league leading 18th power play goal. It came during a 5-on-3 power play that preceeded the Crosby power play goal but maybe the most important part of the goal was that it was the 40th of the season for Neal. Really amazing after the struggles last year and it is great to see a scoring winger really come up big for the Penguins. Neal also has been getting under the skin of opposing players and tonight he got into a scrap with Andrew Ference. No idea how Ference didn’t get an instigator penalty but obviously that penalty doesn’t exist. Neal didn’t back down and got the better of Ference. Great to see, I mean besides the fact that you don’t want Neal throwing down right before the playoffs.

Really scary moment for Joe Vitale in the third period. Zdeno Chara took a wrist shot and it hit Vitale up near the face. It didn’t break the skin but that is mostly due to the puck hitting him more on the side of the neck and when the trainers were able to get to him you could see that it was hard for him to catch his breath. Hopefully he is alright. He’s tough.

Kris Letang added three assists to his total this year. What a player. He was also big on creating the 5-on-3 as he sold a high stick that really didn’t hit him in the face but was close enough to get the call. Besides that he really makes a difference for the Penguins and makes the power play click. The pass he made to Crosby on his power play goal was ridiculous.

Paul Martin scored his first goal in 41 games. Paul Martin Powerball was won. You would have thought the Penguins won the Stanley Cup on twitter. It was awesome.

Pascal Dupuis extended his points streak to 15 games which is the longest streak this season. Underrated player.

Penguins play the Rangers on Thursday.

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