Sunday, January 27, 2013

Penguins Game 5 Recap - Penguins 2, Senators 1 (SO)

It wasn't pretty but the Penguins finished with more goals than their opponent even though it took a great performance from goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and a shootout but as they like to say a win is a win. The game wasn't that pretty and the play wasn't that great for the most part but the Penguins got two points on a night where the Flyers got worked by the Lightning and the the Devils took an overtime loss in Montreal.

Overall the Penguins really struggled in the game. It was sort of just like the past couple games this season where they would start off playing a good first period then really falling off as the game goes on. They were turning the puck over and the power play wasn't good (again) but this time they were really able to tighten it up defensively and thankfully it didn't cost them any points in the standings.

This game was all about Marc Andre Fleury. If it wasn't for him today the Penguins would not have got the win in the shootout. They would have not earned a point by getting the game to overtime. They would have not had a chance. The defense was pretty good, and much better than the last two games, but MAF was bailing the team out on point blank chances and he earned the win. His counterpart Craig Anderson played just as well as MAF but just couldn't get the win in the shootout. Not that anyone should take any stock in the three stars after the game as voted on by the media but they gave Anderson the number one star over MAF. Keep being homers Canadian media.

Overall MAF made 31 saves and on more than one occasion he was one-on-one with a puck handler maybe ten feet away and making huge saves. He looked as confident as I can remember over the past couple years and his angles were very good and wasn't afraid to come outside of the crease to cut angles and not gives shooters a lot of room.

Paul Martin continues to be good and collectively the defense did their job. Matt Niskanen missed a vast majority of the game after getting only 6:39 of ice time due to a lower body injury and the Penguins rolled with only five dmen much like they did a few games ago. Not something you want to have to do often but the defense stepped up in a huge way. If Nisky is lost for any amount of time the Penguins are going to be in a lot of trouble so hopefully that is not the case. Maybe this will be the time we get to see Robert Bortuzzo and you have to assume that Simon Despres is going to be back if Nisky can't go. The job was done tonight but going forward it will take an even more consistent effort if Nisky can't go as he is one of the top four guys on the backend.

A guy we need to give some credit to is Eric Tangradi. While he only got just over eight minutes of ice time he was a key part in scoring the Penguins only regulation goal by James Neal and held his own as he was juggled between the second and fourth lines. This should earn him a little more playing time and maybe some more time on the second line but for as much I have beat him down he showed up today and played his best game of this young season.

The Penguins still turned the puck over a ton with nine and the Senators had 12 takeaways so there is still a bunch of work to do. Evgeni Malkin wasn't good again and just seems off and while the secondary scoring was good for the first two games of the season (both wins) it really hasn't given much to the Penguins since.

Not much more to say. The Penguins will take two points and not ask any questions, nor should they. They return to the CONSOL Energy Center for only the second time this season on Tuesday for a game against the Islanders before a huge stretch of games against the Rangers (Thursday), Devils (Saturday), and Capitals (Sunday). The only home game of that bunch is against the Devils and four of the next seven are on the road after four of their first five were on the road.

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