Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Penguins Game 14 Recap - Penguins 4, Senators 2
-Good bounce back win for the Penguins after dropping a pair of games to New Jersey this weekend. The Senators were without Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek were not in the lineup and Erik Karlsson left in the second period with a pretty brutal injury so the Senators were playing at way less than 100% and the Penguins had to get this win and they did.
-The Penguins power play was ridiculously good tonight. The only tallied one power play goal in five attempts but they scored just seconds after another and they finished the last two plus minutes with a power play on a Chris Neil double minor where they were protecting a two goal lead and scoring probably wasn't the top priority. The power play goal tied the game at two in the second and the goal that Sidney Crosby scored seconds after a power play expired gave them a two goal lead. It was pretty clinical at times and without Karlsson later in the game the Senators had no idea what was going on and the Penguins were able to do whatever they wanted.
-Speaking of Karlsson, he left the game in the second period with a laceration to his left achilles, which will require surgery to repair and he will be out indefinitely. Just brutal news for the Sens who are already without Spezza and Karlsson is the reigning Norris Trophy winner. He is the best player on the ice for them at all times and now they will be without him for maybe the rest of the season. The play is a pretty tough one to watch but here it is:
That is just a really tough thing to watch and to be honest I can't watch it anymore. You never want to see players get hurt and the way that Karlsson reacted to that was just horrible to see. Obviously this is going to take a lot of heat because Matt Cooke was the one who hit him. There are some who thinks this is a dirty play and that Cooke somehow did this on purpose, but I don't buy it. I know I am going to sound like a homer saying that but I just can't imagine Cooke went with the intent on slicing a guys achilles. Does it look weird how he went into the boards? Yea, it does, but that doesn't mean he was trying to hurt Karlsson. Just a really unfortunate incident that I think we all with didn't happen.
-Crosby is ridiculously good. He had a goal and a pair of assists and he was the best player on the ice. While a lot of people are trying to get a winger for Malkin I think it always gets overlooked what Crosby has done with much, much, less. Malkin has a 40 goal scorer who is on pace for 37 goals in a shortened season. Crosby has Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. That is really no knock against either of those two guys because they haver performed well but Crosby has really only had one legit offensive winger in his career, Marian Hossa. Do you remember how unfair that line was? Can you imagine if Crosby had someone like Neal on his line? Oh my. He makes his line mates better and it gets overlooked. While everyone wants a winger for Malkin I just salivate the idea of Crosby having a true top six winger.
-Speaking of Neal, oh man. He scored twice tonight and while the go ahead goal was more of a gift of the puck finding Neal as he was standing alone by the net the first of his goals on the night was an absolute snipe on the power play. Not sure how many better shots there are in the game but Neal's is one of, if not the best. -Besides the, um, controversy, from Cooke he also got a lot of time on the second line with Malkin and Neal. While nobody is going to confuse Cooke for an offensive talent he actually didn't look too bad in his time there. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some more time there. He proved last year that he could score and he is a tough, grinder, type player that the line might need. Who knows where this goes but if we are just going to throw players in there why not see what Cooke can do.
-Joe Vitale isn't going to show up much on the scoresheet but he is playing some really nice hockey. He is a fourth line guy that is only going to get maybe 10-13 minutes a night but he makes the most of his time on the ice and it is good to see and something that you need to have when you have as much talent as the Penguins do. I would like to see Dustin Jeffrey back in the lineup but not at the expense of Vitale. If it were up to me I would probably sit Tyler Kennedy as he has been pretty bad so far this season. Just my opinion though.
-Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen were both back in the lineup tonight and nothing really big to talk about there. Letang logged over 27 minutes and in all honesty he only hadn't played in a few days so it wasn't like he was out for an extended period so he looked alright. Niskanen looked a little rusty and he only had just over 21 minutes on the ice and looked to be trying to get his feet back under him. He hasn't played since January 27 and to be honest I didn't expect him back so soon but it was good to get him back in there and get the dmen all back together.
-Paul Martin continues to be money. He is now playing the point on the power play and is doing an outstanding job of directing traffic and setting up scoring plays. He was pretty much the main reason that the Penguins scored on the power play tonight (their lone goal) and made an unreal pass to set up Crosby's goal. He is just doing it all right now on top of playing shutdown defensive hockey. Great to see.