Friday, March 22, 2013

Penguins Game 32 Recap - Penguins 4, Islanders 2


-Another game and another win for the Penguins. They started the game off about as bad as you could but still found a way to overcome and get huge goals from role players en route to a 4-2 game. The Penguins got the final empty net goal as time expired so it was a much, much, closer game than you might think but the penalty kill was outstanding late and timely goals sunk the Islanders who are awful at home. Whatever. 11 straight wins. Love it.

 -The first period was about as terrible as you could have imagined. The Islanders outshot the Penguins 14-3 but only took a 1-0 lead into the intermission. The Penguins didn't manage their first shot on goal until around the 13 minute mark and the Islanders came with wave after wave of chances. They couldn't have felt good only being up one after that kind of domination to a period but Tomas Vokoun was up to the task and he won the game for the Penguins in the first period. Plane and simple.

 -Vokoun was tested a lot tonight and made 33 saves and was really good for a goaltending tandem that has been really good for the past couple of weeks. The Penguins have been playing a ton better defense which has been clutch since the offense has cooled off a little bit but no matter what kind of game they are playing they are playing winning hockey and tonight I don't know who might get the first star but Vokoun gets it in my book. Just another outstanding effort from him and exactly why he was brought to the team in the first place.

 -Not enough good things can be said about Paul Martin. Dude was just rock solid all night and to be honest I know I just got done talking about how Vokoun should be the number one star but if Martin was the number one star then I wouldn't even complain. That is how good he was for the Penguins tonight. It isn't even just the stand up defense, it is all the little things he does. He blocked three shots tonight and was nothing less than spectacular on the penalty kill. The Islanders got a pair of power plays late in the game with a chance to tie it and I really don't think Martin left the ice for any of it. At one point he blocked a shot from John Taverez then beat him in a battle to the puck, was tripped (wasn't called), got back up and got in front of the net to continue the PK. Just great stuff.

 -I didn't know what to expect when the Penguins got Mark Eaton and brought him back into the fold but to be honest it has been nothing but good since he started playing again. I talked about how good the penalty kill was with Martin and Eaton was his partner and was just as solid as Martin was. Eaton saved a goal early in the first period when Vokoun was sort of flopping around. Underrated pickup by Shero that has been paying huge dividends.

 -Brandon Sutter netted his fourth game winning goal of the season today off a beautiful pass from Matt Cooke. Really just an outstanding job of turning defense into offense by those guys. Sutter is going to get a lot of praise for putting the puck in the back of the net (as he should) but that was a beautiful job by Cooke to wait for the sliding dman to clear so he could get the pass through.

 -I know I have been giving the four line a lot of hell for how truly bad they have been but they were really good tonight. Joe Vitale scored the Penguins first goal after Craig Adams took a bouncing puck and found him and they just generally played good hockey. I know a good game from a line that has won 11 games in a row really shouldn't be headline news but for how bad the fourth line has played it was a really nice thing to see them rewarded while they were playing some good hockey. It was definitely noticeable.

-Flyers on Sunday at 7 p.m. Buckle up.

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