Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Penguins Game 34 Recap - Penguins 1, Canadiens 0

-13 wins in a row for the Penguins. They weren't the better team on the ice for the most part of the game but they did what they had to do to win. Montreal did a really nice job of clogging up the neutral zone and the Penguins only had a couple of times where they had a man open skating through and one of those times it was Sidney Crosby and all he did was wrist a shot past Carey Price on the rush and score the only goal of the game.

 -The win was great but the collateral damage could be really bad. Marc-Andre Fleury played another outstanding hockey game for the first two periods but with 49 seconds left in the second period Brian Gionta sort of push Tyler Kennedy into Fleury and it did not look good. At all. The Pensblog had a gif of what happened:

Outside of losing Crosby I don't think there is a guy on the team the Penguins could go more without right now. He has been an absolute rock for this streak and tonight he was the only reason the Penguins even had a chance to have the win. He is just locked in and for him to go down, and really look bad when he got back up, is not a good thing. Obviously we won't know a lot right away and I am sure he will go through some concussion stuff tomorrow morning but I just don't have a good feeling about this.

-I am not sure if Gionta did this on purpose but it is not like he hasn't done this before. In one aspect I can see where he does push TK into MAF but in another one I could see how someone says this is incidental contact and just a freak accident. I am on the fence on it but with the way the Penguins responded to start the third in terms of Gionta you know they thought it was on purpose.

 -That being said Tomas Vokoun did a pretty great job coming in and shutting the door. The way the game was going there wasn't going to be a lot of opportunities and early the Pens were focusing a little too much on Gionta and you just kinda had that feeling that Vokoun was going to have to be perfect to get two regulation points. He was. He made all 12 saves and did what he had to do. Just as important to the shutout as MAF was in the first two periods.

 -The Penguins did not play that great of a hockey game. They turned the puck over a bunch of times and were kept in their own zone for extended periods of time. They were only credited with seven turnovers but it seemed like much more than that. They only had 12 shots through two periods of play and if not for some great goaltending this game would have been their first loss of the month.

 -I don't think this is an overall concern because the Penguins can play any kind of hockey game but they have scored two or less goals in four of the last five games. They are playing some really good defensive hockey and they have unlimited offensive potential, but they just haven't been finding the back of the net. James Neal has struggled and it will be interesting to see how things go when Evgeni Malkin comes back.

 -Kris Letang looked pretty good tonight coming back. It can get lost, because of the streak, what Letang really brings to the table as a playmaker. It was interesting to see how physical he was tonight in the defensive zone and that was good as it makes me feel as if he isn't thinking about the injury that sidelined him and he is just focused on playing.

 -Brenden Morrow looked pretty good in his first game action. He was winning puck battles and drew a penalty. Not too much you can take from one game but so far so good.

-Penguins host Winnipeg on Thursday and then the Islanders on Friday to try to extend this unreal streak.

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