Saturday, March 30, 2013

Penguins Game 36 Recap - Penguins 2, Islanders 0


-Three games and three straight shutouts. Ho hum. Just another day in the Pittsburgh hockey world and the 15th straight win for the Penguins with a 2-0 victory. The win was also the 11th straight regulation overtime win with only one of those wins coming in a shootout for those people who are going to argue this streak is meaningless because of the shootout. Heh.

 -First ever NHL team to have a perfect month. 15-0-0 in March. Just unreal.

 -Tomas Vokoun. Man. Dude made 35 saves and was rock solid the entire game. With the game scoreless Michael Grabner came down on a breakaway and Vokoun straight stoned him. At the time the offense wasn't getting much going and if Vokoun lets one by it might not go as well for the Penguins but he made the save and the Penguins went on to score a pair of goals, the only two goals of the game. It was his second straight shutout and now the Penguins have shutouts in three straight games where Vokoun has seen action in all three. He was pretty soft during a portion of play right before this winning streak started but he has been absolutely rock solid recently and a huge reason the Penguins are still even in this streak. What a signing by Ray Shero.

 -The big news out of the day was the loss of Sidney Crosby after he took a puck to the face. Now, it wasn't a straight shot to the face, rather a shot by Brooks Orpik that deflected off a stick to the face of Crosby but nonetheless he was left bleeding on the ice. Not a good thing to see. There wasn't much information on it early but just as the start of the second period it was said that he wouldn't return and then a little time later Darren Dreger tweeted out that he was headed to the hospital for some dental work. The shot hit him right in the front of the mouth and I have to assume that he lost at least a few teeth. That dental work is not going to be fun. It will be interesting to see if Crosby wears a full cage when he comes back. If he has to have something like a root canal done then he is going to need some time for that to heal and if he wants to play (and is cleared to play) on Tuesday then he will probably have to wear some sort of full shield. Hopefully it is nothing worse but from what I have seen it seems like he will be OK.

 Here is a video of the incident:


 After I was about to publish it this came up:
No idea what that means.

 -Another interesting happening happened near the end of the second period when Chris Kunitz got hit with a five minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind. Kunitz hit Josh Bailey semi from behind around the goal line and Bailey went into the boards and stayed down on the ice. He was a little off balanced when he was hit and since it was called hit from behind I believe (could be wrong) that the game misconduct is automatic but it was just the wrong call. I could see giving Kunitz two minutes for the shot but the five and game were just too much. I will admit that it looked pretty bad live so you have to give the officials some leeway because they don't get slow motion replay but after losing Crosby this really put the Penguins shorthanded.

 -So the Penguins had to kill off a five minute power play time which is bad enough but almost three mintues into that power play Brooks Orpik took a bad tripping penalty and made it a full two minute 5-on-3. The penalty kill was nothing short of amazing. Matt Cooke might have played the entire PK and it was probably his best five minutes of hockey of his entire season. It was that good. He was blocking shots and taking 20-30 seconds off the clock after getting the puck on a forecheck and playing keep away. I really can't put into words how good the PK and Matt Cooke were during those five minutes.

 -That penalty kill alone made Cooke the first star in my book but he really sealed the team when he scored a goal 8:10 into the third period to break a scoreless tie. Big faceoff win by Tyler Kennedy and the puck found Cooke who was fairly all alone after he gather the puck and found the back of the net. He then gave a pretty serious fist pump. It was awesome. The best part might have been the following faceoff when Matt Martin tried to chirp him and all Cooke did was lay out Martin on the ensuing shift after the faceoff and the CONSOL crowd was absolutely going nuts. Just couldn't ask for a better game from Cooke considering what the Penguins were missing on the offensive and defensive end.

 -Oh yea, Jarome Iginla. You can absolutely tell that he was sort of lost at times out on the ice but that is to be expected. He landed in Pittsburgh just after midnight last night and didn't get to skate with the team at all and was able to just jump into action. He actually looked better than I thought he would but you can absolutely see he still has it. When he starts to get a better feel for James Neal and Evgeni Malkin watch out.

 -The second line was out of its mind in the second and third period, the third especially. I talk about the first line of Crosby, Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis being able to just keep pucks away from the opponents and that is exactly what the second line did today. Neal was very strong on the puck and Malkin was just about his usual self. It was really great to see since the Penguins were missing two of the top three goal scorers for a vast majority of the game. Really just looked great out there.

 -Pascal Dupuis is just wildly underrated. He has been great on the first line with Crosby and Kunitz but I think a lot of people still don't really give him the credit since Crosby is there to create so much. That is fine because to an extent that is true. On the other side the Penguins don't have a more versatile player that can do nearly everything on the ice. He kills penalties and plays on the top line and today he was on the first power play unit running the point. Just an invaluable player to have on the roster.

 -For all the flack that I (and many others) give Tanner Glass he played a really nice game today. He was winning puck battles and setting up plays all over the place early in the game. They didn't turn into goals but after the first couple of months he had he really needed to play well for a full game and that was today.

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