Friday, April 5, 2013

Penguins Game 39 Recap - Penguins 2, Rangers 1 (SO)

-It wasn't pretty and it probably wasn't the performance they were looking for but the Penguins got it done tonight. It took getting to the game to a shootout and an unreal performance by Marc-Andre Fleury but the Pens got two points and all was good again in Pittsburgh.

-This was all about Fleury. He was on the top of his game and outside of a Rick Nash goal that came off a faceoff with about seven minutes left the Rangers just couldn't anything past him. Make no mistake that the Rangers got some really outstanding looks but Flower was just there every single time. With the Penguins struggling to score goals it is really going to fall on the goaltending to pick up victories and MAF was up to the task tonight. Wednesday against the Rangers was the fifth time that he has given up four or more goals in a game. In the game following he has let in two or less goals in four of those starts and in the other game he let in three. He is really good in a bounce back situation and nothing was different tonight. 

-Continuing with the trend of players that get traded to score in their first game Jussi Jokinen got the Penguins on the board with the first goal of the game just 30 seconds into the first period and then was the only player to find the back of the net in the shootout that sealed the win. I think we all kinda relatively knew what the Penguins were getting with Jokinen but he really showed it all tonight. He was all over the ice early and then scored the goal while also winning 13-of-15 faceoffs. Just a really great all around game. This is the kinda stuff that the Penguins need when the top stars aren't clicking and Jokinen can do that from time to time. I don't think he is going to be a great offensive threat but he has really good hands and a decent shot so it's a really good pickup for the Penguins. 

-Really odd situation in the third period as there was a small skirmish behind the Rangers net and as things calmed down a little bit the camera went to the Rangers bench as Rick Nash slashed Matt Cooke, from the bench, and then went and hid behind two of his teammates as Cooke was asking him what the deal was. 


(pic via Ken

Yea, that is Nash after he slashed Cooke from the bench. Look, if you are going to do something like that then don't turtle after you do it and run and hide like you did nothing. Be a man and stand up and at least say something back. Don't be a little kid and hide like you did nothing wrong. Look Nash has talent and he is the most prolific offensive player on the Rangers team but that is some little league bullshit. Stand up for yourself or don't do anything. 

-A play that was really weird before that Nash incident happened was a play involving James Neal. The Penguins were on the power play and as Neal went behind the net to play the puck he was hit by Michael Del Zotto that resulted in Del Zotto's elbow hitting Neal in the head and probably giving Neal a concussion. Now it was weird because Del Zotto's back was to Neal and as he was being spun around his elbow hit Neal in the head. By no means do I think this was intentional. I have no idea if the NHL will have a talk with Del Zotto about it but it was more of an unfortunate accident. Hope Neal is OK but it didn't look like he was as he skated off the ice. That would be a huge hit to an already depleted lineup. 

-Brooks Orpik needs to figure it out. When Paul Martin is his defensive partner he is about as solid as you can expect him to be but when Martin is out of the lineup he is just brutal. Too many times he is taking himself out of the play to make a hit one someone who is just getting rid of the puck to someone that he should be covering. He is becoming a huge liability and with Martin out until probably the second round of the playoffs this could be a problem we see for the rest of the month. He needs to be better, a lot better. 

-Evgeni Malkin just hasn't been himself since coming back from his shoulder injury. From everything I have heard and understand it takes some time to get over a shoulder injury and I would be pretty shocked if Malkin was 100%. That being said he should look better than what he has been showing. I am not really sure what it is but he just seems to be a tick off in his play. He is still able to make some things happen but he hasn't been as crisp as he has been in the past. While I am worried about Orpik I think that Malkin will be fine going forward. He's had sort of an up and down season so far and before he got hurt he was really starting to play some good hockey. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start to pick it up over the next couple games and that would be perfect if he could hit his stride going into the playoffs. 

-Not much else to go on. The Penguins are starting to get pretty banged up but the good thing is that they don't play again until Tuesday. They played a lot of games up until this point and now that things are starting to wind down they are going to get a few more off days than most other teams and they are going to need it. Rumor is that Kris Letang might be back for the Carolina game on Tuesday and if that is the case it would be a huge boost to the defense who has looked a little off lately.

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