This was a really good and fun hockey game to watch. The Penguins actually came out and got dominated in the first period. Like, they didn't even have a shot for the first 18 minutes of the period. It wasn't really that they were playing horrible hockey it was just that the Ducks came out ready to play and it seemed like the Penguins were still stuck in New Jersey where they were at on Saturday night and got beat 4-1.
There are a few guys that could have been named the top star in the game. Evgeni Malkin had an unreal third period and almost willed the Penguins offense to victory and then there was Brian Gibbons who took a Malkin feed to open up the scoring with his first ever NHL goal. There is Sidney Crosby who sealed the game for the Penguins and there was a multitude of Penguins dmen who almost kept the Ducks off the scoreboard. It shouldn't be any of them though, this game was about Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Ducks held the Penguins to only three shots in the first period and they were able to register 12 shots and MAF was there for every single one of them. Despite the Penguins dominating play in the second period they were still without a goal and it was Fleury who made five more saves to keep the game scoreless. He did give up one goal but that came when it was already a two goal advantage for the Penguins. After that one goal got by he didn't allow the Ducks to get any closer and finished the game with 27 saves. He wasn't named the number one by the media, but he was the number one star.
A lot has been made about Malkin and about how he hasn't scored goals. I don't care. Actually, I shouldn't say that because I would like to see Malkin find the back of the net but the way he played the third period I am not even really sure it matters if he is the one scoring the goals. The pass he made to Gibbons after skating circles around the Ducks and then finding the open Gibbons on the backhand was a thing of beauty. It seems like Malkin is a little tentative with his shot and that might be a little concerning but I don't think he has been playing bad hockey, he just hasn't found the back of the net. I am sure it is frustrating for him but the goals will come.
Crosby was held without a shot after the first but he finished the game with three shots and one of them went into the net. Crosby only had one goal in the last 10 games and this one today was sick. He went far post, top shelf, through about 12 people to find the back of the net and after he regained the puck after losing it around the offensive blue line he was going to score and nobody was going to stop him. He barely celebrated and went back to the bench with almost a pissed off look on his face. Dude wanted it and he got it.
This was a really good game for the Penguins. The Ducks are one of the best teams in the entire league and they were actually playing to take the top spot in the league. The Penguins came in losing four of their last five games and haven't looked good doing it. They looked bad in the first but bounced back and finally took it to a really good Ducks team. Really good to see and it sets up a pretty big early season game against Washington on Wednesday. They have a tough slate of games coming up and this is a really nice sign after how they have played the last five.