Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Penguins Game 29 Recap - Penguins 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

This game started out pretty bad for the Penguins. A little less than 13 minutes into the game they were down 2-0 and you had that feeling that it was just going to be one of those nights. For most of first two period Anders Nilsson shut down the Penguins and it was the thought that a hot goaltender and playing in Long Island might do the Penguins in one more time.

Unfortunately for the narrative the Penguins settled down and the Penguins have the two best players in the game right now. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin absolutely dominated the game and while Malkin was a little out of control it was Crosby who tied the game and then threw the dagger in the Islanders back with a 1-on-3 game winner in overtime. I would describe it but it wouldn't do the goal justice.

My God.

Marc-Andre Fleury needs to get some credit here. He gave up a pair of goals early and the second one was really soft and rather than wilt and cave he bounced back and didn't allow another goal. His biggest save might have been on a penalty shot from Frans Nielsen halfway through the third period with the Penguins fresh on a power play down one. He made the save and then Crosby scored about a minute later on the power play. Fleury won't get an assist but he deserves it. He only saw 23 shots so the stat line isn't going to be very good but he was a huge reason the Penguins had a chance to win this contest.

The real turning point of the game came in the final seconds of the second period. The Penguins were really struggling but they got a power play with 45 seconds left in the period. As things looked like they were going to go south Malkin found James Neal with a sick pass from behind the back of the net and Neal scored with 15 seconds left in the period. Scoring a goal before the end of the period had to take some weight off everyone's shoulders and being down one is way different than being down two going into the final period.

The power play was only 2-for-5 on the game but it has been pretty much unconscious recently. The Penguins have seven power play goals in the last four games and putting them out there late in games and you are asking for trouble.

I am as big of a supporter of Kris Letang as any but he has been pretty brutal recently. No idea what they can do but the negative has been far outweighing the positive and it has just been hard to watch. Hopefully this changes soon but I have been kinda hoping that for some time now.

On the other side is Simon Despres. He didn't start the year with the team but since his recall about a week and a half ago he might be the best player on the backend for the Penguins. He logged over 19 minutes of action and is just making all the plays right now. The Penguins are in a bad place with injuries and being able to have guys like Despres on the hook to come in is really nice. This is all with Robert Bortuzzo (rightly or wrongly) still being a healthy scratch. Actually, Bortuzzo should probably be playing for Deryk Engelland, but that is another story.

The Penguins gave the puck away 18 times. No idea how they won this game.

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