Man oh man. No matter how many guys have to get called up in order to play for regulars who are not playing the Pengiuns just come out and keep winning hockey games. They have won nine games out of the last 10 they have played and they are now on a four game winning streak. Just really outstanding and it's not like they are playing against terrible teams. While the Maple Leafs refuse to shoot the puck and love to give up as many shots as possible they are still a good team. Just really crazy stuff going on right now for the Penguins.
The Penguins got on the board first just 39 seconds in the game. Chris Connor got credit for the goal which was his third of the season. Pretty soon Connor is going to be playing on the first line the way things are going. With how shorthanded the Penguins are scoring the first goal of the game is going to be largely important and it was tonight. The Leafs got back into the game with a goal about six minutes into the second period but the Penguins never trailed.
The difference maker was Sidney Crosby. Big surprise. There was just about six minutes left in the game and with the way things have been going for the Penguins I kind of just wanted them to get at least a point. Even if they didn't win in overtime or the shootout just getting a point would be a good thing. The Penguins took a faceoff in the offensive zone and I think they lost it but Robert Bortuzzo kept the puck in and somehow Crosby was left WIDE open in the slot. Automatic.
Brandon Sutter hit the empty net with like five seconds left. Count it. That also serves as the Penguins first shorthanded goal of the season as the Leafs were on the power play at the time.
The Penguins PK gave up a goal for the first time in what seems like forever but they did kill off four other Leafs power plays including the one to close out the game. An 80% kill rate isn't that good but in a one game vacuum I will take it. The Leafs got their one goal on the power play and they were shut down the rest of the time.
Marc-Andre Fleury. 25 saves. Ho hum.
The Penguins dominated the faceoff circle. They won 11 more faceoffs than the Leafs and you guys know how I feel about that.
On the other side of things the Penguins turned the puck over 12 times. Some of that is that more than half their roster is first year guys but you can't turn the puck over that much and expect to win. It's not like this is just a recent problem either, it has been a problem for a majority of the season.
Philip Samuelsson made his debut tonight. He looked pretty good. He was very aggressive on the blue line and made a few head scratching plays but overall it was a good 15 minutes he played on the ice. It is really nice to see guys like him and Brian Dumoulin coming in and playing big time minutes in their first ever NHL game. The Penguins are showing that they weren't dumb for drafting all these guys that play defense. Well, that and they aren't very good at drafting forwards but that is neither here nor there.
Bortuzzo had a pretty eventful night. He assisted on the game-winning goal, got into a fight, and threw a pretty borderline hit. The last thing that anyone wants to think about is losing another defensemen for any reason but he got a two minute penalty for a check to the head. The hit is a little tough to read as he does make contact with the head but it doesn't seem like it is the principle point of contact. Jerry D'Amigo, the guy he hit, came in to play his next shift so I am not sure there will be much come of it but would it really surprise you if something did?
Just another really good win. Stack the wins.