I haven't been able to do one of these in a while, but this should be fun.
The Cardiac Kids are back at it today opening up a franchise record eight-game homestand. A solid homestand here should solidify the Pens place in the playoffs and it all starts today against the hated Senators.
The Pens are coming into this game off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
The reason there wasn't a post about that game is because of the massive chest pains and stomach pains that game caused me.
Down 3-0 after an early goal in the third period, the Pens storm back to tie the game with three goals in 3:08 to tie it.
In overtime, Chris Kunitz cleanly beats Steve Mason, but catches iron. Seconds later, Ruslan Fedotenko channeled Sidney Crosby's hands and deked two defenders out of their skates. Mason came out to challenge and Fedotenko slides a nice pass to Kris Letang who was streaking in from the point. Letang fires a one-timer only to be flat out robbed by Mason's blocker.
In the shootout, Kristian Huselius scored the lone goal in the third round for the win.
During the intermissions today, I'll break down the three goals against in the Columbus game to update the Hal Gill Quotient.
Video Highlights Courtesy Of NHL.com
Some things to keep in mind today:
- Lead after two periods and your odds of winning are very good as Ottawa is just 1-25-2 when trailing after two periods.
- Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be the starting goaltender today with Mathieu Garon getting the call tomorrow against Boston.
- Petr Sykora is still listed as day-to-day, but could play this weekend. When he plays is the question.
- The Sentors lead the season series 2-1.
- Kunitz has caught fire since coming to Pittsburgh and has eight points in his last nine games. Thank you Ray Shero!
- The Pens are 9-1-2 under Dan Bylsma.
- Brian Elliot in net for the Senators
20:00 - Pens wearing the ugly powder blue jerseys.......
19:00 - Looks as if Sykora is in the lineup according to the Hockey Night In Canada crew. PP coming for the Pens. Mike Fisher for roughing.
18:17 - Couple solid chances down low for Bill Guerin, but Elliot is up to the task early
17:00 - Penalty killed, but some very good puck movement by the boys in blue and some solid saves by Elliot.
15:20 - Daniel Alfredsson rings a wrister off the iron behind Fleury, but it stays out.
14:07 - Senators get a ton of pressure thanks to two horrible pass attempts and turnovers by Hal Gill.
13:55 - SCORE! 1-0 PENGUINS - Eric Godard with an amazing individual effort. Who knew the big fella could skate like that?! Godard flew up the far boards to chase down a puck, beating the defenseman no less. He hauls in the puck along the wall by the hashmarks and makes a power move to the net looking for a teammate in the slot, but the pass goes off a Senator skate and behind Elliot.
13:30 - Fleury stones Mike Comrie on a breakaway. Nice save Flower.
11:24 - 1-1 Tie Chris Campoli fires a wrister from the point off a face-off. The puck had eyes and hit something in front of the net to deflect past Fleury. Malkin takes the blame on this one for losing the draw cleanly and then losing his man off the draw who set the screen. Full point for Geno.
5:34 - There hasn't been a whistle in a long time until Kunitz takes a tripping call. Sens head to the powerplay. Just as an observation, Gill has looked awful so far in this game. Every time he gets the puck on his stick, his hands turn to stone and he panics. Breathe Baby Huey Breathe!
4:27 - Pascal Dupuis runs over Nick Foligno for no reason. 53 seconds of 5-on-3 coming...
1:59 - Penalties killed, but the Sens rang two more posts on consecutive shots. Fleury getting help from his best friends.
End of period one and we're toed at 1-1. Pens lead 9-7 in shots, but most of those came early in the period.
Not a bad period, but the Penguins need to work on their in-zone play right now. Sens are getting to many good looks off turnovers and bad breakout passing.
In the offensive zone, the Pens need to stop looking for the pretty play and just fire it on net. Look what happened when Godard threw it on net. I rest my case.
Now let's go back to Thursday's game and breakdown the first goal:
Fedor Tyutin leads Huselius into the zone with a pass through a couple of Pens, but Kris Letang got caught flat-footed and a little out of position and ended up chasing Huselius instead of being in his face. Huselies protects the puck an moves to the top of the left faceoff circle. He fires a shot, but Letang recovered slightly to get a stick on Huselius' stick, but it wasn't enough to stop the shot. Instead, the puck comes off the stick as a changeup and beats Fleury through the 5-hole.
Points assigned - Letang 0.5 for being out of position, Fleury 0.5 for overreacting to the changeup and getting beat between the legs.
17:43 - Elliot makes a nice save on a Sykora one-timer from the high slot. Pens are picking up the physical play early in the period.
16:14 - Dupuis takes his second penalty of the game on a trip on Brian Lee. Nice acting job by Lee.
14:04 - SCORE!!! 2-1 Pens! - SIDNEY CROSBY WITH A TAP IN ON A BEAUTIFUL TIC TAC GOAL FROM JORDAN STAAL AND MARK EATON. The goal comes just after the penalty to Dupuis had expired. Eaton brought the puck up ice and hit Sid in stride. After a weak clearing attempt, Staal sends the puck down low to Eaton who finds Crosby wide-open on the backpost for the tap in goal.
12:58 - Fedotenko takes a high-sticking penalty after failing to lift Jason Spezza's stick and catching him in the face instead.
10:05 - Comrie throws an elbow into Brooks Orpik's face while trying to get around him. PP Pens.
8:37 - Chris Phillips is not happy with a by Kunitz on Chris Neil and a melee ensues. Phillips goes after Kunitz, Crosby goes after Phillips, Neil joins the fracas and everyone on the ice pairs off in the scrum. Phillips is physically manhandled by a linesman while trying to kill someone. Nice job zebra.
5:57 - Pens can't find the back of the net on a couple solid chances by Tyler Kennedy and Staal. Pens are starting to find some open ice to move into now though. Looks like the goal woke them up a little.
5:20 - Trademark glove save by Fleury. Nothing less than what we've come to expect out of the young goaltender. Still looks impressive every time though.
4:12 - Jesse Winchester holds Staal. PP Pens. Time to make the Sens pay for taking these penalties.
1:34 - SCORE!!! 3-1 PENS! - Kennedy buries a wrister on a 2-on-1 from Matt Cooke after Cooke stole the puck from Campoli at the Pens' blueline. Prety play again.
End of period two and the Pens have a 3-1 lead. Remember that stat about the Sens and their record after two periods when trailing that's noted above.
The other 2 goals from the Columbus game will be broken down after the game.
19:36 - Sens head to the powerplay after a hold by Sergei Gonchar, who has played a solid game so far.
16:59 - Penalty over. Fleury covers up the puck and takes a bump from Neil. Fleury punches Neil in the back of the leg with the blocker and another scrum ensues. Way to protect your paint Fleury, but he takes the penalty for slashing. Odd call, but in any event, the Sens have another PP.
15:59 - Dany Heatley drills Gonchar in the teeth with the stick while trying to lift his stick and draws blood. No word yet on how many missing teeth Gonchar might have now, but it's a four-minute penalty to Heatley.
13:50 - Anton Volchenkov has a "lower body injury" and will not return to this game.
11:13 - Kennedy has been something else lately. He's been flying around making plays and taking good shots. He's definitely been one of the best players on the ice today.
12-00 - 3-2 Pens - Foligno rips a wrister to the shortside twine through a sea of blue bodies. Fleury never saw it as Orpik, Staal and Gonchar were all screening him.
7:08 - Malkin gets wide open in the slot and takes a hard wrister, but Elliot is up to the task and leaves no rebound.
6:06- 3-3 Tie - Phillips ties it on a horrible turnover by Scuderi who attempted a breakoutpass/clearing attept. Heatley fires it off Fleury's shoulder and the puck rolls down him into the pain and Phillips pounds it home. This is all on Scuderi.
3:09 - I cant take this. Another two goal lead blown in the third period. Staring OT in the face for a 4th straight game.
2:02 - After a brilliant skate save by Fleury, Malkin kills the logo on Elliot's jersey again.
:5.8 - Gonchar battling with Heatley and somehow the refs call a tripping penalty on Gonchar. Complete and utter diver by Heatley.
End of period 3 and we go to overtime for the fourth straight game.
4:36 - Huge save by Fleury on a cross-crease pass from Spezza to Heatley. Keeps us alive for now.
4:25 - Another save by Fleury on a slapper by Heatley.
3:58 - Fleury eats one in the chest on a bomb by Filip Kuba.
3:45 - Fleury makes two big saves on Alfredsson and Spezza off a rebound. Pens losing every draw so far.
1:48 - Fleury is standing on his head to keep the Pens alive in this game. Fans are on their feet chanting "Fleury! Fleury! Fleury!"
End of overtime and we head to a shootout for the fourth straight game. Unofficial NHL record has been set by the Pens for most consecutive shootouts.
Pens got a couple chances including a 2-on-1 with Crosby and Malkin, but Elliot got the shoulder on a rising shot by Geno.
If the Pens win this shootout, everyone owes this win to Fleury for his spectacular play tonight especially in overtime.
Pens will shoot first.
Letang the first shooter - Letang bails on his usual move and Elliot makes the save.
Alfredsson - Dekes around the sprawling Fleury and the Sens lead 1-0.
Sykora - Stoned by Elliot on the backhand.
Spezza - Fleury makes a nice save on a backhander by Spezza to keep the Pens alive.
Crosby the last hope - SCORES!
Ruutu - Fleury makes the save and we're going to extras.
Malkin - Elects to shoot and not make a move and Elliot saves it with the glove.
Fisher - Fleury slams the door on the 5-hole and we play on.
Kunitz - Dekes Elliot out of hi jock, but goes over the net.
Comrie - Slides the pucks under the outstretched pad of Fleury and the Sens win the shootout 2-1 and the game 4-3.
Here's the remaining two goals:
Goal #2: Jackets dump the puck into the zone and Fleury comes out to play it. There's a big miscommunication between Letang and Fleury, which allows Antoine Vermette to steal the puck and fire an aerial pass out front from his knees. The pass connects with Jason Williams who fires a backhander from the slot to the shelf over Fleury's glove.
Points assigned: Letang and Fleury get 0.5 each for their little mishap behind the net that led to the goal.
Goal #3: Gonchar has the puck in the corner and coughs it up to Williams who finds Vermette out near the blueline in the high slot. Vermette tees one up and blasts it by Fleury for the 3-0 lead.
Points assigned: Gonchar takes full blame on this one as Fleury had no chance to stop that rocket.
Updated Hal Gill Quotient Standings:
Kris Letang - 5.84 - 11 GP
Marc-Andre Fleury - 5.08 - 14 GP
Sergei Gonchar - 4.58 - 12 GP
Hal Gill - 4.34 - 13 GP
Mark Eaton - 3.83 - 14 GP
Brooks Orpik - 3.59 - 14 GP
Rob Scuderi - 3.50 - 14 GP
Ryan Whitney - 3.5 - 6 GP - TRADED
Jordan Staal - 2.38 - 14 GP
Evgeni Malkin - 1.5 - 14 GP
Matt Cooke - 1.0 - 14 GP
Ruslan Fedotenko - 1.0 14 GP
Tyler Kennedy - 1.0 - 14 GP
Pascal Dupuis - .83 - 14 GP
Max Talbot - 0.5 - 14 GP
Referee Paul Devorski - 0.5 - 1 Game Reffed
Bill Thomas - .33 - 5 GP - WAIVED
Pens don't have long to think about this one that got away as the Bruins come to town tomorrow. Hopefully, this will teach them a lesson about those awful powder blue jerseys. For the love of God, STOP WEARING THEM! Show me a powder blue penguin in nature and I'll drop my argument. Until then, my point stands.