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Monday, March 9, 2009

Pens Win Thriller In Washington For 6th Straight Win

BallHype: hype it up!

This is borderline insane and I'm not sure I fully believe it.

Somebody pinch me.....please.

The Penguins have won six games in a row now after knocking off the Capitals 4-3 in a shootout Sunday. Should the game have gone to a shootout? Absolutely not.

The Penguins came out flatter than a day old open beer in the third period with a 3-1 lead and the Caps pounced scoring two goals in 49 seconds to tie the game. I was at Caps/Pens game at the Igloo on Oct. 16 and the same thing happened. The Pens had a 3-1 lead and gave up in the third period and lost 4-3. Thankfully they learned from that mistake this time around.

The shock from those two goals was rather apparent, seeing as how the team looked scared to be on the ice for most of the period after that. If not for a couple of powerplays, they may not have pulled this one out.

There was one scary moment late in the third period thanks to good pal Hal Gill. I have never been more proud of his poor puckhandling skills.

With under five seconds to play, Gill attempts to clear a bouncing puck out of danger in the slot. The key word there is "attempts." Gill fires the puck to the endboards behind Marc-Andre Fleury and barely misses turning the red light on for the Capitals. Had he done that I would have needed a new television.

Video Highlights Courtesy Of

Here's some notes from the game:

- Bill Guerin had three points (1G 2A) in the game today. The top line of Sidney Crosby - Chris Kunitz - Guerin is working rather well so far.

- The top powerplay unit is still a shade off from regaining the lethal form it once had. Guerin parking his wide frame in front of the net resulted in one goal tonight on a bomb from Sergei Gonchar. That's a good sign if you ask me.

- Fleury had a roughly .950 save percentage before today's game in March, which is a league high. He played spectacularly again today and came up huge in the shootout stopping Alex Ovechkin to win the game.

- Petr Sykora did not dress for this game due to "an upper body injury," according to the Pitsburgh Tribune-Review. He is listed as day-to-day.

- The Penguins finish this pivitol five-game roadtrip with a perfect 5-0 record. That is a franchise best mark.

- The Bylsma Penguins are now 8-1-1. Not a bad start for the new coach.

- The win prevents a season series sweep by the Caps for the first time in history as well. The Caps have come close to sweeping the Pens a couple of times, but that record lives on for another year now.

The Penguins are making me do some extra work today in breaking down three goals against, but a couple of these are rather simple.

Goal #1 - Alexander Semin dekes around Fleury down low

Kris Letang is set up behind the net and attempts a long outlet pass intended for Evgeni Malkin. The pass fails miserably as he hits Nicklas Backstrom, who was applying pressure. Backstrom picks up the loose puck in the corner and hits Semin rushing into the slot to tie the game at 1-1.

Points assigned: Letang gets the full point for the awful outlet pass.

Goal #2 - Ovechkin Powerplay Goal

Mark Eaton blocks a shot in the slot. Brooks Laich picks up the loose puck and passes it back to Mike Green at the point. Green goes point-to-point to Ovechkin who takes a couple steps toward the net and fires a wrister behind Fleury. The puck appears to have gone off Gonchar, who was battling with Laich behind Fleury at the side of the net.

Points assigned: Max Talbot gets 0.5 for being too far away from his pointman (Ovechkin) and allowing him to get a higher percentage shot. Gonchar gets the other .5 for not getting body position on Laich and as a result of the battle, the puck hits Gonchar and goes in.

Goal #3 - Laich Breakway Off Bad Line Change

David Steckel
catches the Pens in a horrific line change on defense and connects with Laich on the home-run pass. Laich walks in on Fleury and almost loses the handle on the puck, but puts on a nice move and roofs it behind Fleury to tie the game at 3-3.

Points assigned: 0.5 each to Letang and Eaton for the horrible line change. It was poorly executed and Washington made them pay as a result.

Updated Hal Gill Quotient Standings:

Kris Letang - 4.84 - 9 GP
Hal Gill - 4.34 - 11 GP
Marc-Andre Fleury - 4.08 - 12 GP
Ryan Whitney - 3.5 - 6 GP - TRADED
Sergei Gonchar - 3.25 - 10 GP
Mark Eaton - 2.83 - 12 GP
Brooks Orpik - 2.75 - 12 GP
Jordan Staal - 2.25 - 12 GP
Rob Scuderi - 1.50 - 12 GP
Matt Cooke - 1.0 - 12 GP
Ruslan Fedotenko - 1.0 12 GP
Pascal Dupuis - .83 - 12 GP
Max Talbot - 0.5 - 12 GP
Referee Paul Devorski - 0.5 - 1 Game Reffed
Bill Thomas - .33 - 5 GP - WAIVED

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