Oilers Blog: Copper And Blue
I've yet to read any other recaps regarding this game, but if I had to guess the collective will possess to separate angles. On one side, you have the contingency of fans and writers who will see this as yet another two-point win, one that ultimately edges the Pens closer to a guaranteed appearance in the postseason, regardless of the opponent.
Then, on the other side, you'll likely see the complete opposite. Fans and writers saying that although the Pens managed two points, they did so against one of the worst teams in the league. While somewhat true in context, I don't think any fan of this team is in a position to be picky, especially given the scoreless outing Saturday afternoon against Montreal.
In other words, a win's a win, no matter how you look at it.
Although, to piggyback that a bit, I must admit that if the Pens think this past weekend is an example of the team that is ready for the postseason than I fear an early bounce from the playoffs is in order.
But for the sake of closing out the weekend on a positive note, at least we can praise them for the fact that it took just one period for the Pens to guarantee they would not be victimized by a second consecutive shutout when Chris Kunitz found the back of the net for his 19th of the year and first since Feb. 2. For a guy who has been more or less on the fringe of injury/recovery for the most of the season, it's comforting to see him net one (later two with a third period power play goal) in his effort to get back in shape for post-April play.
Max Talbot wants to score? Hey sure, why not? Since he scored those to now infamous goals against the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago, I feel there has been a lot of over-expectancy placed on his shoulders. Perhaps fans wanted more 20-30 goal seasons, something he's never done before and likely never will given the fact that 13 remains his single-season high. The reality is he's good for about 10 a year but should make up for it in other areas, such as the defensive side of the game. We've seen him lay out to block shots in the past, for good or bad, and on Saturday we even watched him put his face on the line (not the first time either) in an effort to like a spark under the team. Teams need a guy like Talbot, but few cities will ever place as high expectations on a player of his mold than that of Pittsburgh.
Other notables: Jordan Staal picked up his fourth point in four games with a goal and an assist today, while Zbynek Michalek scored his second of the year midway through the third to put the Pens up 4-1. Also have to give a pat on the back to Marc-Andre Fleury who, just one day after getting the hook against the Habs in a three-goal outing. Against the Oilers he stopped 28 of 29, allowing just one goal to Ryan Jones after the puck squeaked out of the pads on what would otherwise been a pretty fantastic save, given the Pens' inability to control turnovers at the time.
The win puts the Penguins at 88 points in the standings with 12 games remaining. Two more W's, or at the least four more points, will more or less guarantee a postseason berth. They'll look to get two of those points Tuesday against the Senators.