Entering today's game the Pittsburgh Penguins had yet to win at home (0-2) and Marc-Andre Fleury had seen two of his three last outings end in losses. The Pens definitely gave the fans something to cheer about today, scoring first and then carrying a one goal lead into the second intermission.
In the third period, Sidney Crosby looked like the Sidney Crosby of old, flying around the ice, unleashing great shots and terrific passes and fighting for positioning all over the place. Crosby took things over and with a goal and assist in the third lead the Pens to the win.
Fleury, for his part, was relatively untested. The Devils were only credited with 16 shots on goal. Their goal was the result of a short-handed play when they took advantage of the Pens lax back-checking. Defenseman Andy Greene, of all people skated right down the middle, got a great pass from Dainius Zubrus and beat Fleury five-hole. Not much the Pens goalie could do about that, but MAF did make a sterling glove save on David Clarkson in about the only time he was really tested.
Otherwise, just a great game for the team up and down the line. Since they got a little breathing room late, they could roll all the lines, and get everyone involved and not tire anyone out, which will be good since the team has to travel to Washington and get ready for tomorrow's matinee game against the Capitals.Some more thoughts on the game:
- The Penguins powerplay is back to "more harm than good" territory, 0 for 3 and yielding another shortie. Evgeni Malkin on the point isn't working out, no real fault of his own, but it's just a square peg and a round hole.
- Years from now, do you think Robert Bortuzzo grandchildren will believe the old man's story when he tells them about his NHL first goal. "Yeah kids, I got a pass from Sidney Crosby and I picked my head up and blasted a slapper by Martin Brodeur." (leaving the part of the defender deflection out, naturally). Hope they have some future version of youtube or something. But, in all seriousness, very cool moment for Bort, to get his first career NHL goal and be rewarded with being named game's 3rd star.
- While we're in the congratulating mode, Brandon Sutter notched his first goal as a Penguin when he drove to the net, received a pass from Crosby and followed his own rebound for a second shot that tricked in past Brodeur.
- Team domination for Pittsburgh in faceoffs, winning 62% (34 of 55 total). Joe Vitale (75) led the way and even Malkin went north of 50%. Just one of those days where all the possession worked out right.
- We've been harsh here about Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz, and both had potentially their best games of the season. Kunitz got a gift when Anton Volchenkov's attempted pass found his stick, but he was in the right place and made a great shot for the eventual game winning goal. Kunitz also had two assists, including a terrific pass to Kris Letang. Dupuis also recorded two assists on the night.
- Zach Boychuk, in game one as a Penguin didn't produce anything but showed flashes of his skill. It's still a long way from being considered a success, and right off the bat there needs to develop more chemsitry with Malkin and James Neal, but Boychuk definitely has shown he's got some skill, it's just a matter of applying it consistently.
All in all a great game for the Pens to skate to the win and do so in good fashion, controlling the puck and being fairly dominant in faceoffs and shots. The team will take a good feeling with them on to tomorrow's game in Washington where the Caps will be waiting for them.