On a night where the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't have anything to gain- they were in a hostile place with a lot of venom directed at a player with no need to engage or ability to earn anythig in the standings, the team still found a way to get in and out with the win.
And they did it the same way we've seen before, and that's Brenden Morrow making good things happen. In the first, Pascal Dupuis dished to Morrow and gave the classic "center drive" to the net. Morrow exhibited some great vision with a cross-ice pass to Dustin Jeffrey and the oft-scratched player made no mistake burying one by Craig Anderson.
Then a few minutes later, Jeffrey made a play behind the net to chip the puck over to Morrow. Quickly, Morrow angled a pass to Jarome Iginla who suddenly found himself with the puck on his stick, all alone in front of the net with a goalie not knowing where it was coming from. You know how that story ends. 2-0 lead.
Ottawa could score their only goal of the game off of a quick face-off win, the puck getting back to Peter Wiercioch, who hammered the puck by Tomas Vokoun. Two Penguins acted like a screen on the play for Vokoun, who didn't seem to be able to pick up the puck.
- Despite being out-shot 35-24, the Pens did many of the "little things" to put themselves in a position to win. They won a majority of the faceoffs, threw 34 hits (with all players but Iginla and Cooke (?) recording atleast one hit), 17 blocked shots and 6 takeaways.
- The Sens had a weird, half-assed obsession with Cooke. They wanted to get after him, but didn't really go all-out for it. Chris Neil did his weird "follow Cooke around" bit, knowing that Cooke wouldn't have a part of him.
- Speaking of Neil, he's like the kid that only acts tough when his friends are around to hold him back. Friends, in this case being the refs. Neil got tangled up and was antagonizing Brooks Orpik (while another full-fledged fight was going on) and that caught the eye of the Pens designated bodyguard Steve MacIntyre. Neil wouldn't even look Big Mac in the eye until two officials were in the middle.
- Speaking of MacIntyre, 4:31 played in his first (and only?) NHL game this season. He got a 10 minute misconduct by proactive refs for the Neil scrum outlined above- and hard to fault the officials there when the game could have devolved quickly, but MacIntyre proved his worth before the game even began. Coach Dan Bylsma announced #33 would be in the lineup, and the Senators- who may have dressed their designated bodyguard Matt Kassian (with the intention to rough up Cooke) suddenly decided to scratch him. A smart choice, since they need to win hockey games.
- Interesting how Simon Despres can go from healthy scratch to playing 20 minutes tonight, Jeffrey is long a healty scratch that had two points tonight, Deryk Engelland ended up a +2 in 16 minutes...That's depth and when the usual scratches come through like that, you can see why the game ended in a win.
- Tightly called game with all the penalties but the power plays didn't have a lot of power, with the teams going a combined 1 for 11 with the man advantage.
- Congrats to Tomas Vokoun for his 300th career NHL win in his 700th career NHL game. Even though Vokoun was called on to see 32 shots, mos were perimeter or not very dangerous looking efforts. Still, he needed to man the fort with Marc-Andre Fleury on daddy-duty and he did just that, in what's scheduled to be Vokoun's last game of the season. Though that remains to be seen if he'll be seen.
- And also congrats to Dan Bylsma for breaking the record set by Bruce Boudreau for quickest coach to 200 NHL wins. It's a really small drop in the bucket (and ask Boudreau if that saved his job) but it's still a credit to Bylsma who's coached his fair share of regular season wins out of a team that's had a lot of payroll on the sidelines, just like tonight.
And, luckily, that is that. The Pens were able to get out with minimal obvious injuries and take one more step closer towards playing for when it counts.