For the Anaheim Ducks perspective check out Battle of Cali.
On one hand the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a win, something we can all be grateful for during these tough times. On the other hand the Pens lost yet another defenseman, the third to drop in three days, as Brooks Orpik left the first period with what looked to be an arm/rib injury. Simply stated in vague NHL terms - "upper body injury."
Frankly it didn't look like he even did anything. I mean, of all the hits Orpik has ever laid on anyone, this was by far one of the more "gentler" ones. Yet he skates away in obvious pain.
Only in Pittsburgh.
And so the Penguins' chances for the playoffs improved slightly thanks in part to Matt Cooke's highly unpredicted performance. Seriously - of all the people to step it up for the Pens in the wake of these injuries, did any of you think it would be Matt Cooke? Malkin ad Sykora maybe, but not Cooke.
I guess Cooke is looking more and more like Ryan whats-his-name with each new game. Tonight he proved he doesn't need Sid to pick up some goals. That should at least bode well for when Sid returns.
Props to the defense too - what's left of them at least. They played a very aggressive game, not necessarily in the hitting department but more in the overall pursuit of the puck. Ryan Whitney led the team in minutes, registering 29:39 on the blue line as one of only five defensemen to make it through the game. In comparison, Paul Bissonnette saw only 2:07 of ice time, but made every second of it count with a Nathan McIver beatdown. More on that later from Dunman.
The real test will come Sunday against the New York Rangers. Healthy Crosby or not, this team showed it's capable of winning and is expected to do so again this weekend. Case in point - stay healthy.
The good: Evgeni Malkin's two assists.
The better: The defense/goaltending was solid.
The best: Matt Cooke's two goals.
Next game: Sunday. 12:30. Rangers.