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Billy and the Kid: Pens beat back the Avs 4-1

Avalanche vs Penguins coverage - Mile High Hockey

The newspaper will say 4-1 tomorrow, but that really doesn't do justice to how tight a game it was.  For the majority of the game, real estate was tight to come by.  The television guys accurately called it "marking up" as if guys were playing defense like they were on the soccer field.  There wasn't much open room for good chances.  The difference was a quick whistle and the Penguins power-play finally coming through.

T.J. Galiardi opened the scoring for the Avs on the power-play when he steered Darcy Tucker's effort past Marc-Andre FleuryJay McKee was in front of the net with Galiardi and has to do a better job to take the man or the stick out of the play.

It appeared Colorado would take the lead into the intermission until the impromptu line of Mike Rupp - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin struck.  Malkin upped the puck up and Rupp and Crosby passed the puck twice and #87 put it in an empty cage past a beaten Peter Budaj. 1-1 at the first break.

There'd be no more scoring until the third period; which was a huge break for Pittsburgh.  It appeared Galiardi had his second goal of the game, between Fleury's legs, but the referee from the side angle whistled the play dead, all the while the puck was in motion, and in the back of the net.  Unfortunately it's a play that can not be review.  It ought to have been a goal.  But it wasn't.  Just a bad break for Colorado.  Things have a funny way of evening up in a long 82 game season and hopefully they'll get the good end of a call soon to make up for it.

With the game still 1-1, the Penguins got a two man advantage.  They couldn't quite take advantage of it, but Crosby faked a shot and wired a perfect pass to Bill Guerin for a slam dunk goal.

That effectively ended the scoring, with Jordan Staal and Crosby tacking on empty netters to make the score look wider than it was.

  • Pittsburgh was no doubt lucky to catch a break on the disallowed Colorado goal, but they also earned the win by out-shooting the Avs 14-1 in the final period of a tie game.  They were the better team late.
  • Crosby set up the goal with a new tool in his offensive arsenal: the fake shot.  Teams have to respect him pulling the trigger, he's now tied for second in the league in goals.
  • Last year, it took until January 30th before Crosby got to 19 goals....This year he's there on December 3rd, almost two months better.
  • The Pens racked up 38 hits, everyone on the roster aside from Mark Eaton and the two goalies recorded at least one hit.
  • Ruslan Fedotenko is starting to turn things around...4 shots on goal (and 3 more misses, including a post) show he's firing away.  When he shoots, he plays well and produces.  He's getting there.
  • That T.J. Galiardi is quite impressive.  In addition to his goal on he night, he had a should-have-been goal and won 71% of his 17 faceoffs.
  • Matt Duchene might be the future, but the future was not tonight.  No points, a plus/minus of -3 (even though he was on the ice for both empty netters), two shots on goal in 18:50.
  • Paul Stastny, he of a Team USA future, also had a rough night in the final stat-line: No points, -3 (again on ice for both EN), just one shot on goal and only won 36% of his 28 faceoffs.
  • Both goalies played well, Budaj was tested more than Fleury, but both did well and did not allow any soft goals.  Any time the two goalies combined for three goals against, you can be sure both made some saves.
  • Evgeni Malkin had a somewhat quiet night, but still rang up three assists and helped the power-play get on the board.  It was a good night.

It was a good night indeed.  Crosby and Malkin put three points in their pocket and the team gets 2 of their own in the standings.  It was a quirky, hard-fought one that wasn't easy it looks at the end of the day.  But it's still a win.

Now onward to Saturday...I hear an old friend is ready to say hello again...Perhaps you remember him..