Defending Big D
Four fights might not put pucks in the net, but it sure is entertaining. And when one of those fights comes after the captain drops his mitts, then the intensity level has just gone up a notch. Unfortunately, it's also a desperation move on Crosby's part to try and rally this team.
Right from the start this thing had the makings of a blowout, as the Pens allowed two goals eight minutes into the match and went into intermission down 2-0. A porous Penguins power play was unable to convert on four chances, including one 5-on-3 opportunity that looked more like an ice dance than it did a team looking to score with the man advantage.
More sulking after the jump.
Brent Johnson didn't have the best of nights, but neither did the defense. Granted he may still stand out as the most reliable goaltender on the team with his 5-1-1 record, but the current issues with this team go further than the net. The aforementioned lackluster power play, injuries to big-named guys like Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin may not have kept them out of the game but they sure didn't look like they were on their game in this one. And while you can't get on Pascal Dupuis's case for missing this one after he rushed back home to be with his wife following the birth of their child, it would've been comforting to see if his recent string of luck could've at least sparked the Pens in this one.
The Dallas Stars did an excellent job of limiting the Penguins' open ice. Fortunately that was not the case when the Pens had the man advantage, and the open chances showed just why the Stars came into this game ranked dead last on the penalty kill. Sadly, Pittsburgh's inability to convert also showed just why the Penguins came into this game ranked 23rd overall on the power play. Not surprisingly, neither team managed to score a goal with the special teams.
While I'm handing out accolades I suppose I'd be remissed if I didn't include a mention of Loui Erikkson using a sick move to beat Johnson on a penalty shot in the second period. It was the Stars' first converted penalty shot in three years. Of course it was.
The 3-0 win on the road in Carolina the other night was the way you'd like to see a team kick off a road trip. This 5-2 loss to the Stars in the second of four games on the road is one of two things: either it sets them back for the remainder of what may turn into a very painful weekend OR it gives them a catalyst to turn things around Friday against the Ducks. Last season's west coast trip didn't pan out too well for the Pens, so perhaps the latter of the two comes with a bonus motive, even if it is just one game in Cali.
It's no fun to sit through a game like this. When the game thread starts to turn toward such topics as stink bugs, math quizzes and vending machine food, it's the sort of game you'll remember chatting about but wish you never saw. Still plenty of laughs though, and that counts for something.
Comment of the night comes from Cari in vague reference to In Lou We Trust and the hypothetical scenario of Lou Lamoriello being fired from the position of Devils GM. If you were in the game thread you caught the reference:
Or they could keep the name but it would become ironic. Like if our blog was called Yeo Must Go.
Misery loves company.
And now, Sid beating the face off Matt Niskanen.