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Monday Pens Points: Quick Turnaround for Game 2

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Gibbons returns and bottom 6 is instantly better. Is vintage Sid back? How smart teams use analytics to guide player decisions. NHL '15 gets cool new features.

Jamie Sabau

And a good Monday morning it is!

Brian Gibbons was cleared to return and thankfully took #15's spot in the lineup, giving much more speed and puck winning to the bottom 6. Also he was excellent on the penalty kill. Great return for Gibby.

Great game by Kris Letang. He's had several good ones in a row, but last night was a sublime performance by a stupidly talented blueliner. When his decision making is that good, he's worth every penny of what he'll be making over the next 8 years.

The Rangers got three consecutive power plays last night through some ref gifts and people doing dumb things, but weren't able to capitalize on them, in part because our PK was spectacular but also were left looking for answers on the power play.

Jussi Jokinen extended his scoring streak to 6 games. Here he is, mic'ed up, sending that rebound home over a stretched out Lundqvist. and here he is explaining his scoring touch on that goal. Great work by JJ.

What was wrong with Sid? Maybe something, maybe nothing. He looked great last night, and that's all that matters. He even barked at Disco like an angry 'stache seal, which means playoff Sid is back.

Moneypuck is real after all. The Chicago Blackhawks are leading the way in using analytics to guide their personnel decisions, including but not limited to tracking zone entries to separate player performance in all three zones. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Maple Leafs, who think numbers are for nerds so they're happy overpaying for the likes of Clarkson. If you only read one article today, this is the one.

For all of you video gamers out there, EA Sports has released the official trailer for NHL '15. Quite a few cool innovations are coming, including real puck physics and vision AI. There will be some welcome changes on the commentary side, as they're bringing in Doc and Eddie, with Ray Ferraro doing ice-level commentary. And as for the new cover boy, we all know what needs to happen.

It's a quick turnaround and travel day, as game 3 is on tap tonight. I do hope Dan Carcillo's neck is feeling better. That much whiplash trauma is never a good thing. But hey, those who can't play, act.