Maybe so, but it was so only because of some timely goal-scoring and some really solid play from Marc-Andre Fleury. Evgeni Malkin scored a backhand goal to make it 2-0 late in the second period, and Paul Martin would add a goal in the first minute of the third period to really push the game out of reach. Just like that the Pens were firmly in the driver's seat and only continued to pour it on with two more goals before Scottie Upshall ruined the shutout after a nice faceoff play.
But, while that describes the game, it doesn't give the jist of the game. For the first 39 minutes the score was only 1-0, thanks to a Patric Hornqvist first period goal. Shots were 25-15 Florida, up until Malkin burst into the zone and snuck his shot by Al Montoya . It was a really close, really competitive game and Fleury was good to hold the team in until the goals started pouring in.
And oh did they every start pouring in. The Pens best players looked like their best players. Kris Letang made the play to create the first goal of the game. Malkin pounced for the second goal. Crosby made nice passes for goals three and four. Malkin scored the 5th. Those are the names you want to see producing, and they did in spades.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- Really tough game for Montoya there late. Seemed like he lost a lot of confidence. But for as bad he was and when things fell apart, Fleury built upon his game got better as the night went along. Tale of two different goalies and the Pens had the better one.
- Derrick Pouliot makes the right calls on the power play. Looks at his most natural there. 5 shot attempts on the night too.
- Nice to see Hornqvist get on the board on the PP, firing a shot from the slot after a nice pass from Crosby who had rotated down on the PP. That's the type of play they need to see more of with the man advantage.
- Mark your calendar, 2/22/2015 was the first time Craig Adams was made a healthy scratch as a Penguin. Truly a momentous occasion and hopefully one to be repeated more in the spring.
- Of the high-priced and best skaters that we pointed out skipped a practice on Saturday afternoon, they accounted for all 5 of the Pens goals. Can't ask for anything more than that. And after management challenged the team for this weekend's games, the Pens won them both, outscoring the opposition 9-3. Nicely done, now we'll see if they can transfer it into some consistency and keep it on track.