After a mid-season trade from the St. Louis Blues to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Max Lapierre played 35 games. 0 goals 2 assists. -13. To call it forgettable would be a favor for Lapierre, who wasn't that good.
Suddenly though, it's playoff time and Lapierre has been a totally different player. He got 18 minutes of ice-time last game due to penalties, but having a 4th line center the coach can rely on to play that big of minutes is a huge boost.
We asked for more from the forwards, and boy did we get it in Game 2. Chris Kunitz (1g, 2a) played as good of a game as he has in months. Brandon Sutter continued his penchant for postseason production with a goal and an assist. David Perron, Patric Hornqvist and Steve Downie chipped in assists. Sidney Crosby was the most impactful player on the ice, scoring 2 goals. Perfect bounce back game for Pittsburgh in Game 2.
Gotta wonder just how healthy Evgeni Malkin is. Crosby took over Game 2, the Pens probably need Malkin to channel his 2009 playoff and take over a game in the future for the best chance of an upset. But it doesn't look like he's got it in the tank right now, despite efforts to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Never count out the greats though for making the most of a moment and coming through when it counts the most.
Malkin's goal saving actions show that he's capable of helping the team in many ways.
As one of many wonderful notes by Mike Colligan in an article yesterday, Taylor Chorney sure is fairing better and playing more confidently than Brian Dumoulin . With Christian Ehrhoff in the murky "day-to-day" return from a head injury, and Derrick Pouliot on an unknown time-table too, the Pens really just need 1 defenseman back right now. Sure, two would be nice, but Chorney is earning and getting more ice-time here lately.
AV: "We’ve played six periods of hockey, five of them I’ve liked, didn’t like the second (Saturday)."— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) April 19, 2015
Interesting opinion, I'd probably put it at about 4-2 Penguins- other than the first periods which always seem like a problem, the Penguins have been very good in the series...When they're not skating to the box.
But it just goes to show how close the difference in the playoffs can be. The Rangers feel they've won 5 of 6 periods, and yet the series is tied. A Pittsburgh blogger thinks the Pens have won more periods, and yet the series is tied.
One really good (or really bad) period can change it all.