Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pens beat Lightning

The Pens took on old teammate Ryan Malone and the Tampa Bay Lightning last night at Mellon Arena and came out with a 4-1 victory. The Pens are now 7-1 with 14 points and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sitting pretty with a perfect 7-0 record. The game looked about like it should have, the Pens dominating a lesser team, even giving the Lightning seven power plays in which they could only score once. The Pens cannot continue, however to give teams this many chances because all teams are not like the Lightning. We can't figure out exactly what it is with the lack of discipline or why but it is an aspect of their game they need to cut down on.

Speaking of things the Pens need to work on, the power play could use some help. The Pens were not bad in terms of puck possession, but were doing a heck of a lot of passing at times last night during the power play and not enough shooting and scoring. The Pens even had over a minute and a half on a 5-on -3 in which they couldn't capitalize. The Pens did have one power play goal courtesy of Billy Guerin early in the first period to put the Pens up 1-0. Assists coming from Evgeni Malkin and Alex Goligoski. Before the first period was over the Pens would make the score 2-0 on a Sergei Gonchar goal assisted by Brooks Orpik and Sidney Crosby.

In the second period Pascal Dupuis would take a tripping penalty to put the Lightning on the power play. With 13:42 left in the second, Steven Stamkos would score the Lightning's first and only goal of the night. But it wouldn't take long for the Pens to answer that goal with one of their own to take back their two goal lead. With 11:45 left in the second, Sergei Gonchar would appear to have another slap shot goal but it would later be awarded to Dupuis with assists from Ruslan Fedotenko and Gonch. Score now 3-1. The Lightning would take a ridiculous amount of penalties at the end of the second period, even giving the Pens a lot of time on a 5-on-3 but the Pens could not convert. The period would end with the Pens up 3-1.

The Pens would still have over a minute of power play time to start the third period but no goal once again. The Pens would get even more power play time during the first half of the period but there was still nothing going on there. But the scoring wasn't quite over for the Pens. With 8:39 left in the third, Mike Rupp would get his second goal from a nice Sidney Crosby backhand pass that would put the Pens up 4-1. The Lightning would get plenty of chances to score thanks to some penalties by the Pens but would fail to score another goal, even after pulling their goalie. Pens win 4-1.

- We weren't sure about the Jay McKee signing but once again it's another example of just trust Ray Shero. McKee had SEVEN blocked shots last night and leads the league with 28 of them. He's not afraid to sacrifice his body to help the team, exactly as he was advertised.

- We've mentioned it before and we'll say it again, Alex Goligoski looks great. We thought he was good in his time with the team last year with Gonchar out but he's remarkably better this year. He made several great plays last night and even had a few tricks up his sleeves like his nifty backhand pass at the blue line during a power play. Looks like losing Scuds and Gill wasn't as painful as we thought.

- Fleury continues to look great. Not that he hasn't always been a loose and laid back kind of guy but he looks amazingly relaxed all the time. He has even more reason to stand in his crease and smile with a perfect 7-0 record this year and seeing pretty much anything that comes his way.

- How good do the Pens look in general? They are definitely not playing perfect hockey and taking way too many penalties and the power play could use a little help getting going but they're winning games and looking good doing it. If they can fix those faults, continue to get scoring from all lines, and Fleury keeps playing the way he has in the last seven games and it's kind of scary how good they could be.

Next game is Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on Versus against the St. Louis Blues.

FSN has been airing segments called My Day With Stanley that chronicle what the players did on their day with the Cup. Last night was Geno and here's the video.

Let's Go Pens!

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