Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pens spoil Tavares' debut

The Pens went to New York and spoiled the Islanders' home opener as well as last year's first round draft pick, John Tavares' first NHL game. The big story line was John Tavares' first game in the NHL and he didn't do half bad, scoring his first NHL goal and assist, but Sidney Crosby decided not to let him have a perfect night by scoring the game-winning shootout goal. It wasn't easy and the Pens didn't look nearly as sharp but they came back from two one-goal deficits to beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout.

After each team had had a failed power play, Sidney Crosby would score the first goal of the game with 11:10 left in the first period. Taking a nice off-the-wall pass from Ruslan Fedotenko, Crosby was off to the races on a breakaway in which the defense was no match as he snuck the puck past Roloson five-hole for his second goal in two games to make the score 1-0.

We would see our second fight of the season not long after Crosby's goal between Mike Rupp and Tim Jackman. Feel free to ignore the NY commentators.

Not long after that you would see another fight between Jay McKee and Brendan Witt after Witt had a big hit on Fedotenko.

After all the penalties were doled out, the Islanders ended up with a two-minute 5-on-3 that they would cash-in on. With 7:20 left in the first period, Mark Streit scored a power play goal to tie the game at one. The Pens would successfully kill the rest of that penalty and we would go into the second period still tied at one.

John Tavares would score his first goal in the NHL on a power play with 12:51 left in the second period to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead after they got Mark Eaton for hooking. The Pens would get a power play in the second period as well but could not cash in. With around ten minutes left in the period, John Tavares would get a chance at his second NHL goal on a breakaway, but Fleury said no and made a great save on him one-on-one. The Pens didn't really turn it on until the last five or so minutes of the second period but we would still go into the third with the Islanders winning 2-1.

The Pens would get a power play less than a minute into the third period but could not find a way to cash-in, although they did get their chances. Eventually Mark Eaton would score with 12:41 left in the third to tie the game at two. That lead wouldn't last long though as the Islanders would score less than twenty seconds later to take the lead again 3-2. The Pens were having some pretty good chances and they finally found the net when Feds was at the net with a lot of traffic and bounced the puck off of an Islanders skate and into the net. Talk about lucky bounces. Score tied 3-3. Despite a late penalty called on Billy Guerin for slashing with 2:39 left in the third period, the Pens would kill it off and send the game into overtime.

In overtime the Pens would have a few chances but could not cash-in. Letang also made a huge play to prevent the Islanders from setting up a potential goal on a 2-on-1 by diving to the ice and blocking the pass. Five minutes were up and it was time for a shootout.

The Islanders decided they would shoot first and sent out Jeff Tambellini who hit the crossbar. The Pens would send Kris Letang out first who got the puck past Roloson to give the Pens the lead. John Tavares was next but he couldn't get the puck past Fleury, Pens still up 1-0. Sidney Crosby was the Pens' second shooter with the chance to win the game. He decided to go five-hole again and it worked, Pens win 4-3.

- Overall we thought this wasn't the Pens' best effort but they still found a way to come from behind and win, something they were great at last season.

- Both teams appeared very sloppy at times we thought but overall it was still an entertaining game.

- Sidney Crosby looks great in these first two games, scoring two goals and winning the shootout. That stick also seems to look pretty good as well. We're sure most of you know by now, but in case you don't, Crosby used to use two-piece sticks. The blade being wood and the shaft of the stick being composite but getting those blades made was starting to get difficult. This summer Crosby decided to try a one-piece composite stick on his own at home and in training camp. He obviously liked what he saw because he has stuck with it. The stick has a slightly bigger curve than his wood stick but not by much. It was also noted tonight that Sid weighted his stick down with sand in the shaft of the stick to make it heavier and work on his shot. You probably won't find too many stars with a work ethic like his.

- Sidney Crosby also recorded his 400th career point tonight with his goal and assist. He is the sixth fastest player to reach 400 points, taking him 292 games.

- We think Tyler Kennedy looks good this season. He's the fastest one to the puck a majority of the time. He's willing to get in the corners and grind it out with anyone. He'll chip-in a puck and blow by the defense to get it first. He's made more than one person look bad so far. Jordan Staal also looks good to us.

- Marc-Andre Fleury looks pretty spot on, making some more great saves again last night.

- Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski look good as well.

Pens' next game is Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes at 7:30 p.m.

Go Pens!

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