Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recap: Games 24-25

Games: vs OTT, vs CAL

Notable Highlights:

-Since I chose the Backyard Brawl over my Pens tickets on Black Friday, I was forced to miss the Sens and my favorite player, F Jason Spezza. Later on I saw the game on replay. That means I already knew the outcome and had a general idea of when the action would happen from the various texts I received throughout the day. Even so, I still found this game to really entertaining. It featured great back and forth action, excellent goaltending, and hard-nosed play. This is the kind of game that every hockey fan hopes for as the schedule turns to the holiday ho-hums...and I missed it to stand outside in the cold.

-Remember all those times that I mentioned how a well functioning power play has the possibility to steal a game for you? Well, the PP was 2 for 2 against the Sens and the Penguins won 2-1. Enough said.

-The Even though the Flamers were undoubtedly a tired time (playing something like 5 games in 7 days), the Penguins took advantage of the situation and earned a relatively easy 2 points.

-Penalty Killing was successful in the 7 chances against it during these two games. I most likely sound like a broken record at this point, but if the team can continue this kind of success, it will be a huge boost in the spring.

Ghastly Lowlights:

-Not a lot to criticize during these games, but I wouldn't be much of a read if I just let them off the hook now would I? It did seem like the team let off the gas a little bit for the last 10 minutes of the Flames game. The Flames had a chance to make it a 3-2 game, but G Brent Johnson made a nice save at his left post. This was a little sloppier than I'd like to see them finish a game.

-I'm not fully sure of the other defenseman (I think it was Paul Martin), but he and D Kris Letang were heading up ice way too agressively given the situation of a 3-0 lead against Calgary under 7 mins left. Letang was caught red handed when the puck came back to the wide open F Rene Bourque, who easily deposited a goal that shouldn't have happened.

Forward Recaps:

-Sidney Crosby has registered a point in 12 straight games. He tallied his 200th career goal. I've found it challenging to not mention him in any particular game segment, which is a good sign for the team.

-Tyler Kennedy had 2 power play assists in the Ottawa game and played a strong game against the Flames. Good to see him come to life, but hopefully it will last. Historically he tends to be streaky and vacant from the scoresheet for long periods of time. To his credit, he usually will still play a solid checking role during these slumps.

-Arron Asham had a nice goal in the Calgary game and continues to be a well placed addition to the squad by not taking betweent he whistle penalties.

-Chris Kunitz with another goal in the Calgary game. I'm not overly familiar with his career in Anaheim, but this has to be nearing the best play of his career.

-Evgeni Malkin appeared to have a very spirited level of play in both of these games, and tallied a power play goal in the Sens game. I think his level of play is directly affected by the quality of players around him. With that being said, I'm happy that F Jordan Staal has started skating again and appears to be about 3 weeks off from what the reports have said.

Defenseman Recaps:

-Deryk Engelland had a scrap against Flames F Tim Jackman. Considering that the score was 1-0 Penguins and the Flames were in desparate need of a boost, I'm not sure that this was a good decision.

Goalie Recaps:

-Marc-Andre Fleury had 43 saves against the Senators and turned in perhaps his best effort to date. He earned his day off against the Flames.

-Brent Johnson returned to his high level of play against Calgary, making 30 saves in a 4-1 victory. He likely would have had a shutout had the defense not wanted to rush up ice off a faceoff with a 3-0 lead in the 3rd period.

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