Pens Win: Singing the Blues

The Penguins wrapped up yet another win tonight against the Blues increasing their record to 8-1-0 on the season. Fleury sets a Penguins franchise record by becoming the first to start off with a record of 8-0. TK picks up his 5 of the season and 30th of his young career. But it was Matt Cooke who, according to Versus (and Pens Universe), was the Bud Light difference maker of the game. Cookie found himself in all the right places and played with as much grit as anyone in the league.

Here's to you Matt.

I'll be the first to admit that I was entirely wrong as to how they'd fare initially. Here's what I wrote earlier today...
"I anticipate an initial struggle for the Pens tonight. Much like the meeting with the Coyotes they don't face this team very often and could end up facing a more determined opponent."
Initial struggle huh? How's up 2-0 at the end of the first with a 20-3 shot advantage? But then again I did come pretty close on the prediction. I said 4-1, Pens won 5-1.

The game started off pretty hot. We saw Bylsma put the Two-Headed Monster out on the ice together to get things cooking. And that's just what happened. Follow that shift up with a little third line surprise and the Pens essentially took over. During the first 7 minutes the Pens fired off 7 quality shots on goal and prevented the Blues from any. Goddard even ended up getting into the action with a little puck possession and a shot on goal that wouldn't have hit the net if the 4 by 6 was a 20 by 30. Oh well.

Next up was a breakaway with Crosby and Eaton (yes Eaton), no dice. Though a penalty was drawn and the special teams had a chance to take the ice for both sides. Initially there were no real good chances expect Malkin’s feed from Staal (Mason denies) and Letang with a one timer (misses the net). Though after the penalty Jay McKee was doing what he does best (scrumming the boards) and gets it to Kennedy for a wide open shot that get the Pens on the board. [1-0]. Just under a minute later the Pens find themselves back on the powerplay for their second chance of the night.

Nineteen seconds into it Malkin gets three chances:
  3. WRIST SHOT, SCORE! [2-0]
I wish I had something to say about the opposition but they seemed to just be standing around in awe of how good the Pens were/are. Andy Murray takes a much needed time out to scream at his team for the lack of effort. Nothing really got through.

Letang then found himself out on a breakaway with Goddard (some odd breakaways tonight). A dish in front and Goddard couldn't finish (wonder why?). Shortly after Geno found himself with another free chance through the neutral zone one-on-one, though he kind of squandered it himself. We then saw more from the Sesame Street line. Staal made a nice move, Cooke crushes Berglund, Staal tries to finish...nothing. Seriously the Blues are just standing around watching. They had one clean shot on net in the first period.

Crosby ended the period with a slashing penalty during a scuffle with Backes. U.S.S Mike Rupp to the aid.

During the intermission the Versus chumps talked about the over/under on Ovie taking 20 shots in a game.

I know, who cares. Gunner.

Started the period off with a 4 on 4 effort. The Blues came out with much more energy and began the period with a few good sequences that put the pressure on the Pens to keep up momentum. Crosby then exits the box, ends up catching the puck in mid-air, tries to baseball snap it in the goal, ends up near the blue-line with the puck and sets up Malkin who gets stuffed by Mason. Geno drops the F-bomb like it's hot.

Shortly after the Pens 4th line gets a shot at some on ice action, which, by the way did an excellent job all night at keeping the pressure up and the ice tilted in one direction. Malkin then finds himself flying through the neutral zone once again with Fedotenko, Goddard in front (again)...Mason denies. (again) The Pens ended up on a powerplay with the Blues having too many men on the ice. (insert mental picture here)

Pens first line get a chance but couldn't convert. The second shift strikes early in their however with a Eaton-to-Letang-to-Fedotenko wrister, redeeming himself from earlier [3-0]. Versus then rips off a nice shot of tPB resident homo, Charlie.

And before I could even collect my thoughts Kris Letang pumps a howitzer from the blue-line redirected by none other than Matt Cooke some 36 seconds later making it [4-0].

A minute and fifteen later the Pens go on another powerplay with Perron cross-checking Feds. This time the Pens could not put one up on the board despite a few quality chances from Crosby, Malkin, and Geurin.

Gonchar leaves the ice with an undisclosed injury. Early reports are saying a broken wrist.

Kariya finally puts the Blues on the board after Letang gets rapped in front of the net, [4-1]. Despite the increased energy level from the Blues and a Pens penalty for too many men (mental picture), they didn't get flustered at all. Pens killed the penalty and Geno came flying out the box (through the neutral zone again) he finds Feds in a two on one...Mason makes perhaps the save of the night (not that it mattered).

The third period was initially pretty intense. If the Blues were going to have any shot they needed to score early. Though that didn't happen. After a penalty kill (Crosby for holding) Bylsma again puts the Two-Headed Monster out on the ice. Clearly this creates energy and drives momentum. On a line where Crosby, Goddard and Kunitz played forwards, Kuni won a battle in the corner and dishes over to Crosby who finds Gogo who then beats Conklin, [5-1]. That was it. Game started to wind down at this point, each team knows the outcome. Nothing really substantive to report. Basically back and forth chances in each zone. Nothing overly physical. A tons of turnovers in the in the neutral zone. Though it was clear the Blues turned it around the 17 minute mark, looking to carry over some momentum for the next game. And despite the game being basically over you still seen tons of energy from the Pens 4th line.

FINAL SCORE: Pens 5 - Blues 1

  • Pens outshot the Blues: 43-23
  • So much for defense being our "weak spot."
  • Geno had 12 shots on goal and played in his 300th consecutive game
  • 3rd line is by far the best in the league, right now. (Size, will, and grit.)
  • Crosby moves into 10th place on the all time scoring for the Penguins. He's just 22.
  • Fleury's a maniac.

Pic courtesy of the Penguins Official Site.

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