Blueline Beat: 11/11/11 - 11/18/11

It certainly has been an interesting week for the Pens. They achieved a victory against the Stars, who have had a strong start to their season. They lost to the Hurricanes, but still managed to tie the game after a three goal deficit. The highlight of the week was a successful comeback against the Avalanche. Here is my recap of the defensemen.

Pens vs. Stars: 11/11 (W 3-1)

-Letang earned his 13th assist on Neal's second goal of the game.

-Niskanen was firing the shots against his old team. He played a solid game.

-Fleury stopped 19 of 20 shots and made some key saves.

-Letang led the team with three blocked shots.

-Niskanen led the defensemen with five shots.

-Letang led in ice time with 26:44

Pens vs. Hurricanes: 11/12 (L 5-3)

-The lone point by defensemen in this game came from Orpik's second assist of the season on Staal's shorthanded goal.

-Ultimately the defense played a weak game, allowing the Hurricanes too much time in the Pens' zone.

-Johnson stopped 21 of 26 shots. It was not a strong game for him, but you cannot blame him for every goal allowed.

-Orpik led the team with three blocked shots.

-Letang led the defense with five shots.

-Letang led in ice time with 26:56

Pens vs. Avalanche: 11/15 (W 6-3)

-As a whole, the team was not sharp for the first 30 minutes of this game, but as we all saw, the Pens turned it around.

-Engelland earned his third assist of the season on Staal's goal.

-Orpik scored his first goal of the season with a shot from the point.

-Letang earned his 14th assist on Neal's power play goal.

-Letang also scored his second goal of the season with some moves that had to bring a tear to Varlamov's eye.

-Fleury stopped 24 of 27 shots, and made important saves at the right time to help the Pens come back.

-Engelland led the team with five blocked shots.

-Letang led the defense with four shots.

-Letang led in ice time with 24:12.

Pens vs. Lightning: 11/17 (L 4-1)

-A struggling Paul Martin had a little bit of a bright spot, earning his fourth assist of the season on Kennedy's goal. He also ended the game a +1, finally ending up on the positive side in a game.

-Fleury stopped 14 of 17 shots.

-Martin led the team with three blocked shots.

-Letang led the defense with four shots.

-Martin led in ice time with 25:34.

Best of the Blueline

We all know Kris Letang will be mentioned, but I also want to give some credit to Deryk Engelland.

Engelland is not the type of defenseman to put up a lot of points, but his contributions on the ice are still valuable. If you watch when he takes a shot, most of the time it ends up on net. He plays with tenacity and is not afraid to get into a scrap. So far on the season he has 38 hits and a respectable 21 shots on goal. With four points on the season so far and hopefully more playing time than he had last season, he looks on pace to beat his last season total of ten points (in 63 games). He puts up a solid effort everytime he is on the ice and I thought that should be recognized.

As far as Kris Letang, all you would have to do is watch his goal in the game against the Avalanche and it pretty much speaks for itself. When a defenseman scores a goal like that and becomes highlight reel material along with goals from the likes of Matt Duchene and Evgeni Malkin, you know you are in a pretty good spot. Letang is still averaging nearly one point per game and is looking to be an All-Star once again.

That is all for now! Hope everybody has a wonderful holiday topped off with some more victories from the Pens!


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