Monday, December 29, 2014

Time to End 2014 on a High Note!

By: MF, 

The Prudential Center will host the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins tonight! This will mark the last game of 2014 for the Penguins. With a team dealing with injuries and illness, the Penguins are always looking forward and wanting to improve. Though the Devils are dealing with their own issues with coaching, since they fired their head coach Peter DeBoer. This should prove for an interesting game. However, I do believe the Penguins should come out on top of this match-up.

Even with the misfortune the Penguins have faced, they are still putting up top numbers. Like the penalty kill with has a 88.5% success rate on the road. While in just the month of December, the penalty kill is tied for third in the National Hockey League (NHL) with an overall 91.7% success rate (killing 44 out of 48). Also, they are riding a 17 straight penalty kill streak. The Penguins are even ranked second in the NHL, behind the Chicago Blackhawks (+35), with a +26 goal differential. In addition to having a 2.17 goals against average (GAA) in the month of December, which makes them the seventh lowest in the NHL. The Penguins were shutout in their last game against the Washington Capitals (0-3), but the Penguins are 2-0 after being shut out. Hopefully that remains the case tonight.

The Penguins have been relying on call ups from Wilkes Barre-Scranton and they have been doing a great job. For example, Bobby Farnham is tied for the team lead among forwards for hits at 21, since his first game on December 13th. Aside from the hard work of the forwards and defender, the Penguins' goaltender is putting up career numbers. Marc-Andre Fleury has had an awesome December with a 6-1-2 record, a 2.00 GAA, .937 save percentage, and two shutouts. Fleury has been a wall in the net with only one regulation loss in December and has started in six straight games. He will be in the net tonight against the Devils, with a 7-4 record in his last 11 games versus them.

Injuries...illness...injuries...illness. This seems to be a never ending story for the Penguins. The list is growing after every game. The list includes: Steve Downie (mumps), Thomas Greiss (mumps), Paul Martin, Christian Ehrhoff, Olli Maatta, Craig Adams, Beau Bennett (mumps), Blake Comeau, Pascal Dupuis, Zach Sill, and Scott Wilson. A new addition was added after the last game, Patric Hornqvist, who will be out a few weeks for a lower body injury. The next one to come off that list is Bennett, who has been working with the team and may return on Wednesday. That injury/illness list is ridiculous!

Even with these injuries, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are ready to step up and lead the team through this tough time with some help from Fleury and Kris Letang. Malkin commented on Hornqvist's injury saying, "It’s a bad loss yesterday (losing) ‘Horny,’” He went on to talk about the Penguins tough spell, “Of course it’s a tough time right now, every game we lose a couple guys, but we still have a good team. ‘Flower’ (Marc-Andre Fleury) is playing very well and me, ‘Sid,’ ‘Kuni’ (Chris Kunitz) and ‘Tanger’ (Kris Letang), we just (need to) show how we can play.”

To counter the growing injury/illness list, the Penguins have recalled Dominik Uher and Brian Dumoulin. Uher will be taking the place of Bennett in tonight's game and seems to be excited to start tonight. Dumoulin has shown his skill and has stepped up for the Penguins. It's great to see how the deep the Penguins are, but their options are getting limited.

Tonight the Penguins are fired up and want to prove they can still get the job done. The two headed monster is ready to go and show everyone what they can do. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Rust
Malkin, Sutter, Megna
Spaling, Goc, Farnham
Uher, Ebbett, Klinkhammer

Dumoulin, Letang
Scuderi, Bortuzzo
Despres, Pouliot

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Devils 3

3rd Period
0:00- The Pens fall to the Devils 3-1. They need to get themselves out of their funk and bounce back A.S.A.P. Horrible after a great opening period.

1:04- Pens get a too many men on the ice penalty.

1:51- Empty net for the Pens.

3:30- I just don't understand why the Pens always have trouble in New Jersey. Such a weird deal.

5:45- Zajac gets behind the Pens defense, but Fleury holds down the fort!

6:01- The two headed monster is on the ice.

8:53- Mark that down as a successful kill for the Pens.

10:53- Not the time to take a penalty. Despres heads to the box for slashing.

12:01- Jagr gets a breakaway and it's down to him and Fleury! Fleury shuts the door in Jagr's face!

12:13- The power play for the Pens comes to an end and it was a mess.

14:13- The Pens will now get a power play as Gomez gets an interference penalty. The need to score.

14:22- Henrique scores. Kunitz turns over the puck and the Devils crash the net. Fleury makes the saves, but Henrique puts in the loose puck. 3-1 Devils.

15:46- Fleury hugs the post to make a save on Larsson's bad angle shot.

17:49- Megna and Crosby come out flying in the third. They each get quality chances on net.

20:00- Third period is underway! The Pens have to play smart and tough! Put all the shots they can on net! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Time expires and the Devils lead the Pens 2-1.

1:20- Jagr scores. Jagr comes flying into the offensive zone. Scuderi and Despres back up and give him all the room in the world. He rips one home. 2-1 Devils.

1:25- Power play for the Pens comes to an end.

3:00- Bortuzzo was bleeding and went to the locker room to get looked at.

3:25- Here we go again! Tootoo jumps Bortuzzo and fists start flying. The Pens end up with a power play.

3:44- The Pens are passing up chances to shoot the puck. They need to be every puck they can on net.

4:49- This game is a good evenly matched game. The Pens defense though is doing a great job. While the Devils defense is extra safe when Crosby is on the ice, by backing way up.

8:44- Crosby has been strong on the puck and aggressive to make plays. He is shooting the puck more also. He is flying tonight.

11:37- Crosby's line gets some offensive zone time. Crosby gets the puck through traffic to the goal twice, from the blue line.

14:27- Zajac scores on the power play. The Devils pass the puck around for the majority of their power play. Zidlicky fires a shot from the blue line and Fleury makes the first save. Zajac gets to the loose puck first and puts it past Fleury. 1-1 tie game.

15:05- Now the Devils have a turn on the power play as Ebbett is called for boarding. The Pens bring out their top notched penalty killers.

16:34- Ruutu rings one off the goal post! Fleury gives the post some love.

16:35- Ring the bell! Bortuzzo and Tootoo go at it! An up and down fight...Bortuzzo held his own.

17:34- Fleury has held down the fort and looks to be in a rhythm.

20:00- The second period is underway! The Pens need to keep up the hard work! They need to make sure to pepper the net with shots! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Pens lead this game 1-0 over the Devils!

0:22- Malkin makes a beautiful spin-o-rama pass! Schneider holding this game at one.

0:58- Schneider is earning his paycheck right now!

1:26- Kunitz is robbed by Schneider in front!

3:55- Pens are working hard during this game. Dumping the puck and battle on the boards. They have more jump in their step and look like things are just finally clicking.

5:23- CROSBY SCORES! Crosby undresses Greene once again, with an inside out move! He rips a backhander, on the short side, top shelf, past Schneider! 1-0 Pens!

8:09- Devils get some offensive zone pressure, but Fleury covers for the whistle. Solid to start this game for the netminder.

9:55- Malkin stick handles in a phone booth to outlet a pass to Crosby. Crosby's backhanded is stopped by Schneider.

10:47- Fleury comes up huge once again. Zidlicky fires a shot from the point and through traffic. Fleury is able to track the puck and makes a second save, as Jagr tries to jam home the loose puck.

13:19- Despres catches the Devils during a change and gets a lane down the wing. He snaps a shot on net, but Schneider makes the save.

16:10- That is all she wrote for the power play as the Pens register zero shots.

18:10- Power play for the Pens as Farnham draws a high sticking call on Gelinas.

19:30- The Pens start the game with some speed and look good. Crosby turns Greene inside out to get a chance.

20:00- The puck has been dropped and this game is on! Time for the Pens to bounce back with a dominating win! Lets Go Pens! 

No comments:

Post a Comment