Sunday, March 29, 2015

A win for Letang!

By: MF, 

It's the second day of back-to-back home games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were able to dispatch the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win, yesterday afternoon. However, this was not without losing something. Defenseman Kris Letang was hit by Coyotes Shane Doan. He went flying backwards into the corner boards and hit the back of his head. He was helped off the ice and looked to be completely out of it. He went to the hospital after that. Letang was released today from the hospital and has a concussion. Mike Johnston stated that they will take things day-to-day and see how he reacts and recovers from the concussion. It was a scary thing to watch and I wish Letang a speedy recovery. He is the leader of defense and has had a Norris trophy season. I hope he can come back before the start of the playoffs, but wish him to recover fully before he even thinks of coming back.

Tonight, the Penguins face the San Jose Sharks and they will have to step up their game without Letang in the lineup. They will play with five defensemen and if needed, Daniel Winnik will fall back to the defense, if needed. This puts a heavier weight on the defense and goalie to hold down the fort. That means the Penguins' offense will have to step up their game and keep the puck deep in the Sharks' zone, taken the pressure of the defense. As a team, the Penguins are 17-6-4 against Western Conference teams this season.

Two-headed monster time. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will be called upon to get the Penguins going and put the Sharks on their heels. Malkin has 3.42 points per 60 minutes, which puts him first in the National Hockey League (NHL). He also has a team high 28 goals and averages 1.09 points per game, which is second in the NHL. As for Crosby, has had three plus points in 12 of 70 games this season (17.1%). Crosby leads the NHL in points with 78 that is two points ahead of second place Jake Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers). He is one of just five Eastern Conference players to average at least a point-per-game, against Western Conference teams. In addition, Crosby is only one goal shy of 300 in his career.

The Penguins are fortunate enough to have an explosive offense, which means they are getting contributes from everyone in the lineup. Winnik scored his ninth goal of the season during yesterday's game and it gave him a career high 31 points. Another guy putting up numbers is Steve Downie. Downie has five goals in his last nine home games. He has some big numbers when the Penguins are at Consol, so look for him to get on the scoreboard. The Penguins had 46 shots during the game yesterday and it was their second highest shot total, this season. They have to continue to get shots on net and the more the better their chances are of getting one to go in. After that, usually, the flood gates open for them.

Without the services of Letang, the Penguins will be down a valuable defenseman. They need to come out with speed and get on the board early. The Penguins have to take pressure of the defense early that way, they don't have to battle late in the game, when they will be tired. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Winnik, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Malkin, Comeau
Spaling, Sutter, Downie
Perron, Lapierre, Bennett

Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 3 Sharks 2 SO


Couture hits the goal post!


Karlsson goes wide!


OT Period
0:00- We are going to a shootout! No matter what happens...just an amazing job by the penalty killers.

1:01- What an amazing job, so far by the Pens penalty killers.

2:48- The Pens penalty kill is working hard and Fleury has made some saves to keep the Pens in it.

3:40- Hornqvist gets a four-minute high sticking major. Sharks with a 4 on 3 power-play for the rest of this overtime.

3:58- Fleury makes a pad save on Thornton.

5:00- Are you ready for some extra hockey? Come on Pens, get time to kick it into high gear and get the win! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- 60 minutes of regulation wasn't enough and this 2-2 game is headed to overtime.

1:52- Spaling is set free! Great penalty kill by the Pens!

2:46- Winnik lays down to block a shot. Lapierre gets the loose puck and battles to get it out to the neutral zone.

3:52- Another Shark power-play. Spaling skates to the box for holding.

4:15- The Pens have generated some rebound chances, but the Sharks defense is doing a good job of clearing them before the Pens can get to them.

4:40- The Sharks are back to full strength.

6:40- Power-play time for the Pens as Wingels sits down for high-sticking on Pouliot.

8:12- Things are still all tied up. The next one will be a big one as time whines down.

10:57- Awesome work by the Pens penalty killers. Crosby is set free and the Pens held the Sharks to only two shots during that power-play chance.

12:57- Crosby heads to the box for tripping. Power-play for the Sharks.

14:30- Crosby enters the zone and carries the puck straight to the net. Stalock covers the puck.

16:15- Both teams are fully engaged in this one now.

20:00- The third period is underway! The Pens have to get more sustained offensive zone pressure and put the Sharks back on their heels! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and this game is all tied up at two.

1:09- Crosby crashes the net to look for a rebound chance. Stalock makes sure there is no rebound chance.

3:30- The Sharks offense has come on during the second period. The Pens have been more on the defensive.

4:22- Couture Scores on the power-play. The Sharks break into the zone with a two-on-one and Martin is caught flatfooted. Couture gets in alone and doesn't miss. 2-2 tie game.

5:05- Lovejoy is now in the sin bin for cross-checking. Sharks back onto the power-play.

6:54- The Pens come up with a successful penalty kill and held the Sharks to zero shots on their power-play.

8:54- The Sharks will now have a power-play opportunity. Lapierre sits for hooking.

10:35- Malkin crashes the net, but Stalock keeps the puck out.

13:16- Smith Scores. Braun fires from the point and the puck is tipped by Smith. It goes by Fleury, who is screened and didn't see it. 2-1 Pens.

15:46- Fleury makes a solid save as Couture crashes the net.

18:16- Quite a few whistles to start this game. Hard to get into a rhythm with all the stoppages.

20:00- Time for the second! The Pens have to keep up the hard work, play smart and take it to the Sharks! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Pens have the 2-0 lead over the Sharks!

1:35- Pouliot has been looking confident and carrying the puck well out of the Pens' zone. He gets better every game.

3:14- Fleury has been sharp in the net against the few shots he has faced. The Pens are doing a great job of clearing the puck out and not giving the Sharks chances on rebounds.

4:32- Some good back and forth hockey. No real chances for either team in the last couple of minutes.

7:08- Comeau almost gets a breakaway, but is called for off-sides.

9:25- The Pens have some jump in their step. Looking good in the first period.

11:56- KUNITZ SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! Pouliot passes over to Crosby, who is all alone on the other side of the ice! Crosby feeds a beautiful pass to Kunitz, flying to the side of the net. Kunitz elevates the puck over Stalock's pad! 2-0 Pens!

12:19- The Pens will get the first power-play as Fedun sits for hooking.

12:52- HORNQVIST SCORES! Winnik wins the battle behind the net and feeds the puck out front! Stalock makes the first save, but Hornqvist gets to the loose puck and finds the back of the net! 1-0 Pens!

14:56- Fleury makes a nice pad save with the Sharks on the rush.

17:05- Cole fires a rocket shot that is deflected and it rings off the post!

17:12- Not too many shots for either team to start this one.

20:00- The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to come out with speed and get on the board early! Let's get the win for Letang! Lets Go Pens! 

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