Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's clip some Wings!

By: MF,

Yet another back-to-back game schedule and the Pittsburgh Penguins are less than surprise there. Yesterday, the Penguins faced off against the Boston Bruins. Things were looking up, Christian Ehrhoff was back in the lineup and the team was whole. It was the healthiest they have been in a long time. Well at least during warm-ups. After warm-ups, Sidney Crosby didn't reappear from the locker room and was a last minute scratch. He was replaced with Craig Adams, but it didn't stop there. Not long into the first period, Evgeni Malkin went down after a hit. He went to the locker room, came back and then stayed out for the next two periods. They ended losing the game 2-1, but Thomas Greiss was on point. He stopped 28 of 29 shots and had a .966 save percentage. The Penguins  just couldn't put the finishing touch on their scoring chances.

A day later and the Penguins are gearing up to face-off against the Detroit Red Wings. The Penguins could hit the big 40 mark in the wins category with a win today. It would be the eighth consecutive season for the Penguins, excluding 2012-13 season when the schedule was shortened (*cough more like the National Hockey League (NHL) couldn't get their act together *cough). They have a good chance of achieving the 40 win mark. The Penguins are 15-3-3 against Atlantic Division teams, this season, which is the most wins (against the Atlantic) in the NHL. Their last eight games versus the Red Wings, they have gone 5-1-2.

With an offense, who may be out their two top centers, the Penguins have to take advantage on the power-play. They are 24-3-1 when they record a power-play goal. If they get the chance, they need to do their best of capitalizing on it. That means putting pucks on net. No fancy plays, just simple ones. Getting the puck to the net and traffic in front. They can't afford to be fancy with the two-headed monster missing.

The Penguins defense will have a bigger weight on their shoulders. They will have to step into plays to help out the offense, which won't be a problem. The Penguins defense is used to doing such things and is very good at their jobs. Look for guys like Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Ehrhoff to get plays going up the ice.They will factor into the Penguins scoring chances and give them some energy, which could be lacking. In addition, Marc-Andre Fleury will have to hold down the fort. With the season he is having that will be no problem and his numbers against the Atlantic Division are great. He is 12-1-2, has a 1.86  goals-against-average, .935 save percentage and two shutouts.

Now let's talk injuries and updates. Andrew Ebbett was called up from Wilkes-Barre Scranton. In his last 10 games in the American Hockey League (AHL), he has six goals, seven assists and 13 points. As for the Crosby and Malkin, Mike Johnston stated that Malkin will not play today. Malkin has a lower-body injury, but Johnston doesn't think it will be long-term. Crosby will be a game-time decision. He wasn't feeling well yesterday and after warm-ups went to see the doctors.

The Penguins will have to put shots on net and get traffic in front. Get to the fore-check early and get ahead before any type of fatigue sets in. Lets Go Pens!   

The Pens lineup is as follows:

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

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Red Wings 5

3rd Period
0:00- The Pens fall to the Red Wings 5-1. Not the best game for the Pens and they let their emotions get to them. Discipline was lacking. Then when they started to get something going they would do something not so smart. Not a good weekend for the Pens.

2:02- Time is the enemy of the Pens.

4:08- Crosby and Perron get a 2 on 1 chance, but Perron is unable to finish Crosby's pass.

6:12- Pens power-play ends.

7:54- Hornqvist has a lot of trouble getting to the bench and ends up heading right down the runway.

8:12- Zetterberg sits and the Pens head onto the power-play.

10:49- PERRON SCORES! The Pens get to the fore-check! Crosby gets some time behind the net and puts the puck right in Perron's wheelhouse! Perron rifles one past Mrazek! 5-1 Red Wings.

14:23- Downie is back in the box and gets a 10-minute misconduct.

15:25- Afternoon games are the Pens friends...never turn out good.

17:01- Red Wings make it 5-0. The puck is deflected by a group of two Pens and one Red Wing past Greiss. Horrible.

20:00- Well it's time for the third period and the Pens need to at least get a goal! Come on guys, snap out of it! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The horn sounds on the second period as the Red Wings extend their lead to 4-0 and the Pens lose Letang (game misconduct) in the process.

1:16- Another unsuccessful power-play for the Pens.

3:16- Ericsson will head to the box and the Pens get a power-play chance.

3:55- Pens can't capitalize on the power-play.

5:55- Pens power-play time as the Red Wings get a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

7:48- I am no way blaming the refs for the Pens being down. I still lay blame on them, but the refs are getting a bit out of hand with some calls, like the Letang and Kunitz calls.

9:09- Mrazek decides to take a nap in the crease once the Pens start buzzing around the net. Refs blow the whistle. Letang ends up with a unsportsmanlike conduct and then a game misconduct. Apparently, he mouthed off too much. Just weird calls...just no reason for Letang being thrown out.

10:13- Ehrhoff scores a goal and the ref behind the goal calls a goal. The refs get together, since Mrazek is unhappy. They change it to no goal for goalie interference.

10:47- Smith sets for tripping and the Pens get a power-play.

12:16- Zetterberg Scores. Sutter turns over the puck in the Pens zone. Fleury is left out to dry and Zetterberg scores at the backdoor. Break down on that play. Fleury is replaced by Greiss. 4-0 Red Wings.

13:42- Perron is back.

16:10- Perron limps his way to the bench and ends up heading down the runway with the trainer.

16:37- Some solid chances for the Pens, but Mrazek makes the saves. Nice offensive pressure by the Pens.

17:21- The Pens are back to full strength. Downie and Kunitz still serving their misconduct penalties.

18:12- 48 second power play for Red Wings (5 on 4).

19:21- Zidlicky Scores on the power-play. Zidlicky rips one up high, no chance for Fleury. 3-0 Red Wings.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have to kill off a 5 on 3 power-play for 1:48 to start! Kunitz ended the period getting another minor and a 10-minute misconduct!  Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Red Wings lead 2-0. The Pens started to meltdown at the end.

0:12- Now Sutter goes for tripping. 5 on 3 Red Wings power play for 1:31.

0:42- Comeau goes down hard and hits his head. Martin and Abdelkader start to fight and Kunitz jumps in. A scrum ensues. Kunitz in the box and the Red Wings get a power-play.

1:54- Pulkkinen Scores. The Red Wings get an odd man rush, which leads to some zone time. They cycle the puck and Pulkkinen is able to slap a hard one past Fleury. Well placed shot. 2-0 Red Wings

3:25- Tatar lays a huge hit on Perron and he is not happy with it.

7:19- A misunderstanding happens in the corner of the Pens zone. Downie ends up getting a 10-minute misconduct.

8:01- Zetterberg and Hornqvist collide at center ice. Zetterberg skates slowly to the bench and is hunched over.

9:25- Martin rips a shot from the point and Crosby makes a beautiful redirect in mid-air. Mrazek makes the save.

11:48- Nice solid save by Fleury. He looked a little shaken up after the save, but stays in.

14:24- Sutter and Kunitz get unreal chances on net, but can't finish them.

16:34- Fleury makes a solid save with traffic in front of him, but the puck bounes up over him. Letang stuffs it back up the pad of Fleury. Ref blows the whistle. 

17:24- Both teams are made whole again as Perron and Quincey are released. 

18:39- Zidlicky Scores. Fleury is screened and Zidlicky fires from the point. Goes glove side into the net. 1-0 Red Wings.

19:24- Some 4 on 4 hockey. Perron and Quincey both in the box.  

20:00- The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to get on the fore-check early and leave the Red Wings in the dust! Lets Go Pens! 

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