Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Hockey Madness Begins!

By: MF,
Crosby celebrates / Pittsburgh Penguins

We are now entering the last full month of regular season hockey! The Pittsburgh Penguins finished February with a huge win against the Washington Capitals in enemy territory. It was a hard fought win and the Penguins have been able to put some solid wins together and it's time to start March off on the right foot. That starts with the Columbus Blue Jackets who are in town to take on the Penguins. The Penguins are going into this contest with only two regulation losses in their last 14 games versus the Blue Jackets, which dates back to October 21, 2006. The key to the Penguins recent success has been their consistency, offense striking on the scoreboard often, solid defense, and success of their special teams.

To start off, the Penguins offense has been clicking and putting up some big numbers. The two-headed monster of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been lighting the lamp often and contributing to many of the team's goals. Both have active point streaks, Crosby has a three game point streak (one goal and three assists) and Malkin's is four games (three goals and five assists). Since February 20th, both have jumped up in the league points race. Crosby has gone from 7th in the National Hockey League (NHL) with than 58 points to fifth with 62 points. While Malkin has gone from 15th in the NHL with 54 points to seventh with 61 points. They are hitting a new stride and the Penguins are benefiting from it. They are not the only ones putting up some big statistics. Patric Hornqvist is currently riding a three game goal scoring streak (four goals). He is only one goal away from 20 on the season, which would be the fifth time in his career he has achieved this.

Spaling and Sutter crash the net / Pittsburgh Penguins
Another strong point for the Penguins is their special teams. This season, they have had three instances where they have scored both a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal. It happened on October 9th against the Anaheim Ducks, December 15th against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and February 25th against the Washington Capitals. Special teams will be big in today's game. The penalty kill has been on top of things and was amazing Wednesday night against the Capitals. A big factor was Brandon Sutter. Not only is he a good defending forward, he knows how to score shorthanded goals. He has accounted for six of the Penguins' 11 shorthanded goals (54.5%), since he joined the team in 2012-2013. A new key player on the penalty kill will be a new acquisition, Daniel Winnik. He leads the NHL in shorthanded time-on-the-ice with 3:27 minutes. He is a +15, which puts him first among the Penguin forwards and is first among Penguin forwards with 50 blocked shots. I am interested to see what he brings to the team. As for the power-play has been putting pucks in the net and taking advantage of their opportunities. Look for them to get on the board tonight.
Letang defends / Pittsburgh Penguins

Now this all would mean nothing if it wasn't for the Penguins solid defense. They have been the rock for the team and that is headed by the netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury. He has been phenomenal in the net and has been like a brick wall in critical times. The defense has great talent from the young guys and veterans, it's a good mesh. One of those veteran players is Rob Scuderi, who will play in his 700th career game today. Scuderi will be able to play after his skate was hit by a puck Wednesday night during the Capitals' game. He had a few days off and was able to skate at Saturday's practice. He says he is fine and ready to go. Good news!

It's time for the Penguins to start of March with a big win and keep the momentum going in their favor! Come out with speed and get on the board early, Penguins! Lets Go Pens!    

Pouliot digs in / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pens lineup is as follows:

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

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Bortuzzo
Scuderi, Despres

Fleury in the net! 

Play By Play
PENS 5 Blue Jackets 3

3rd Period

0:12- Blue Jackets with an empty net!

0:53- Foligno Scores. Foligno uses Bortuzzo as a screen between the legs and past Fleury. 5-3 Pens

1:15- Time is almost done.

3:29- The Pens fail to score on the five-minute major.

4:13- Letang fires a beautiful wrist shot that rings off the goal post!

6:33- Pouliot has done a great job in this one. He is making a great case for a more permanent spot on the roster leading into the playoffs.

8:29- Despres is hit from behind and into the boards by Tropp. Despres heads to the locker room as he is bleeding. Tropp receives a five-minute major and is ejected.

10:56- As the game whines down, the Blue Jackets are not going down without a fight. The Pens are taking a more defensive approach, but still jumping up on some offensive plays.

12:32- The Pens power play comes to an end.

14:23- Johansen Scores a shorthanded goal. Pouliot can't hold in the puck and Johansen gets behind him. He puts one up high to give the Blue Jackets two. 5-2 Pens.

14:32- Johnson takes a cross-checking penalty and the Pens head onto the power play.

17:08- Another successful penalty kill for the Pens!

18:36- Johansen lands a big hit on Winnik at the Pens' blue line.

19:08- Now the Blue Jackets will get a power play chance as Kunitz sits for high sticking.

19:41- DOWNIE SCORES! Winnik sets up Downie who wrist a wicked shot past the blocker of McElhinney! 5-1 Pens!

20:00- Time for the third period! The Pens have to keep working hard and not let the Blue Jackets get back into this one! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends with the Pens leading the Blue Jackets 4-1!

1:25- Crosby and Malkin are tied for points lead among the Penguins. Nothing like having them fight for the lead!

2:40- POULIOT SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Crosby puts the puck to the net and McElhinney gets a piece of it! Pouliot comes down the wing and puts in the rebound! 4-1 Pens!

3:07- Back to the power play for the Pens.

4:24- Malkin is stripped of the puck at the Pens' blue line, but takes the puck right back!

8:56- The power play is killed by the Blue Jackets. Wennberg gets a chance coming out of the box, but Fleury says NO with a pad save!

10:56- The Pens will get another power play as Wennberg sits for delay of game.

11:24- Fleury with a shoulder save on Johansen, who on the short side with a great opportunity.

13:01- Letang assisted on the Pens last two goals, which gives him 49 points! He now leads the NHL in points by a defenseman!

13:12- Mark that down as a successful kill.

15:12- The Pens will now have to kill a penalty as Despres goes back to the box for holding.

15:40- MALKIN SCORES AGAIN AND THIS TIME ON THE POWER PLAY! Letang feeds the puck to Malkin, while down on one knee! Malkin snaps it past McElhinney with Hornqvist stationed up front! 3-1 Pens!

17:26- 1:51 power play still left for the Pens!

17:26- PERRON SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Perron looks for a pass at the side of the net and tries to go to the slot area! It's goes off Johnson and past McElhinney! 2-1 Pens take the lead!

17:34- Crosby is highsticked by Tyutin. 5 on 3 for 53 seconds.

18:40- The Pens will get their first power play of the game as Wisniewski is called for delay of game.

18:41- Crosby gets a lead pass from Letang, but is poke checked by McElhinney at the last minute!

19:05- Hornqvist gets in all alone on the wing, but is robbed by the glove of McElhinney!

20:00- Second period is underway! Time for the Pens to pick up where Malkin left off! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and things are tied up at one.

1:05- MALKIN SCORES! Malkin goes charging into the offensive zone and takes the puck to the net! He stickhandles in a phone booth to do so! He blows a backhander past a screened McElhinney! Kunitz with the screen! 1-1 tie game!

1:16- Both teams are back to full strength!

2:19- Back to 4 on 4 hockey for 1:03.

2:27- Wisniewski Scores on the power play. Hartnell screens Fleury who losses sight of Wisniewski. He is able to snap one into the net. 1-0 Blue Jackets.

2:58- Martin joins Despres for hooking. 4 on 3 for 1:41.

3:17- Despres and Foligno start to fight, but the refs break it up right away. Despres sits for boarding after a huge hit on Johansen and Foligno for roughing. 4 on 4 hockey.

4:18- McElhinney has been engaged to start this period. The Pens have had some good chances towards the end of this period.

7:46- Crosby lets go of a hard slapper that is blocked by Wisniewski. He goes down and has trouble getting back to the Blue Jackets' bench.

10:17- Pouliot with some great stick work as he jumps up into the play.

10:52- Malkin feeds the puck to the front of the net as Comeau rushes to the net. McElhinney gets a piece Comeau's backhander with his glove!

12:12- Good start for both teams. Good back and forth hockey.

14:36- Johansen and Atkinson get a two-on-one against Letang. Johansen dishes to Atkinson, who is stunned by the pad of Fleury! Amazing save!

15:12- Letang with a slapper from the point, but it gets blocked.

17:30- Crosby with a chance and Perron goes to the front of the net, but couldn't connect.

20:00- It's time for the Pens to start of March with a bang! They have to come out with speed and take it to the Blue Jackets! Lets Go Pens!

No comments:

Post a Comment