Monday, March 9, 2015

Shark infested waters are no problem for the Penguins!

By: MF,

The last of the Night Owl Club games will be tonight! The Pittsburgh Penguins will finish up their four game road trip tonight against the San Jose Sharks. It will be the first time these two teams have met this season. The Penguins head into this game with only eight road losses in regulation, which ties them with the Anaheim Ducks for the fewest in the National Hockey League (NHL). They also have a 7-2 record against the Pacific Division, this year. On top of that, the Penguins are tied for the second-lowest, in goals-against average at 2.38.

A big reason for their success is the contributions from everyone on the roster, not just the superstars. The Penguins are lucky enough to have talented wingers and centers. Guys like Brandon Sutter, who centers the third line of the Penguins. He has won at least 50% of his face-offs in ten consecutive games, which is a key in getting set up plays. A big factor into the scoring has been the Penguins first line of David Perron, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist. These guys have been clicking. Perron goes into this game with four points (two goals and two assists) in his last three games versus the Sharks. However, the big star one the line lately has been Hornqvist. In his last seven games, he has seven goals, two assists and nine points. Let's not forget that Hornqvist has scored the game-winning-goal in back-to-back games. First against the Ducks last Friday and then the LA Kings last Saturday. He has been on fire and really coming into his own. Look for the first line to get the game going early, but don't forget the second line, which has also been on point.

Now let's move on to the ever deadly defense of the Penguins. I could write an entire piece on each defensive player, that is how good they have been lately. Kris Letang is the only defenseman in the NHL to have 40 assists on the season. All this is lead by the goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. He is having a phenomenal season and giving the Penguins confidence every game that they can win. Even when the other team has more shots or is taking it them, Fleury has held down the fort. He did it against the Kings last Saturday and not only did the Penguins, Fleury earned his ninth shutout of the season. Thus, putting him further in the lead of the most shutouts in the NHL. He tied a team record for the most shutouts in a season, which hasn't happened since 1998-1999. He continues to extend his career high in that category. This gives Fleury a shutout average of 5.7 games in 2014-2015. Prior to this season, Fleury average a shutout every 19 games. This is only one part of his game, Fleury has 30 wins on the season (6th in NHL), 2.16 goals-against-average (5th in the NHL) and .924 save percentage (8th in the NHL). This is truly a Vezina Trophy season for the "Flower." I am proud to call him our netminder!

Onto the game at hand. Everyone was present for the team's morning skate, including Christian Ehrhoff who has missed 16 of the last 17 games due to concussion symptoms. Nothing else was a change. Lineup will be game time. They will have to come out with speed and get shots on net. They can't rely on Fleury every time. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

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

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Sharks 2 SO

The Pens fall to the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout loss. Tough loss after they worked really hard in the first and at the end of the third. At least we got a point out of it.

Niemi denies Downie with a pad save.

Wingels scores.

Bennett misses a wide open net shot.

Hertl goes wide!

Sutter is stopped by Niemi.

Thornton rings one off the post!

Kunitz is stopped by the pad.

Burns goes wide!

Malkin stopped.

Fleury with glove save on Marleau!


Karlsson scores.

Crosby is denied.

Couture is stopped!

Perron is stopped.

Pavelski no go!

0:00- We are going to a shootout!

0:05- Pouliot hits the goal post!

1:41- A lot of odd-man rushes for both teams.

2:30- Sutter and Comeau to a 2 on 1 chance, but Comeau's shot goes high and wide!

3:33- The Pens power-play comes to an end.

5:00- Let's end this overtime early and with a Pens win! The Pens have a 1:34 power-play to start! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- Regulation wasn't enough and this 1-1 tie game is headed to overtime!

0:26- Wingels goes for delay of game. The Pens have a power-play.

1:36- Niemi is the only reason the Pens haven't taken the lead. Just being peppered with shots.

2:47- Niemi is holding down the fort for the Sharks as the Pens are making a late surge.

3:35- Some amazing zone time by the Pens second line. Malkin was stick handling in a phone booth. He back hands one and Niemi makes the save.

4:47- Hertl and Kunitz are released and the game is back to full strength.

6:47- Hertl and Kunitz have a bear hug fight. Both skate over to the boxes for roughing and we will get some 4 on 4 hockey.

7:13- The Pens come up with a great penalty kill. Scuderi was blocking shots and getting beating up by it.

9:13- Huge penalty kill for the Pens as Downie is sent to the sin bin for holding the stick.

9:29- Fleury with a solid shoulder save.

10:37- The Pens have stepped up their game and pin the Sharks down for a bit. Niemi scrambling in the net. Keep up the pressure boys!

12:38- CROSBY SCORES! Crosby gets going and flies past the Sharks! He rips his magic backhand past Niemi! Mark San Jose off the Crosby no goal list! 1-0 Pens!

14:40- Pouliot stick handles his way through the center all the way to the net. The puck is knocked off his stick before he can get a quality shot off.

16:25- Hornqvist rifles one that just goes wide of the net!

20:00- One more period of regulation left for the Pens! They will have to get traffic in front of Niemi and force him to cough up some rebounds! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Sharks still lead 1-0.

1:01- Niemi robs Comeau with a solid glove save.

1:15- Crosby gets a few chances on net. He really wants that goal. Sharks ice the puck out of desperation.

1:46- Crosby gets some speed down the wing, but his pass to Bennett is broken up.

2:12- Martin was on the bench during the power-play. I wouldn't dream of sitting him. He is great at controlling the puck and calming things down.

3:00- We are back to full strength hockey.

5:00- Some 4 on 4 hockey as Vlasic and Perron get off-setting holding penalties.

5:53- The Pens power-play ends. Way too many passes and not enough shots.

7:53- Pavelski will head to the box for slashing and the Pens get their second power-play of the night.

9:39- Both teams are trading scoring chances and the goalies are stepping up.

11:07- Pouliot gains more confidence every game.

14:20- That power-play comes to an end without any success.

16:20- Now a power-play for the Pens as Thornton sits for roughing.

17:18- Fleury with some great saves to start this period. Locked into this game.

20:00- The puck has dropped on the second period! The Pens have to get traffic in front of Niemi and rattle his cage! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Sharks have the 1-0 lead.

0:56- Nieto Scores. The Sharks win the fore-check battle behind the net. Tierney outlets it to Nieto in the slot. He puts one in to give the Sharks the 1-0 lead.

1:00- The Pens kill off the Sharks power-play.

3:00- Scuderi is now taking a seat for cross-checking. Second power-play chance for the Sharks.

4:11- Lovejoy fires from the point and Kunitz bats at the rebound. Niemi with the save and holds strong as Malkin tries to jam it in.

6:37- The Pens are out-shooting the Sharks 9-4.

8:49- Crosby picks up a Shark turnover and rips one from center. Niemi with the outstretched pad save.

10:33- The Pens with a solid penalty kill effort. Scuderi fires a rocket from the point, which is gobbled up by Niemi.

12:33- The Sharks will get the first power-play of the game as Downie heads to the box for tripping. The Pens bring out their penalty kill.

14:58- Winnik gets the puck behind the Sharks defense, but Niemi makes a strong pad save. The Sharks clear the rebound chance.

16:23- Crosby outlets a pass to Scuderi up top. Niemi sees it all the way and makes the glove save.

17:30- Niemi makes a glove save on a wrister by Bennett.

18:12- Malkin gets a look at a rebound beside the net, but is cancelled out by a Shark.

20:00- The last of the late night games has started! The Pens have to come out with speed and pin the Sharks down early! Lets Go Pens!

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