Saturday, March 21, 2015

Snap it!

By: MF, 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are set to end their short road trip tonight in Arizona. The Penguins will be battling the Arizona Coyotes and really need a win. They have lost their last four games and need the points, as the playoffs are looming. It's crunch time and every team is battling for a better position, this is a time when every point counts. The Penguins need a win not only for the points, but to get them out of losing funk they have been in. They have won four of their last six contests against the Coyotes, dating back to January 27, 2007.

To get the win tonight, the Penguins have to ignite their offense. Lately, they have been struggling to get points on the scoreboard, since Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist have been injured. Though they have plenty of talent, they just haven't been able to put pucks in the net often enough. This will have to be overcome and quickly. A key to that is the power-play, which did end up scoring last game. The Penguins are 24-4-1 when they score a power-play goal. When they get a chance on the power-play, they must take advantage of the opportunity. Also, Sidney Crosby will have to show his star power and use his skills to set up plays. He has 24 points (nine goals and 15 assists) against the Western Conference this season (22 games), which leads the Penguins. Crosby has been leading not only among the Penguins, but the entire National Hockey League (NHL). He has 23 goals (tied for second in the NHL), 49 assists (tied fore second), 72 points (tied for second) and has a 1.09 points per game average (first). Look for him to get things going and light a fire under the rest of the guys.

Now we can't talk about getting a win, without mentioning the defense and the offensive power they possess. A major guy leading the charge is the Masterton Trophy Nominee, Kris Letang. He had a total of seven shots during their last game (versus the Dallas Stars), which tied a season high for him. Letang is achieving many career highs this season and having an unreal season. He has 53 points, 42 assists and 11 goals, which are all career highs for him. Letang is having a Norris Trophy winning season and he is a guy to look too when the offense is struggling. This goes without saying that the reason the defense feels comfortable stepping up into plays is, the amazing work of their netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. He is also having a phenomenal season and reaching new career highs. When it comes to the Western Conference, Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals in 12 of 18 games against the West (8-3-1 record). Having him hold down the fort early will ensure the Penguins get a chance to put a few chances on goal. Not to mention the saying, "defenses win Championships."

In addition, tonight's game will mark Steve Downie's 400th career game (Tampa Bay Lightning, 214; Philadelphia Flyers, 89; Colorado, 33; and Penguins 63 games played). A good way to celebrate is to get a win and snap this four game losing streak! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

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

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 3 Coyotes 1

3rd Period

0:12- CROSBY SCORES AN EMPTY NETTER! Crosby pressures and sends the puck down the ice into the empty net! 3-1 Pens!

0:57- Fleury flashes the glove! What a save!

1:00- Smith comes out. Coyotes with empty net!

1:52- The Pens are keeping the Coyotes from pulling their goalie!

3:47- Fleury makes a huge save on Arcobello up front. Pens with a huge penalty kill.

5:41- Letang will visit the box and the Coyotes get a power-play. Only four defense guys for the Pens.

6:32- The Coyotes are starting to pressure the Pens and pin them in their own zone.

8:52- Crombeen fires through traffic and Fleury directs the shot to the corner.

11:09- Downie is robbed by the glove of Smith!

13:32- Fleury has been called upon early in this period, keeping the Pens in the lead.

16:38- Power-play for the Pens comes to an end.

17:30- Perron's center pass is picked off by Rieder in front of the Pens net. Fleury robs Rieder!

18:38- The Pens get power-play #4 as Crosby draws a tripping penalty.

20:00- Intermission ends and it's time for the third period! The Pens need to keep up the pressure and not let up on the Coyotes! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period comes to an end and the Pens have the 2-1 lead over the Coyotes.

0:39- Solid penalty kill by the Pens. Fleury with some strong saves to keep the Pens in the lead.

2:39- Coyote power-play time. Perron for tripping.

5:10- Things have turned around and the Pens are continuing to pressure. They need to get more breathing room with only having five defenders.

7:39- WINNIK SCORES! Crosby wins the offensive zone faceoff and gets it back to Letang! Letang rips the bouncing puck down the center, Winnik gets a piece and it beats Smith! Winnik's first goal in a Penguin uniform! 2-1 Pens!

8:21- Letang gets a line and fires on net. Smith gloves it up.

11:13- SUTTER SCORES A POWER-PLAY GOAL! Smith goes behind the net and tries to clear the puck down the ice! It bounces off of Sutter's back and into the wide open net! 1-1 tie game! Thank you Smith!

12:13- Now the Pens will get a power-play. Vitale goes for tripping.  

13:02- Crosby finds Perron at the blue line. Perron rifles one just wide of the net! Delayed penalty situation.

15:00- Comeau and Crosby get a 2 on 1 chance. Comeau tries for the pass, but Crosby is unable to get a stick on it.

15:39- Crosby sets up Perron, who is crashing the net. Smith with the pad save!

16:24- The Pens have a lot more energy in this period. Look like they had a coming too in the locker room.

20:00- Time for the second period! The Pens need to find some offensive and shoot every chance they get! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period comes to an end and the Pens are down 1-0 to the Coyotes.

1:00- Found out that Ehrhoff isn't playing. Not explanation why, but the Pens have no one to replace him. Only 20 players made the trip.

2:11- Haven't seen Ehrhoff in a long time. Defensive pairs have been mixed up and Letang/Martin are getting extra minutes.

4:59- Crosby fires one from the point with Perron up front. Smith makes a save with his blocker.

6:47- Both teams are made whole.

8:47- Some 4 on 4 hockey. Doan and Adams get matching penalties.

10:42- Zero shots registered for the Pens...I thought I saw a couple, but apparently not.

13:18- The first unit of the Pens power-play got some good zone time. Better looking then the first one, but they are unable to score.

15:18- Crosby has a breakaway chance, but is held up by Ekman-Larsson, he goes to the box. Another chance for the Pens power-play.

15:19- The Pens notch a successful penalty kill. At least they are getting the job done.

17:19- Well now the Coyotes will be looking for a power-play goal. Bennett heads to the sin bin for holding.

17:22- Not what the Pens were looking for on the power-play.

18:26- Rieder Scores. The Pens turnover the puck at their own blue line. Letang is tired and can't catch up to Rieder, who puts one in the net. (Letang was out for about 1:30) 1-0 Coyotes.

19:22- Nice opening shift by the Pens. Crosby draws a penalty. Stone sits in the box for holding and now time for the power-play.

20:00- Game on! The Pens have to come out with some jump in their step and pressure the Coyotes early! We don't want to be playing caught up later in the game! Lets Go Pens! 

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