Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's Time!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins need a little bit of luck tonight as they face the Ottawa Senators in enemy territory. This game is one major game for the Penguins, they can clinch a postseason berth with a regulation win tonight. The Senators are the only team in the Eastern Conference looking from the outside in and are only two points behind the Penguins, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. Though the Senators are at a disadvantage, as they do not hold a tiebreaker against the three teams they trail. They need to win their remaining games and have one of the other three teams earn less than three points. Saying this game is important, is rather an understatement for the Penguins.

As I said earlier, with a win tonight the Penguins in regulation will allow them to clinch a playoff berth for the ninth consecutive season. Only the Red Wings hold a longer active streak (23 years). Also, a win tonight would give the Penguins 20 road wins for the eighth consecutive season (aside from the 2012-13 season). Even though they lost last Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers, they outshot them 47-20, a +27 shot differential. That is the second highest total this season (+29 at the New Jersey Devils on January 30). The last five games for them have been less than desirable and they seemed to be on the bad end of most things. Saying they have had some bad luck is only touching the surface and they haven't always dealt with that in a positive way. Usually a team's five-on-five shooting percentage plus save percentage will hover around 1000. However, the Penguins have a 891 total the past five game, which indicates bad luck among other things. If there was ever a time and game to turn things around, it would be tonight!

There is a sense of struggle on the offense side of things. They have had trouble putting the puck in the back of the net and not because of the opposing team's goaltender. As for the Senators goalie, Andrew Hammond or as they call him "The Hamburglar" is 17-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .939 save percentage (SVP). To crack him, the Penguins have the necessary firepower and that starts with the Captain Sidney Crosby. He is in the top five in the National Hockey League (NHL) when it comes to points per 60 minutes, assists per 60 minutes and first assists. Crosby is still leading the NHL in points at 81 with Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and John Tavares (New York Islanders) are tied for second with 80, Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers) sits in third with 79. Another big guy is Evgeni Malkin, who has been a driving force behind plays this entire season. In addition to the Penguins top centers, Brandon Sutter has four goals in his last eight games. He has climbed in goals by season with the Penguins, going from 13 goals (2013-14 season) to 19 this season.

However, it all doesn't fall on the offense alone. Defense has to step up their game and help pull the team up from their slump. Kris Letang is still out of the lineup with concussion symptoms. Letang has done some light bike exercise and there is a possibility of him being ready for the playoffs. So there is some good news. There is nothing new on Christian Ehrhoff. That means the Penguins defense will have ramped up minutes and every guy will have extra work added to their workload each game. Ben Lovejoy has racked up the most minutes on the ice, since Letang's injury. He has done well and has a very lethal shot. They need to use him more for that, it turned out well the last time they did. Ian Cole is another guy, who has been a more recent acquisition for the Penguins and has done well. He has an assist in four consecutive games, which is a career-long streak. During this span, Cole has assisted on five of the Penguins' 10 goals.

It's no secret that the Penguins have struggled at points in the season and when they slump it's a major catastrophe. The Penguins have to come with speed and play with passion tonight! Time to clinch a playoff berth! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

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

Martin, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole
Pouliot, Chorney

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 3 Senators 4

0:00- The Sens win it in overtime 4-3. Horrible way to blow a lead and Fleury was unreal. Sucks the Pens couldn't get it done for him. The Sens are only one point behind the Pens. At least we got a point.

2:16- Stone Scores. The Sens take it the Pens, who back up. Stone puts it in. 4-3 Sens

3:19- Fleury makes some unreal saves. The Pens kill off the Sens power-play.

5:00- The Sens have a power-play for 1:32 to start this overtime! The Pens have to survive and come back with some passion! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- We are headed to overtime.

0:28- The Sens get a late power-play as the Pens are called for too many men-on-the ice.

1:48- Hoffman Scores. The Sens with the faceoff and Hoffman fires it over the glove of Fleury. 3-3 tie game.

2:04- Sens with an empty net.

2:55- Thank goodness for Fleury...that is all I can say. Holding down the fort.

5:09- We are in the eye of the storm!

7:24- That is it for the Pens power-play, but that may be for the better.

7:44- Malkin is robbed by Hammond.

9:24- Condra high-sticks Martin on a play and skates to the box. Power-play for the Pens.

10:19- The Pens are not in attacking mode, but defending mode. They need to get more time in the offensive zone and give Fleury/their defense a break. Pens playing with five defense.

13:38- Crosby finds Chorney at the blue line, who lets go of a wicked shot that rings off the goal post!

15:17- Crosby continues to fly and his line crash the net. Nice change of pace there.

17:48- Fleury makes a spectator save to direct the puck up into the netting. Sens are peppering the net and the Pens look to be in deep trouble.

19:26- Stone Scores. The Pens turnover the puck in the slot area and Stone makes them pay. 3-2 Pens.

20:00- The third period is underway! Now is the time to fight and take the Sens down! Time to wrap things up Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Pens still have the lead 3-1 over the Sens!

0:38- No more power-play time for the Pens as Ryan is released.

1:02- Pouliot heads to the Pens locker room. Not sure why, but will update when I can.

2:38- Ryan takes a seat for tripping and a power-play opportunity for the Pens, but that doesn't always end in the Pens favor.

5:19- Sens score a shorthanded goal. A centering pass goes off of Pouliot's stick and the Sens start up ice. Pageau tries a cross-ice pass, but it goes off Pouliot's skate into the open net. 3-1 Pens.

5:56- Methot skates to the sin bin for cross-checking and it's power-play time for the Pens.

7:37- Bennett is now on Malkin's line replacing Comeau. His hard work is paying off and he is doing good in this game.

9:40- The Sens are a different team from the one that played in the first period. The Pens are weathering a storm during the second period. Fleury is holding down the fort.

12:03- Fleury is shutting the door in the faces of the Sens over and over again!

15:11- Fleury is dealing with an Sens barrage and making it look easy! He is engaged in this one and playing a solid game. "The Flower" is in beast mode!

16:29- Lovejoy is set free and gets a breakaway chance and Hammond makes a pad save on Lovejoy's backhanded shot!

18:38- Now Lovejoy is called for cross-checking and the Sens get a power-play chance. The Pens bring out their penalty killers.

19:12- Lovejoy turns over the puck and the Sens go across to Karlsson, who is absolutely robbed by the glove of Fleury!

20:00- We are back for the second period! The Pens have to pick up where they left off in the first period and keep the Sens on their heels! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Pens have the 3-0 lead! What a great first period by the Pens and a passionate showing!

0:34- The Pens power-play comes to an end.

0:47- Malkin is taken hard into the boards by Methot and is shaken up after the hit. He gets up and continues on the power-play.

2:34- The Pens will get a power-play chance. Wiercioch to the box for high-sticking Crosby, who has been flying.

3:10- Fleury makes a nice save on Macarthur after the Pens turn over the puck.

5:04- HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby slaps a sicken backhander on net, which Hammond gets a piece of with his glove! The puck goes behind Hammond and Hornqvist gets the garbage! 3-0 Pens!

6:02- Hammond gets a piece to rob Malkin!

6:29- Malkin comes off the bench and feeds one to Comeau. He puts it wide!

8:08- Solid start by the Pens and Fleury. The Pens are showing their passion in this one.

9:41- An excellent penalty kill for the Pens and Lapierre is set free.

11:41- Fleury bails out Chorney after he turned over the puck in front of the net. Lapierre ends up with a high-sticking penalty. Penalty kill time for the Pens.

12:06- Turris fires a tricky shot that Fleury gets a piece of.

14:44- BENNETT SCORES! Cole makes a great play to get the puck up to Bennett and Sutter up front! Bennett puts the loose puck in the open net!

15:43- Fleury makes a huge save on Legwand's shot.

19:50- CROSBY SCORES! What a way to start a game! The Senators win the opening faceoff, but Martin intercepts and goes to Hornqvist. Hornqvist feeds a pass to Crosby on the rush and rifles one past Hammond! 1-0 Pens! 

20:00- The puck has dropped in Ottawa! Big game for the Pens! They have to come out with speed and a fire! Lets Go Pens! 

No comments:

Post a Comment