Thursday, December 1, 2016

Can the Pittsburgh Stars outshine the Dallas Stars?

By: MF,

Another back-to-back game scenario for the Pittsburgh Penguins who have been struggling lately to put together consistent wins. They are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games after going 9-2-2 to start the season. They will be facing off against another struggling team, the Dallas Stars who have been having trouble winning on the road. The Stars are 3-6-4 when away from home and 0-2-2 in their past four road games.

As for the Stars, they will look for a solid game from their netminder, Antti Niemi. He is 5-2-3 in 13 games, while also earning a 3.05 goals-against average (GAA) and .906 save percentage (SVP). The Stars will also turn to Tyler Seguin who leads them with 24 points. He has an assist in each of his past two games. A struggling team can be the most deadly of teams to face. The Penguins need to stay on their toes during this one.

Now the Penguins will also be dangerous as they look to rebound from their past game performances. Tonight, Marc-Andre Fleury will have hold down the fort on the backend. Though Fleury is 0-4-2 in their past six games, look for both him and the team to bring their best. Even though the team has struggled both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been putting up points on the scoresheet. Crosby has five goals and nine assists in his past seven games. He leads the National Hockey League (NHL) with 15 goals in 17 games. While Malkin has seven points in his past six and is tied with Crosby with 22 points for the team lead.

Special teams will be key for both teams and the Penguins need to get their power play up to par. They have an offensive powerhouse on paper, but they have not been producing on the man-advantage. The Penguins power play is 15 for 78 (19.2%). This is unacceptable for this team and they need to get to work right away. Also, they all need to stay out of the penalty box. The Penguins have the tenancy to get things moving in their direction only to end things when they get a penalty against them. When their penalty killing unit comes out, it stops all the forwards progress and keeps the stars on the bench. This benefits the opposing team and needs to be fixed. On the penalty kill, the Penguins are 65 for 83 (78.3%).

Tonight, the Penguins need to focus on playing a consistent and disciplined game against the Stars. This will allow them to rebound and get things back on track. They need to come out with speed and put the Stars on their heels, they cannot be caught off guard again. Lets Go Pens!   

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Sheary - Crosby - Hornqvist
Hagelin - Malkin - Rust
Wilson - Bonino - Kessel
Kuhnhackl - Cullen - Fehr

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Daley
Cole - Schultz 

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
PENS 6 Stars 2

3rd Period

1:29 - Even with the score at 6-2, we can't forget the efforts by Fleury earlier in the period to keep the Pens in the lead. The Stars pressured and he was a brick wall. 32 saves, so far, for the Flower.

2:05 - BONINO SCORES! Wilson directs the puck onto the net and Niemi makes the first save, but the puck bounces around in front! Bonino gets a stick on it first to put it behind Niemi! 6-2 Pens


3:00 - Stars get an extra attacker as they empty their net.

3:05 - Great reward for the efforts of Fleury to keep the Pens in the lead. He has been unreal in the net tonight.

3:38 - SHEARY SCORES! Crosby comes down the wing and makes a pass through the center and two Star defensemen to Sheary! Sheary directs the puck into the open net! 4-2 Pens

5:07 - Kessel with a quick turn shot that is kicked out by Niemi.

7:08 - Fleury has been a fort for the Pens in this one. It would be nice if the Pens could get another goal to give their goalie a little breathing room.

9:30 - Fleury with save after save as the puck bounces around in front of the net. Cole and Schultz step up to help their netminder by boxing out Star players searching for the loose puck. Fleury finally is able to cover for the whistle.

10:25 - Cullen and Kuhnhackl cross paths entering the zone. Kuhnhackl goes wide and fires a shot that is stopped by Niemi. The Stars are able to clear the rebound.

13:03 - Crosby kicks the puck up to his stick and around Johns to give himself a one-on-one with Niemi. He snaps one on net and Niemi is able to get a piece of it. Unreal play by the Pens Captain.

15:06 - The Stars survive the Pens power play. Solid job by the Stars to block shots.

17:06 - Power play chance for the Pens as Oleksiak sits for hooking.

18:42 - Seguin comes flying down the wing with Maatta right with him. Fleury gets out on the angle to deny him. Then Fleury stretches out to the far post to deny Eakin's wraparound chance.

20:00 - The guys are back on the ice for the third period! The Pens need to limit the Stars time and space by keeping them pinned in their own zone! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - That will be the end of the second period as the Pens take the 3-2 lead!

0:21.5 - CROSBY SCORES! Sheary makes a pass behind the net to Crosby at the side! Crosby tries to bank a shot off Niemi that bounces back out! Crosby takes another swing at the puck in the air and the bank shot works! 3-2 Pens

1:18 - Spezza with a sneaky shot that is stopped by Fleury and cleared by Cullen.

3:17 - Some offensive pressure by the first line of the Pens. Crosby goes back door to Schultz who jumps into the play. He just can't get a clean stick on the puck as the Stars break up the play.

4:05 - All Stars right now, the Pens are just chasing the puck in their own zone.

6:22 - Stars have been throwing a bunch of pucks on net and Fleury has looked sharped. The Pens need to limit these chances and start generating their own.

8:39 - Seguin scores on the power play. Seguin snaps a shot from a bad angle, almost parallel with the goal line, that goes over the blocker shoulder of Fleury. He had no chance on that one. 2-2 tie game

9:07 - Seguin's shot goes off a few bodies and trickles to the side of the net. Jamie Benn gets a stick on the puck, but whiffs on an open net chance.

10:25 - Fehr takes an interference penalty and the Stars get a chance to tie things up on the power play.

10:47 - A huge amount of credit needs to be given to Fleury. He shut down those numerous odd man rushes the Stars had to start this period. This allowed the Pens to take the lead after that power play goal instead of just tying things or closing a big goal gap.

11:13 - That will be the end to Jordie Benn's penalty.

12:16 - The Pens still have a regular power play for 1:03.

12:17 - HORNQVIST SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Malkin finds Hornqvist with some space in the slot! He takes time to switch to the backhand for a blind shot backwards! Niemi opens the five hole and the puck goes through! 2-1 Pens

13:13 - Hockey Gods seems to be looking out for the Pens as Jordie Benn gets a delay of game penalty. Five-on-three power play for 1:48. The Pens need to capitalize.

13:25 - Malkin is tripped up at the point by Seguin and the Pens get a power play opportunity.

13:57 - Sheary tries to put in a wrap around chance, but he ends up on his backhand and is unable to handle the puck.

14:44 - Pens need to clamp down on these chances the stars are getting. Way too much open space for the Stars.

15:17 - Hamhuis jumps up into the play and receives the puck while driving down center all alone. Fleury out to challenge and ends up with the puck.

15:40 - Stars get a two-on-one chance. Ritchie makes a cross-ice pass through the middle to Roussel who directs the puck wide.

16:37 - A man is caught up the ice for the Pens, which allows for a four-on-one chance for the Stars. Fleury squares up to Ritchie's shot and kicks it out of harms way.

20:00 - We are back for the second period of play! The Pens need to keep pressuring the Stars and create havoc in front of Niemi! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period horn sounds as this one is tied at 1-1.

1:14 - Daley blocks a shot in front and goes down in some discomfort. However, he looks to be no worse for wear. Don't know if you have heard, but hockey players are pretty tough guys.

2:33 - Hornqvist takes a few shots right in front of the net, but Niemi holds strong to keep the puck out of the net.

3:16 - Solid penalty kill for the Pens. They kept the Stars from really setting up their power play unit.

5:16 - Now the Stars will get a chance at a full two minute power play as Kuhnhackl is sent to the sin bin for tripping.

5:34 - Kuhnhackl chips one over the net!

8:35 - Shore scores. Johns fires a hard shot from the point that goes off a few bodies. It looks to go off the skate of Shore in front and behind Fleury. 1-1 tie game

10:13 - Letang is released from the box and the Pens get a rush into the offensive zone. Stars end up getting the puck out of danger.

10:22 - Short nine second power play for the Stars.

11:13 - COLE SCORES! The Pens go forward on a neutral zone face-off and Kessel battles to win the puck! He finds Cole after entering the zone! Cole fires a rising shot that blows past the blocker of Niemi! 1-0 Pens

12:13 - So much for that power play for the Pens as penalties still plague them. Letang is called for hooking, lazy play by him. Four-on-four hockey for 1:51.

12:22 - Now Eaves skates over to the box as the Pens head back onto the power play.

13:57 - Another Pens chance denied by Niemi. Solid start for the Stars goalie.

15:08 - Successful penalty kill for the Stars, thanks to their goaltender Niemi.

16:56 - Niemi comes flying across the goal line to rob Malkin on the doorstep!

17:08 - The first power play of the game will go to the Pens as Jamie Benn sits for hooking.

17:37 - Big pad save by Fleury on Eakin's shot down low.

20:00 - We are back for another night of Pens hockey! The Pens need to play a consistent and disciplined game to get back on track! Lets Go Pens! 

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