Big win for the 'Guins. MAF really stepped up and delivered when we needed one. It wasn't picture perfect, but it didn't have to be, especially considering it was on the road against a tough opponent.
As I mentioned, MAF was huge, stopping 37 shots while letting only one get by him, which you can peg on the penalty kill, who were completely dominated for about a minute and a half, before the Flames finally buried a shot set up by a cross-rink pass. But the biggest play of the game was the Flower's save on Nigel Dawes' breakaway right out of the box in the third period. If Dawes scores there, the game would be tied and that arena would have blown up. Just a huge save.
Sid continued his spectacular play, scoring the opening goal on another powerful move to the goal. He also set the screen for the game winning second goal (give credit to Bill Geurin's presence in front of the net as well... actually credit was given as he must have tipped the puck because he was given credit for the goal).
On the power play, the Pens have reluctantly returned Malkin to the right side and moved Sid closer to the net, positions that benefit both of them. It did Malkin no good to put him on the left side, where his position completely neutralized his powerful slapper, while Sid, whose shot is much improved from previous seasons, is still much more suited to be near the net, where he can use his fantastic eye-hand coordination and quick hands to redirect shots and find rebounds. Let's hope they stick to this configuration in the upcoming games.
Geno still didn't play as well as we should expect, but he drew a few penalties and wasn't quite the turn over machine he has been the last few weeks. As simple as it sounds, one goal could do wonders to his confidence and really lift him out of this funk he's been in.
The third line continues to be the picture of stability they've always been. It's nice to know that every shift they come out for, you're guaranteed a solid minute of checking, defense, and puck cycling. They put the game out of reach late in the third with a nifty take away by Jordan Staal and feed to TK out front, who showed patience with the puck by waiting for the goalie to overreact and then burying the puck far-side.
All in all, a very solid effort from the Pens, although one would hope they limit the opponents opportunities a little more scarcely this evening, when they face the Oilers at 9:30.
The Pirates signed D.J. Carrasco to a one year deal, but since it's a minor league contract, he won't count to the 40-man roster... yet. It will be interesting to see who they remove from that 40-man when the time comes (my guess would Anthony Claggett, Brian Bixler, or John Raynor/Brandon Moss/Delwyn Young- whoever doesn't make the team). Either way, Carrasco is a good sign; he generates ground balls, prevents HR, and has a decent k/bb rate- a good combination for a reliever.
In the meantime, ESPN's Rob Neyer has some good things to say (on top of the good things FanGraphs had to say) about the Ryan Church signing.
The Steelers hired a new offensive line coach, one Sean Kugler. I wonder if he can teach Ben how to get rid of the ball earlier, or would that be the the QB coach's job? Or... throw the damn ball, Ben!