Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pens 6 Isles 4

There were so many good things to say about this game going into the third period, and then the Pens had to make it interesting. Let's get the frustrating stuff out of the way first.

The first two goals were mostly Geno's fault, both were scored by defensemen at close range with the first when Gene was out of position and the second coming when he was late getting back. Geno is an unbelievable takeaway artist due to his hand-eye coordination, but he doesn't have the defensive sense or positioning to be considered a good defender right now. He's kind of like a shot-blocking specialist in basketball, it's either an unbelievable play or he leaves someone open.

The third goal was just a dumb turnover in their own end by Gonchar. It seemed like Tyler Kennedy had the puck and was about to skate up ice but Gonchar mistook the puck for a pass, was caught off guard and coughed it up. Gonch has been pretty good with the puck this season, after making some blunders last season, so I'll give him a pass.

The fourth goal was all about not being tough enough in our own crease, the puck went to the net and there were two Islanders planted in there, and all it took was some nifty stick skills by Park to get the puck in the net. You have to be tougher in your own crease, it was too easy.

For me, all their goals weren't because the Pens were getting dominated or the Islanders were stringing passes together, it was mostly keyed by a mental mistake from a Penguin (they turned the puck over 12 times). If the Pens buckle down in that third period and play smart hockey, this game would not have been as close as it ended up.

But other than that, we saw a lot of good signs from the Penguins. Sid was unreal and ended up with 6 points, Letang looked confident with the puck all night while his hard work led to the Pens fourth goal, Brent Johnson played a very solid game while not deserving the four goals tallied against him (his three consecutive stops on Okposo breakaways in the second period were critical), Geno scored a hatrick that included two impressive slappers from distance, and the most frustrating power play ever was 4-6 (even if the last one was an empty netter)! There were a lot of positives in this game, but it's always more interesting to look at the flaws.

One final note would be Pascal Dupuis getting checked into the boards late in the third causing a cut on his face and a pool of blood on the ice. Hopefully Pascal will be fine, but it was a scary moment and it makes you realize how easily that can happen on plays behind the net.

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