- A Pittsburgh Penguins Blog © 2009
Friday, January 16, 2015

Game Preview Template


Anaheim Ducks
@Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA
Penguins Record: 21-19-4 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Flyers Record: 27-14-3 (2nd in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting:
October 16th, 2008 @ Pittsburgh (4-3 Caps)

Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Chris Minard - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Maxime Talbot - Miroslav Satan
Paul Bissonnette - Dustin Jeffrey - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Ryan Whitney
Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Hal Gill

Marc-Andre Fleury (13-10-2 / 2.93 GAA / .905 SV%)

Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) - on injured reserve
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve
Pascal Dupuis (knee) - day-to-day, will miss tonight's game

GOALS: Evgeni Malkin (17)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (49)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (66)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+15)

Alex Ovechkin - Sergei Fedorov - Viktor Kozlov
Brooks Laich - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann - Michael Nylander - Chris Clark
Donald Brashear - Dave Steckel - Matt Bradley

Mike Green - John Erskine
Shaone Morrisonn - Jeff Schultz
Milan Jurcina - Karl Alzner

Brent Johnson (11-6-2 / 2.75 GAA / .909 SV%)

Brian Pothier (post-concussion syndrome) - on injured reserve
Tom Poti (groin) - on injured reserve
Boyd Gordon (back spasms) - day-to-day, questionable for tonight's game

GOALS: Alex Ovechkin (27)
ASSISTS: Niklas Backstrom (33)
POINTS: Alex Ovechkin (54)
+/-: Alexander Semin (+21)

I think the Washington/Pittsburgh rivalry from the 90s is back.

First you have Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin exchanging comments.

They you have Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin showing an obvious dislike for one another.

If this were a playoff series it would be every dream the NHL has coming true.

The Penguins are coming off an impressive victory over the Flyers last night. The Capitals played last night as well, but with less success, losing 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers.

This is another game the Penguins have to win. To be honest, they have to win a lot of their remaining games if they want to see the playoffs from anywhere other than their living rooms.

The good news for the Penguins is that it looks like the Capitals have finally cooled down a bit. They've lost their last three games after winning 14 of their previous 16 games. The Penguins will need to continue to play the system that brought them success last night. They will need to keep playing that system until the confidence and hard work that took them to last year's Stanley Cup Final returns.

Ovechkin will no doubt continue to play a physical style against Malkin. Hopefully having Matt Cooke back on the first line will eliminate any further rough stuff. That being said, they Penguins cannot allow themselves to retaliate and get into penalty trouble. Washington has a very dangerous power play.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh power play will definitely need to be better. It seems recently that the Penguins play their worst with the man advantage. If the Capitals get frustrated and play too rough the Penguins will need to be able to make them pay on the score sheet by scoring power play goals. If the Penguins power play is ineffective teams will continue to take liberties with them knowing there will be no consequences.

A win tonight would put the Penguins back into the eighth spot in the conference, as Carolina is idle. A Buffalo loss will definitely help as well. Not that it matters where the Pens are in the standings tomorrow, but they need to take every chance they have to gain ground.

It should be a good game tonight. Hopefully the Penguins remember how to win at Mellon Arena. They've lost six of their last eight at home. Those two wins came against the Thrashers and Islanders, who aren't exactly power houses.

Prediction: 4-2 Penguins
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Where you can find me...

I assume you've noticed that I'm no longer writing on this site.

If for any reason you want to find me, you can do so on The Pensblog .

I'm also on Twitter @pensexperience.

Thanks! Continue reading...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shut It Down

I probably should have posted this a long time ago.
If anyone is wondering where I've been, I haven't disappeared.
I'm currently devoting my blogging time to The Pensblog and I have been for about a year now.
I likely won't post anything else on this blog, so I suggest you head over there.

You can also find me on Twitter @pensexperience Continue reading...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Recap: Penguins 4 - Lightning 3 [OT]

If, in October, someone had told me that one of the season's biggest highlights would be an overtime victory against Tampa Bay, I would have laughed. Of course, I also would have laughed if someone told me the Penguins would be in a desperate race for the finals playoff spot with Florida and Carolina.

But both of those things are true.

Evgeni Malkin is the best player on this team. Sidney Crosby is an amazing talent with great vision and skill. He's the kind of guy who will work as hard as he can every single game. But no one on this roster can take over a game like Evgeni Malkin can. The commentators during the game were right, it was like watching Mario out there.

This was one of those games that makes me want to throw out $150.00 for Malkin's jersey, despite the fact that I still hate the Penguins RBK Edge jersey design.

It was actually a pretty pathetic game. The Penguins once again spent the majority of the game being outplayed by a team they should have easily dominated. They seem to always struggle against new goaltenders and last night was no different. As the second period ended I truly believed Mike McKenna was going to get a shutout in his first full NHL game. I've been a Penguins fan for almost 20 years and I was ready to give up on the team. But Evgeni Malkin proved me wrong.
"I'm mad because we're losing." - Evgeni Malkin
That's exactly right. The Penguins shouldn't be down on themselves, they shouldn't be sad, they shouldn't feel hopeless. They should be mad. If you look at the talent on this team, even with all the summer defections, you see a team that should definitely be in the playoff hunt.

This was a great, character-building victory. It will be incredibly hard for the Penguins to build on this, since they face Columbus, Detroit and San Jose in their next three games, but that is exactly what they need to do.

Last night proved that the season isn't over yet. Maybe the boost from this game, combined with the challenge of facing two of the best teams in the West, will cause the Penguins to up their game and finish the season strong. Maybe they'll make the playoffs. Maybe Malkin will win the Hart Trophy.

After last night those things don't seem so impossible anymore.
Continue reading...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Pittsburgh Penguins


Anaheim Ducks
@Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Penguins Record: 24-23-5 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Flyers Record: 17-24-10 (12th in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting:
December 23rd, 2008 @ Pittsburgh (2-0 Lightning)

Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Luca Caputi - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Chris Minard - Maxime Talbot - Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis - Bill Thomas - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Rob Scuderi
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Alex Goligoski - Ryan Whitney

Marc-Andre Fleury (16-13-3 / 2.85 GAA / .910 SV%)

Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) - on injured reserve
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve

GOALS: Evgeni Malkin (22)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (54)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (76)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+16)

Vaclav Prospal - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Ryan Malone - Jeff Halpern - Evgeny Artyukhin
Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Mark Recchi
Gary Roberts - Ryan Craig - Adam Hall

Andrej Meszaros - Paul Ranger
Steve Eminger - Lukas Krajicek
Cory Murphy - Matt Smaby

Mike McKenna (0-0-0 / 0.00 GAA / 1.000 SV%)

Jamie Heward (concussion) - on injured reserve
Paul Szczechura (lower body) - on injured reserve
Marek Malik (ankle) - on injured reserve
Mike Smith (upper body) - on injured reserve
Olaf Kolzig (left biceps tendon surgery) - on injured reserve, out for season

GOALS: Vincent Lecavalier (23)
ASSISTS: Martin St. Louis (30)
POINTS: Martin St. Louis (48)
+/-: Martin St. Louis (+6)

Miroslav Satan will be a healthy scratch tonight. I have to say that's a good move. He has not been performing recently and the last thing the Penguins need is another defensively liability. If he was scoring goals his lack of defensive hockey would be overlooked but he's not. Scoring goals is his only job and he's not doing it, so benching him makes sense.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about Gary Roberts return tonight. This may be the last time Roberts steps into the Igloo, so I hope he gets a large ovation. When he left I assumed that his veteran leadership was no longer required, but I was wrong. Gary Roberts is the exact kind of player the Penguins need right now. He works hard every single night and, even at his age, he's always a factor. I wish he'd come back and finish his career in the 'Burgh.

Mike McKenna will be in net for the Lightning. He played in his first NHL game last night, stepping in in relief.

If the Penguins lose this game it is very bad news. Their schedule only gets tougher from here on out. The upcoming Western Conference games against Columbus, Detroit and San Jose will likely not be pretty. They then finish off the month with games against Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia and the Islanders. Outside of that last one, all of those teams have given them trouble this year.

It's another must win tonight.

Prediction: 4-2 Penguins
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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Recap: Canadiens 4 - Penguins 2

None of the mistakes the Penguins made last night were new. They got an early lead, they blew it, they fell apart for a period, they played weak defense, they mounted a comeback attempt too late and they lost the game.

It's the same story every night.

We all know the team's problems. There defense is completely shaken. The guys that shut down teams like the Flyers and the Rangers during last year's playoffs now can't manage to clear one puck out of their zone. The Penguins defense is the definition of soft. This team is incredibly easy to play against.

Secondary scoring is nonexistent. It was great to see Luca Caputi work hard in front of the net and score. I'd forgotten what that looked like. People like Jordan Staal, Maxime Talbot and Miroslav Satan have disappeared. The team's offense cannot rest with only two players, no matter how good they are. Again, the Penguins are making it too easy. They don't work hard. They don't gather loose pucks. They don't head to the net and scramble for garbage goals. They're too easy to play against.

Their power play, despite scoring yesterday, is as close to useless as it gets. Rarely do the Penguins make their opposition pay for fouling them. Unless their definition of "payback" is "pass the puck around the perimeter until a defenseman can get a shot off that will likely be blocked and cleared from the zone." Again, it's all too easy.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are incredibly easy to play against.

Malkin, Crosby and Fleury are the only players who look like they care. They're the only players that look like they remember how to play NHL hockey. The rest of the team is lost, including the coaching staff.

I'm not sure what else to say.
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Montreal Canadiens


Pittsburgh Penguins
@Montreal Canadiens

Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
Penguins Record: 24-22-5 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Maple Leafs Record: 28-16-6 (4th in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting:
December 27th, 2008 @ Pittsburgh (3-2 Canadiens)

Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Miroslav Satan - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Pascal Dupuis - Bill Thomas - Chris Minard
Luca Caputi - Maxime Talbot - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Ryan Whitney
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi - Hal Gill

Marc-Andre Fleury (16-12-3 / 2.82 GAA / .911 SV%)

Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) - on injured reserve
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve

GOALS: Evgeni Malkin (21)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (54)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (75)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+17)

Sergei Kostitsyn - Tomas Plekanec - Alexei Kovalev
Christopher Higgins - Saku Koivu - Matt D'Agostini
Max Pacioretty - Maxim Lapierre - Sergei Kostitsyn
Alex Henry - Steve Begin - Tom Kostopoulos

Andrei Markov - Mike Komisarek
Josh Gorges - Roman Hamrlik
Ryan O'Byrne - Francis Bouillon

Carey Price (17-8-5 / 2.53 GAA / .913 SV%)

Mathieu Dandenault (left arm surgery) - on injured reserve
Georges Laraque (lower body) - on injured reserve
Alex Tanguay (separated left shoulder) - on injured reserve
Robert Lang (left Achilles surgery) - out indefinitely
Guillaume Latendresse (shoulder) - week-to-week

GOALS: Robert Lang (18)
ASSISTS: Andrei Markov (33)
POINTS: Andrei Markov (40)
+/-: Andrei Markov (+9)

The Montreal Canadiens are hurting. They're missing Robert Lang, their leading goal scorer, among many others. They've only won one game in their last six. If there was ever a time for the Penguins to strike, it's tonight.

Unfortunately Carey Price will be at the other end of the ice.

Price was outstanding during the last meeting between the Penguins and Canadiens. He was the main reason the Habs were victorious.

Just like every game, the Penguins need this win. Their line-up is finally getting healthier. They need to start winning.

Tyler Kennedy will miss this game with a suspension. Phillipe Boucher will be a scratch as will Alex Goligoski, for some reason. Goligoski deserves to play, at least until Gonchar returns.

Paul Bissonnette was returned to WBS and has been replaced by Luca Caputi in the line-up. This will be Caputi's NHL debut.

In other news, the Penguins have named Evgeni Malkin the permanent alternate captain for the remainder of the season. The days of alternating the 'A' each month are over. Brooks Orpik will be the other alternate until Sergei Gonchar returns to action. This is a great move. Malkin definitely deserves the honour.

Hopefully Petr Sykora sees decent playing time tonight. He is third on the team in scoring and deserves to be on the ice more, especially during power plays.

Prediction: 3-2 Penguins
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