There are few things that make a Pittsburgh Penguins fan happier than watching the Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers.
Watching the Penguins beat the Flyers in Philadelphia while the Penguins are in the middle of a horrible slump is one of those things.
Tyler Kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke scored for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby had two assists.
It looked like a completely different Penguins team out there tonight. They fought for pucks, they worked hard, they played defense and they won the game. The neutral zone trap, as boring as it is, worked for the Pens.
Of course, it was a Penguins/Flyers game so there was some rough stuff. Eric Godard absolutely dominated Riley Cote and Paul Bissonnette took care of Arron Asham. Both fights were in the first period.
Having Matt Cooke on the first line with Crosby and Malkin worked like a charm. Jordan Staal played very well centering the second line.
The Penguins really needed this win and they got it.
The Penguins power play still wasn't very impressive. In fact, the team was at their worst when they had the man advantage. All of their goals were even strength.
The Penguins system was very effective tonight. I was surprised to see this Penguins team, a team that has had no structure through the first half of the season, adhere to such a strict defensive system for the entire game. It doesn't make for the most exciting hockey, but it works. The fact that it frustrated the Flyers was even better.
The Penguins will need to continue their hard work tomorrow night against Washington. It will be a lot harder for the Penguins to contain Alexander Ovechkin, but they will need to work at it for the entire game. The team needs to stick with this structure as long as possible.
Some discipline and hard work are exactly what the Penguins needed. They played a complete game and at times they were absolutely dominant. I'd forgotten what that felt like.
Hopefully it continues.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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