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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ice Time: Pens vs. Rangers

 (Kuni and Rusty celebrate Gogo's game tying goal in the third period)

I caught the game tonight into the second period because even though I knew the game was on, I didn't realize that VS. had the "bonus" coverage (that Bill Patrick kept eluding to) of the game.  It was 3-2 Blue Shirts when I started watching. 

The Pens looked like they were trying too hard.  I know that is a cliche'd term that really has no meaning or explanation but I think everyone knows what that looks like.  Every possible scoring chance seemed to get either blocked or never made it to the net.  Fleury played for the first time since Feb. 14, despite being on Team Canada.  He gave up 4 goals on 12 shots and was pulled with 7:11 left in the 2nd after Brandon Dubinsky banked a shot off his back.  Brent Johnson came in and I figured it was going to get out of control.

I figured wrong.  The Pens forechecking was something of legend tonight.  They allowed only 4 shots on goal from that point on and only 1 in the entire third period.  The ended the game with 55 shots on goal.  55!!!  Lundqvist played amazingly well and if he had any semblance of a defensive team in front of him, should have easily got the win.  However, 3 goals that bounced off his own teammates and an OT blast from Malkin were too much.  Oh, did I mention the Pens had 55 shots on goal?  55!!

That performance was also without Bill Guerin in the lineup and they still have yet to introduce Poni into the lineup because apparently he can't get his citizenship papers or something.  On the flip side, the Rangers were without their biggest offensive weapon in Marian Gaborik.  He was also injured during the Olympics although I don't recall anyone talking about it prior to tonight.

That extra point puts the Pens back on top of the Atlantic with 80 points and 14 behind the Capitals for the lead in the East.  I don't think, barring a miracle, anyone is going to catch Washington but if the Pens can get everyone healthy and get the power play rolling, I think we have a serious shot at a repeat.  As for the Rangers, that 1 point for the regulation tie gets them knotted up with the Thrashers who are shocking the hell out of everyone, and Montreal.  It is going to come down to the final week again this year and I love it.


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