Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Penguins Closing in on Division, Conference Lead

Let’s see now:  Delicious fish sandwich at Pittsburgh’s oldest bar = Check.

Beautiful Pittsburgh nighttime holiday skyline from atop a cold and blustery Mt. Washington = Check.

Seeing Sidney Crosby’s 199th, 200th and 201st career goals = Check.  Watching the Penguins win their 6th straight game, earn points in their 9th straight = Check.

Getting a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee for the long trip back to VA Beach = Check.

That’s a pretty damn good road trip, if you ask me.

- After the Pens’ 4-1 matinee victory over Calgary yesterday, the Penguins are two points behind both the Flyers and Caps for the Eastern Conference lead (Caps have one game in hand).

- Pretty much a dominating effort from the Penguins over a road-weary Flames unit at the CEC yesterday afternoon.  Looked like the Pens were trying to mimic the Senators on Friday afternoon, putting 24 shots on goal in the opening period.  Outside of a short span late in the game when the Penguins’ defense relaxed, most of this game took place in the Flames’ zone.

- Bob Grove brought up a fascinating statistic on the Penguins post-game show as I drove home.  Crosby’s empty netter for the hat trick was only the 5th EN goal of his career.  I was amazed that he’s had so few.  If you watch the Penguins on a regular basis, you’ll know he’s easily missed a dozen of them.  By the way, because it seems when it comes to Crosby’s scoring we’re always comparing him to Alex Ovechkin and now Steven Stamkos, can you guess how many both of those two players have in their respective careers?  I’ll let you think about that, answers at the bottom of the article.

- One last thing about Crosby, tap of the stick to Miikka Kiprusoff for his outstanding save on the penalty shot.  Had that gone in, Crosby would have technically tied Mario Lemieux’s “5 goals in 5 different ways” feat on New Years Eve, 1988.  Understand it would have only been in 4 goals, but his empty netter was also short-handed.

- I’ll be totally honest, until the PA announcer said his name for serving Calgary’s too-many-men penalty in the second period, I completely forgot that Olli Jokinen was playing.  He was that invisible.

- The Pens didn’t lose a step getting Brent Johnson some work while giving the red-hot Marc-Andre Fleury a rest.  Johnson stopped 30 shots, only giving up a pretty sweet goal by Rene Bourque in the third period that blew the shutout.

- I continue to be impressed with Arron Asham’s slapper.  Blew it right past Kiprusoff.

- I also have to acknowledge the recent play of Chris Kunitz.  I admit that I haven’t been a big fan of Kunitz on the first line, but he’s stepped up his game.  Not necessarily with his physical play, but offensively.  That was a nice drag move to the get the puck on net, then dishing the rebound to Crosby for his first goal of the game.

- First game as a fan in the new barn (was on press row for the Habs game in Oct.).  First thing I noticed was how much more comfortable the seats were.  I found the concourses not too crowded, although I believe the attendance of 18,317 is the most so far in the early history of the CEC.  My son got a Primanti’s roast beef and cheese within five minutes during the first intermission.  I also have to admit that I didn’t think that the music was too loud, as some fans have complained about.  Now, maybe that’s because these ears have been to 30 years of hard rock/metal concerts.  I just didn’t think it was that bad.

- I’ll repeat what I said during that Habs game I attended from press row:  I can’t wait to hear what that place sounds like in the playoffs.  It really rocks during goals.  I’m trying to imagine what a playoff atmosphere crowd will sound like.

The Penguins head to New York today to battle the Rangers on Monday night.

Finally, the answer to the trivia question:  Alex Ovechkin has 16 career empty net goals, while Steven Stamkos already has 4 in his third NHL season.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Comments

Moq's avatar

One last thing about Crosby, tap of the stick to Miikka Kiprusoff for his outstanding save on the penalty shot.  Had that gone in, Crosby would have technically tied Mario Lemieux’s “5 goals in 5 different ways” feat on New Years Eve, 1988.  Understand it would have only been in 4 goals, but his empty netter was also short-handed.

Theoretically, no. There’s no way of knowing how the game had developed if he had scored on that penalty shot.

That being said, another great game by Crosby and the Penguins. We’re seeing some of the potential promised by the off-season moves. Add Staal and another gear by Malkin, and it could develop into a beautiful thing.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 11/28/10 at 01:45 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Yeah, valid point Moq…..

Can’t wait for the Staal addition…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 11/28/10 at 01:47 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Also, props to the penalty killing unit. It’s now ranked number one in the NHL, killing 90.2% of opponents’ power plays. What an aggressive and dominating unit it has become.

Posted by cs6687 on 11/28/10 at 02:15 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Wait I thought Staal was by far their Best PKer ??/

This is not ripping Staal by the way just pointing out a fact.

Posted by Evilpens on 11/28/10 at 04:35 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

You guys aren’t very original when it comes to avatars, are you?

By the way, Tony, glad you had fun.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/28/10 at 04:42 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Wait I thought Staal was by far their Best PKer ??/

This is not ripping Staal by the way just pointing out a fact.

One player does not make a PK unit. It’s a great situation that will allow the Penguins to ease Staal along when he returns to the lineup.

Posted by cs6687 on 11/28/10 at 05:15 PM ET

Avatar

Yesterday was a heck of a game.  I was glad they put together a full 60 minutes.  I never thought I’d live to see the day of the Pens leading the league on the PK, but I’m glad it’s happened.  That unit is just clicking on all levels right now.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 11/28/10 at 08:55 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

You guys aren’t very original when it comes to avatars, are you?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste. Marie on 11/28/10 at 02:42 PM ET

Speak for yourself.  Mine is VERY original.

Wait I thought Staal was by far their Best PKer ??/

This is not ripping Staal by the way just pointing out a fact.

Posted by Evilpens on 11/28/10 at 02:35 PM ET

He is, Negative Nelly.  And when he’s healthy, he might be the best in the league.

This unit is doing a bang-up job without him.  Hopefully, when Staal gets back, it’ll make the PK that much better and not screw up the chemistry they have going until he gets back into the swing of things.  Because, you never can tell when it comes to chemistry stuff.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 11/28/10 at 09:30 PM ET

Tony's avatar

I’ll try to find something else for ya Winger..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 11/28/10 at 09:37 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Wait I thought Staal was by far their Best PKer ??/

This is not ripping Staal by the way just pointing out a fact.


What’s the fact? Staal not the best PFer? That’s still just an opinion.
Anyway, times are good Evil, enjoy it.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 11/29/10 at 04:56 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

If you’d like to follow me on Twitter-