by Tony on 01/14/09 at 01:17 AM ET
Michel Therrien has been criticized a helluva lot lately, including by yours truly. But for at least one game, he certainly pulled all the right strings in a huge 4-2 win over the Flyers in Philly.
Therrien employed a 1-2-2 trap that effectively shutdown the Flyers’ high-flying offense, while placing rugged winger Matt Cooke on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to provide a little protection and to bang some bodies in front of the net.
Both moves worked to a “T”, and neither the Flyers, their fans, nor even their bush-league organist leading the “Crosby sucks” cheers could do anything to stop them.
It was arguably the Penguins’ biggest win of the year, and hopefully will provide a springboard for their upcoming games vs. the Capitals, Ducks and Rangers.
The Pens took the play to the Flyers early on, generating the game’s first five shots on goal. However, it was the Flyers who got the game’s first goal on a fortunate bounce off Marc-Andre Fleury’s stick behind the net that deflected right in front to Mike Knuble, who easily poked it home to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
That was the last strong push the Flyers would have for quite a while, as the Penguins continued to play their trap with excellent results. That paid off late in the first period when Max Talbot initially drove to the net but was stopped. The loose puck went to recent call-up Paul Bissonnette, who threw the puck on net, where Tyler Kennedy backhanded the rebound past Martin Biron to tie the game at one.
The second period started just as good for the Penguins. Crosby started the play with a great backcheck steal from Mike Richards. Crosby then fed Malkin, who fired a laser wrister that hit the crossbar and in the net to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.
They extended their lead to 3-1 after Jordan Staal stole the puck at the Flyers’ blueline and fired a backhanded shot to the top shelf past Biron.
The Pens’ first line made the chances of a Flyers’ comeback that much harder with a goal with only 26 seconds remaining in the second period. Crosby attempted a wraparound shot that Biron stopped, but Cooke was there to bang the rebound home to give the Pens a 4-1 lead.
The Flyers did cut the lead to 4-2 about eight minutes into the third period on a wrister by Joffrey Lupul, but the Penguins stayed disciplined with their defensive play to preserve the win.
As stated, the Penguins now head back home to face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals tomorrow night.
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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.
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