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The Confluence

Wild clamp down, edge Penguins in shootout, 2-1

As expected, the Wild and Penguins engaged in a defensive struggle tonight at the Igloo, with the Wild eventually emerging victorious on Marek Zidlicky’s shootout goal, 2-1.

Dany Sabourin was the tough luck loser, with his only goal allowed in regulation coming on a bouncing puck off a faceoff in the Penguins zone.

Niklas Backstrom was sharp as well in net for the Wild making some key saves in both the third period and in overtime.

The Wild got their only goal about eight minutes into the game when Mikko Koivu and Mike Zigomanis had a faceoff in the Pens’ zone to the right of Sabourin.  Zigomanis won the draw, pulling the puck towards the net.  The puck bounced over Hal Gill’s stick, then bounced again right through Sabourin’s five hole to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

However, the Pens only needed 10 seconds to knot the game at one.  Jordan Staal actually whiffed twice on passes in the Wild zone, but eventually gathered the puck in enough time to backhand a shot on net, where Matt Cooke was there to grab it and poke it home to make it 1-1.

The Penguins had their chance to grab the extra point in overtime after a Brent Burns hi-sticking penalty, but once again, the Pens stood still on their 4-on-3 powerplay, and the #1 rated Wild penalty kill pounced on the opportunities the Penguins gave them.

The shootout for the Penguins was a carbon copy, if you just happened to have scouted them at all this season.  Petr Sykora did his usual backhand top-shelf try, no good.  Then HCMT decided to give Alex Goligoski a shot as the #2 shooter instead of Kris Letang, and he did the exact same move that he did against the Flyers last week, no good.  Then Sidney Crosby, in what’s becoming somewhat concerning, didn’t attempt much of a deke at all, simply skated in and attempted to go five-hole on Backstrom, no good.  Zidlicky’s goal as the Wild’s #1 shooter was all they needed for the extra point.

Other notes:

- Overall, I felt that it was a well-played game, albeit certainly not the most exciting game ever played.  In what has become the norm for Penguins games, there were several turnovers attempting no-look passes.
- Philippe Boucher made his Penguins debut and played quite a solid game.  He made a few nice outlet passes, and had a couple of booming one-timers on the powerplay, although most of them missed the net.
- Jordan Staal got a rare fighting major in the second period, matching up against Erik Reitz.  It wasn’t much of a fight, but if I had to give a winner, I’d give Staal a split decision.
- Zigomanis was strong again on faceoffs, going 10 for 14.  Also, Staal was 7 for 11.

The Penguins will now travel to Atlanta to face the Thrashers on Thursday night.

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

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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.

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