by Tony on 02/08/09 at 08:52 PM ET
Boy did that look familiar.
Earlier this week, Puck Daddy colleague Sean Leahy asked me and some other Pens and Wings bloggers for some input on today’s game. His first question asked the biggest change in our respective team’s seasons. I succinctly answered that both the goaltending and defense had regressed. His final question asked for a score. Always striving for objectivity, rather than blatant homerism, I said to refer to the first question, and then predicted because of that, 5-2 Wings. Of course, I was blasted by true homers, claiming that other Pens bloggers and I who predicted a Wings win weren’t “true fans”.
Whatever. Those “true fans” saw just what I said, poor goaltending and poor defense led to two of the three goals today.
In a scene reminiscent of Game 1 and 2 of the Cup Finals a year ago, the Red Wings’ tandem of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg frustrated the top line of Sidney Crosby and “whatever two ham-n-eggers HCMT threw up there this game”, and former Penguins Marian Hossa and Ty Conklin both contributed to a 3-0 shutout over the Pens this afternoon at the Igloo.
Conklin made 25 saves for the shutout, and really was only tested one time. Frankly, if it wasn’t for a bad bounce, Evgeni Malkin would’ve beaten Conklin with a backhand on one of the Pens’ powerplays, but it wasn’t to be today.
Marc-Andre Fleury, while making 26 saves of 29 shots on goal, had a terrible game in terms of controlling rebounds. Conversely, Conklin didn’t give up a bad rebound all game long.
The Wings played an excellent defensive game and combined that with a good transition effort to totally frustrate the Penguins.
After a scoreless first period, the Wings drew first blood on the powerplay, after a Zetterberg slapper from the right point was stopped by Fleury but left a huge rebound right to Datsyuk to give the Wings a 1-0 lead at the 10:08 mark.
That lead was doubled at 11:09 mark of the third period when Hossa, who was lustily booed as soon as he hit the ice in nearly every shift and every time he touched the puck, made one of the great plays that endeared him to Pens’ fans during his short say in the ‘Burgh. Hossa retained possession of the puck along the left boards and skated with the puck on his backhand all the way to the center of the ice, where he simply tossed a hard backhander on net that hit the post and in the net to make it 2-0 Wings.
The Wings padded their lead with some insurance late in the third period when Datsyuk grabbed a loose puck, easily skated past Kris Letang and fired a slapper on net that Fleury stopped but left another big rebound. Datsyuk grabbed the rebound and backhanded it through Fleury’s five hole for the final score of 3-0 lead.
- For as much as I love watching Crosby, don’t you think it’s time Sid realizes that the ‘ol “splitting the D” move has run its course ?? I mean, unless I’m forgetting one, it hasn’t worked for him all year. Now, I realize, without Malkin on the top line, he has ABSOLUTELY NO HELP up there, but I’m just sayin’.
- The powerplay was stymied with an 0-for-4.
- Pascal Dupuis and Ryan Whitney were both -2. Whitney is now -12, tied with Max Talbot for team-worst, while only playing in 22 games.
- The Pens did play a physical game with 30 hits, led by Brooks Orpik’s 7.
So, the Pens must move on and forget this effort. They have a couple good days of practice before the San Jose Sharks, who have currently lost three straight, come into the Igloo.
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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.
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