Big set of games here for the Pens with respect to their playoff position, and they get 4 out of a possible 6 points. Not in the prettiest fashion ever, but it works. Wins against Philly and the Rangers are great because they’re in the division. A loss against Ottawa is excusable because they’re a buzz saw right now. So, this is about as good as you could hope for. With the Olympics right around the corner, the Pens are still in a really nice position.
Sunday was the first game against the Flyers, and it was a typical Flyers/Penguins game: 52 total penalty minutes and 3 goals. In a game that relies on the special teams, Pens fans would be understandably nervous. After all, our power play isn’t the best to ever roam the ice. But, alas, the Pens scored 2 goals on 6 chances, and that proved to be the difference maker. Philadelphia converted on 1 of 9 power plays. The Pens have a very good penalty kill unit (one that doesn’t receive nearly the credit it deserves), but I think that has more to do with the Flyers awful power play than the Pens great penalty kill. That was pretty much the game. It was a constant stream of penalties, with every goal scored on the power play. I have no idea how Philly fans watch that garbage every game.
The second game was a weird one. The Pens went into Madison Square Garden to face a struggling Rangers team, and played well. However, they just couldn’t get anything to go their way. Going into the third period, the stats were equal and the score was tied at 1. The break finally came for the Rangers when Artem Anisimov shoved a shot at Fleury that somehow squeaked between his skate and the post and rested right on the goal line. The odds of that happening are slim, and the odds of the referee seeing it instead of losing sight and blowing the whistle are even greater, but that’s what happened. The ref saw the whole thing, waited for Fleury to move which kicked the puck over the line, and called the goal. It figured that when the refs finally got a call right, it would screw us. Grrrrrr… But, hey, that’s hockey. I was about ready to say that luck was just on the Rangers side and it wasn’t our day when the Pens took luck into their own hands. Malkin scored on a power play 30 seconds later, followed by Baby Pens call up Chris Conner putting his second goal of the game in a minute after that. It was incredible. Both were just quick sniper goals that showed just how much offensive power this team has when they’re on. An empty netter later, and the Pens pulled 2 points out of an embarrassing loss.
The game on Thursday was to be expected. Ottawa is red hot right now, and charging up the playoff seeding after a slow start. The ice was kind of slanted when you watched the game, but the stat sheet was very even overall. There were some stupid turnovers by the Penguins, but nothing too serious. Malkin continued his resurgence with another goal, which was nice to see. It was just a very well played hockey game overall, and the Sens just got lucky a couple of more times than the Pens. It happens. We’ve already being them earlier in the year, so it’s not a huge loss. I didn’t really see anything to be overly concerned with here. Just a bad day at the office. We weren’t skating real well, and the Sens goalie, Brian Elliott, didn’t allow many rebounds at all. He’s playing fantastic right now. A chance for redemption is on Sunday against…..wait for it…..Detroit. Mmmmmm…..I can’t wait.