This seemed like a fairly straightforward win for the Pens. You improve your playoff position by taking care of the teams you’re supposed to beat. Especially at home, and that’s exactly what the Pens did here. I have a few thoughts, though:
- Kunitz put in a pair of goals. He hasn’t been as productive this year as most people had hoped. Maybe this will be a turning point for him.
- Fleury had a huge game with 37 saves on the day. He’s not very consistent this year, but when he’s on he’s almost a guaranteed win for the Pens.
- Tyler Kennedy had a fight about 10 minutes into the game. I’m not one for fighting in hockey, but this one really seemed to set the tempo for the game. TK’s always been the spark for the Pens, and he did it again tonight.
- The Islanders out-shot the Pens by 10, but I think the Pens definitely out-played them. It was one of those games where the Islanders were racking up the shots, but not getting too many quality looks.
- At the moment, the only race that really matters is the race between the Pens and the Devils for the Atlantic Division title. Jersey has a 1 point advantage with two games in hand. It’s a decent lead, but not insurmountable if the Pens start playing well after the Olympic break.
The Rangers are up next on Friday night. They got out to a decent start, but have struggled a lot as of late. I don’t see any reason the Pens can’t get a couple of more points out of that one.