Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flames 1 - Penguins 0 After One... Thoughts

Calgary suffered none of the home opener sluggishness that plagued Vancouver, but the Flames didn't have nearly as much to celebrate last season. Still, the Flames came out skating hard and it was the Pens who were slow to adjust. Calgary got an early PP and Fleury stood tall on a couple of key saves to keep the Pens in this one early.

A second PP brought dividends for the Flames. Giordano got the puck at the point and patiently skated in past an over-committing Craig Adams. Curtis Glencross presses up against Niskanen at the crease before fading into the high-slot and receives the feed from Giordano to fire a beautiful one-timer to the top corner past Fleury. Fleury had no chance.

The Pens have been very sloppy through the neutral zone in this one and failed to take the necessary initiative on the forecheck. As a result, they've given Calgary too much latitude to establish the game in their favor. The shots have been there, but Calgary had the better opportunities.

The Pens need to simplify their game, ratchet up the pressure deep, and work for shorter passes through the neutral zone. The Pens are getting in trouble deep in their own end and relying too much on the stretch pass to beat Calgary, but Calgary is all over it. The Pens have the talent to overwhelm Calgary, but they're going to have to be disciplined in their approach to do it. Pens on the PK to open up the second.

Notable in the first:
- Engelland had a few solid plays defensively... and offensively.
- Malkin had a good sequence, but took an undisciplined penalty. He needs to settle down.
- Cooke-Vitale-Dupuis had the best sustained pressure on the forecheck. Good impromptu energy line that has all the makings of a great 3rd line.
- Tyler Kennedy had a couple of solid chances. I'd like to see him line up with Geno more.
- Sullivan needs to come off the point on the PP. Pens have enough weapons from the point and Sully is needed down low on the 2nd unit.

Let's Go Pens for frame 2!

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