Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pens 2 - Habs 0 After Two

Despite some awful officiating, the Pens manage to extend their lead over the Habs in the second. Joe "The Situation" Vitale got the party started early in the second with his first goal of the season on a deflection from Deryk Engelland's shot at the point. Joe's played some great, hard-working hockey to date and was clearly energized as a result of this goal. The Habs would get back-to-back PP opportunities shortly thereafter, but couldn't capitalize on either. The Pens PK is just playing tremendous hockey in pressuring the puck carriers, forcing the already anemic Habs to take unscreened shots from the point or difficult angle shots from the side of the net. Still, thanks to a number of questionable calls, the Habs had the chance to put a lot of rubber on Fleury. Fleury has continued to stand tall.

A couple of other notes:

- Brooks Orpik has adjusted back into the game very quickly. He's had a lot of short shifts with different linemates, but he's gained confidence noticeably each time he steps on the ice. The Pens quickly remember why he's such a stabling influence on the blueline.

- Jordan Staal is quietly having a great game. When he's not counted on to generate offense, he can play his game to great effect. He's been hounding the Habs forwards, generating turnovers, and making smart decisions with the puck.

- Chris Kunitz is really struggling without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. Kunitz developed some great chemistry with Geno: cycling the puck well, making some nifty passes, opening up the ice for each other, and generating some quality chances. Lining up with Jordan Staal clearly doesn't benefit Kunitz.

- Steve Sullivan still is scoreless. He had a great breakaway chance from Neal, but couldn't elevate the puck over Price's pads on the forehand.

Third period is next. Can the Pens keep the Habs offense off the board?

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