Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pens-Panthers Post-Game Reaction

Pens come away with a 4-2 win without Malkin, Crosby, and Orpik. Pens got some great contributions from their 3rd and 4th lines, with Dupuis, Cooke, Vitale, and Park all having exceptionally strong games. The PK again showed great tenacity and discipline, with Adams creating a great opportunity for Park to drill one home shorthanded. The Power Play was blanked again, again showing good pressure, puck movement, and zone time, but coming short on the finish. Niskanen continued his strong play on the PP providing a number of key shots and a knack for keeping the puck in play offensively.

Honestly, the Pens probably played a little bit to the level of their opponents tonight. Florida stretched the Pens defense a few times with speed to the outside and managed to get the puck in deep, but couldn't really do too much with it once they got there. Most of Florida's chances were fairly benign, with the most trouble coming from the traffic the Panthers put on Fleury. The Panthers tried to come back in the third, but the Pens were able to counter and put the game out of reach when they needed to. The nail in the coffin was Jordan Staal taking a good feed on an aggressive forecheck from Kunitz, defending the puck well and driving on a power-move to the net to put a weak backhand on Theodore that eluded the goaltender. James Neal, streaking in at-speed off the bench, punched in the loose puck for the 4-2 lead.

Fleury again stood tall when called upon, continuing the great vision, discipline, and positioning he's showed in every game thus far. Fleury is really seeing the puck well right now, even through tons of traffic in front.

The big test will come Thursday night when the Washington Capitals come into town. With any luck, Evgeni Malkin will be able to go for that contest, as the Pens top scoring lines could certainly use the boost.

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