RECAP: Game 21. Pens beat Ducks 3-1.

Honestly our two biggest takeaways from this game:
1. Imagine if the Pens’ organization showed the same amount of respect to Jagr as they do Teemu Selanne. We kid. The Pens played a video for JJ his first time back as a Capital.
2. What if Ben Lovejoy would have played like this for the Penguins at any point?
For real, though, this was a fun game. And the Penguins actually scored three goals.
The story right now is Marc-Andre Fleury.
He may not make it past February at this pace, but he is playing some really good hockey.
Also, about Teemu Selanne. Is it true only a handful of people stood up and cheered during Selanne's video? If so, that's pretty rough. Selanne at age 43 has more talent in the socks under his bed than the Penguins currently do on their fourth line. What a player and what a career.


– It looked like the teams were exchanging chances for most of the first. Instead, the Pens would jump off a cliff before getting a shot while the Ducks peppered MAF. Through 15 minutes, the Ducks held a 10-0 shot advantage. Ducks blocked like 400 shots in the first five minutes. The Penguins didn't get a shot for 18 minutes.
– Interesting stat, or so we thought, via the Pens radio broadcast. They said the Pens have only been held without a shot in a period once in franchise history. It was against the Sharks in 2003. They got that from the media guide:
Turns out it was 11/23/2002. Guess typos even make it into the media guide.
Anyway, here was the roster that night when the Penguins didn't get a shot in the third period. [ ESPN box score ]

GIF that sums up the first period

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– The Ducks were on a completely different level than the Penguins. We were waiting for Rue's whistle from the Hunger Games to start playing in the arena.
– Pens finally got their first shot with a couple minutes remaining, which prompted a Bronx cheer from the CONSOL faithful.
– Here's a GIF that shows us watching Joe Vitale play:
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Turning point

Penguins surviving the first period and not trailing was the difference, really. They didn't look terrible by any means, but shit.


– Pens looked a little different in the second, but they were still having trouble. Best chance for the Pens came on Geno’s one-timer from Dupuis that missed the net.
– Best chance of the period for the Ducks came 5 minutes in when Cogliano had a half-step on Letang, but MAF made the big stop.
– We kind of got lost for a while watching the Ducks move the puck. Like a machine. The Ducks have scored 71 goals, second-most in the NHL. Looked like they started to unravel after they couldn't solve Fleury, though.
– With about 7 minutes left, the Pens got a PP when Sbisa cross-checked Sutter. The Ducks killed it after the Pens missed the net on a couple shots. Sbisa had a breakaway out of the box but couldn’t score.
– Pens had another PP when Dupuis got tripped…after tripping someone.

Concerning trend continues

For yet another game, the Pens had more giveaways than their opponent. They coughed it up 6 times, compared to only 2 for the Ducks.


The third period was the best period. Both teams opened it up.

The first five minutes

Three goals in five minutes woke everyone up. First up was Malkin and Brian Gibbons of all people. Gibbons was in the right place at the right time. Evgeni Malkin, under intense scrutiny, took over the game.

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Great finish by Gibbons, too. 1-0.

While most people were still wondering who Brian Gibbons is and what ever happened to Jayson Megna, Sutter deflected a Maatta shot home.

2-0. Great game from Maatta.

The Ducks got all jammed after the two goals and came right back. Getzlaf in MAF's mouth. 2-1.

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Bennett completely lost Getzlaf on the goal.

The goal was deflating, but even worse, Joe Vitale then took a penalty. 

Dustin Penner sucks

The Ducks missed so many chances, but none better than on the power play. Penner had the puck on his stick, and Fleury was going down. He tried to make some bizarre move and missed the net.

– The Ducks had another huge chance to tie the game with Andrew Cogliano on a 2-on-1. Fleury with just a nasty save.

How sick is Cogliano. We can't even keep track of all of his chances. Fleury had to make yet another save on him toward the end of that power play, and the Pens headed the other way.  Crosby, for some reason, decided to carry it in instead of dump, grind, and get to his game. After gaining the zone, Crosby did his best Geno impression crusing across the top of the zone. He got himself into a reasonable shooting position and flicked it to the net.
What a huge goal. 3-1.
The goal came with 12 minutes left, and the game was anything but over. 
Fleury made a couple more saves to finish it off.


– Brandon Sutter is waking up.
– Invisible game from Beau Bennett in his first real shot at the top line. He bobbled a couple pucks, including a great setup from Bing right in front. He also lost a handful of one-on-one battles along the boards, battles which the Penguins rely on the players winning. Small sample size for now.
– Starting to find a magic minutes number for Letang. Under 25 minutes is good.