The big news BEOFRE the game was that Letang wasn’t going to be dressed, which meant the Pens were without all of their top four defensemen. Holy Hell. It meant that Deryk Engelland and Matt Niskanen were the leaders on the blue line.
The big news DURING the game was this:
Sum of all fears. Is it a hamstring? A knee? No clue. All we know is that in a game where Malkin and Crosby dominate again, to see Malkin go down with what looks like a serious injury is sickening.
Jeff Zatkoff got the start in net again got a win. After a shaky beginning to his career, Zatkoff has been steady. Getting a win in Hockeytown with your backup ain't no joke.
Not the fullest of houses when the puck dropped. Maybe everyone stayed home to watch the first episode of 24/7.
Kobasew threw one over the glass, so the Pens had to kill that early penalty. No big deal.
The Wings kicked off the scoring when a Kronwall snap from the point hit Crosby’s stick and Plinko’d into the net past Zatkoff.
Megna drew a penalty when the Wings were about two seconds away from ripping his clothes off. The Pens wouldn’t be denied on the PP. The Monster was having some major issues with rebound control, and Crosby finally put him out of his misery.
Pens had another PP and scored another goal. They worked the puck around beautifully, setting up Niskanen for a couple slappers. The Pens started circling toward the net, and a Jokinen pass took a fortuitous bounce right to Geno’s stick all alone in front.
A really dumb thing for Engelland to do.
So the Pens were down to 5 D for the rest of the game, but first they were gonna have to survive a 5-minute PK with those 5 D. And that kill was pretty amazing. The Wings had their best chances in the final 30 seconds, but the Pens survived. Unreal.
It took a couple minutes, but the Pens started venturing into the Red Wings’ zone to generate some pressure.
Then Pens World held its breath as Malkin went down hard on a bizarre collision. He went down the runway but was back on the bench before the next whistle.
Adams was headed to the box for slashing. Pens killed that, too.
Somehow, someway, the Pens won the period when they put home a late goal to make 3-1.
Crosby put the stick into Bortuzzo’s face…and the Pens got a PP. Somewhere Steve Moore smiled. During the discussion before the call, Crosby was jobbing to the extreme, and apparently everyone except the referees knew it.
But the hockey gods had the last laugh. Malkin was Black Hawk Down again, but this time it was more serious:
And then Crosby turned out the lights after a pass from Vitale. 4-1.
– Where would the Penguins be without Matt Niskanen right now? All of a sudden, him being a free agent next year and losing him for nothing is a major concern. Major concern.
– Low minutes for Megna, but still doing what he needs to do.
– Joe Vitale is going to be in the top six, and it is tough to think about it.
– Credit to Bylsma. He keeps winning, somehow.
– Simon Despres is just an outstanding player. Pens' defensive depth is jarring.