Sunday, October 31, 2010

GTOPG: Pens 3, Carolina 0

By Finesse

Led by Brent Johnson's great legs, the Pens went on the road last night to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.  Evgeni Malkin sat out the game with a bruised knee and Kris Letang missed a large portion of the game with a "body injury" as I'm terming it.  This is the type of game that you will be hard pressed to remember in two weeks, but it's a clean road victory and 2 points in the standings.  Right now the Pens are clearly a better road team than home team, and, it's beyond debate at this current moment in the season, are clearly a better team with Brent Johnson in net.

However, GTOG contributor Eloquence points out, "Clearly we need to continue with BJ.  But, it's worth noting, that all of Fleury's games have been against teams with winning records.  That can only be said for half of BJ's starts.  The PP in games with Fleury: 2 of 30.  With BJ: 6 of 32.  Every loss with Fleury has been by one goal (if you take away the empty-netter against Tampa).  I'm not a Fleury apologist and I completely agree with giving Johnson more starts, but let's not forget all of the other factors."

 Well put.
Some reflections:
  • I'm firmly entrenched in the camp with Eloquence that Fleury is the long-term goalie for the Pens and ultimately the key to winning a Stanley Cup this year, and over the course of the 5 years remaining on his deal.  But right now, Brent Johnson is the hottest goalie in the league and it is hard to justify not considering him the #1 goalie.  You have to ride a performance like this while it lasts.  It reminds me of the last time we saw an athlete catch fire like this...
  • Enough with the powder blue jerseys already.  
  • Another abysmal performance by the Pens powerplay which has led Eloquence do the unthinkable - call for the return of the Ryan Whitney play.  As only someone named Eloquence can eloquently ask, "Why don't we do that anymore now that we have even more skill for that?"
  • Two second assists for Crosby.  That's what I like to see.  Accumulation of semi-deserved points is the key to competing for the scoring title and he seems to be doing that a lot more so far this year than last year.  After all, he has to keep up with Stamkos, right?
  • I was stuck with the non-HD Carolina broadcast, and all I can say is that they were describing the family of prized-rookie Jeff Skinner as if it was the Rockefellers, Kennedys and Tillmans all wrapped in one.  What is this family like?  How great could they possibly be? 
  • Paul Martin has been making a few bad clearing plays and seems to be a little vulnerable when digging the pucks out of corners.  His mistake along the boards cost the Pens the St. Louis game, and there were a few other shaky clearing attempts by him last night.  We are still 100% on board with this signing, but a weakness may be revealing itself.
  • Is the bloom off the rose with Letestu?
  • Around the league, the Caps exploded with a 6 goal second period against the Flames (snore) and the Devils continue to suck with a league worst -19 goal differential.  "How many more games until John Maclean is fired as Devil's coach?" asks Eloquence.  "If I remember correctly, Lou Lamoriello once fired a coach when the Devils were in first place a couple of weeks before the playoffs started."
Big win.

Here we go Steelers.

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