Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GTOPG: You Need to Play 20 Minutes to Beat Florida; Pens Win 3-2

By Artistry

The first thing Penguins TV analyst Bob Errey does on a game day morning is watch film of the opposition.  He breaks down tendencies, assesses strengths and weaknesses, analyzes power play and penalty kill strategy, and by lunch, he knows the other team better than they know themselves.  Why does Bob Errey do this?  Because he's the one responsible for coming up with Penguins' "Tips to Win."  And Monday night in Florida, he was on the money.

Granted, the Pens only really Got to Their Game in the first period of play, but that was enough.
  • This looked like it was going to be a 7-2 rout early on.  Everybody was flying.  Pittsburgh's newly constructed fourth line of Asham, Adams, and Godard looked better than Florida's first line.  Sidney Crosby was toying with people.  It's obvious why this happened.  The first night of the Dad Trip.  The Penguins always come out flying on the Dad Trip.  This is when all the players' fathers join them for a road trip and watch the games from a luxury box.  The boys were clearly ready to play, but that is one stoic group of Penguin fathers.  Alex Goligoski's dad appeared to be sedated during a first period interview.  They all celebrated goals by taking a quick  nap.
  • The power play looked particularly sharp in the first against a pretty good Panther penalty kill.  I don't feel like looking it up, but I'm guessing that's the first time we've had two power goals in a period all season.  And it comes after Dan Bylsma finally heeded GTOG's call to insert Paul Martin on the number one unit.  Coincidence?  I think not. 
  • The penalty kill continues to be maybe the best the Penguins have ever had.  What patience by Max Talbot to create a shorthanded 2 on 1 with Matt Cooke, who hit the post.  Meanwhile, Zybnek Michalek was blocking everything.  There's the guy we signed.
  • Things are much easier when Kris Letang hits the net, right?  Especially with Chris Kunitz Impeding Vokoun's Vision.  And what a hit by Letang on Sean Higgins late in the second.
  • Ben Lovejoy may have a little bit of Letang 2009 disease.  He had a few glorious opportunities and couldn't hit the net.  I like his potential, but I am going to be calling for Ray Shero to upgrade that Goligoski and Lovejoy/Engelland pairing right until the trade deadline.  Who was on the ice for that bunk Florida goal with 35 seconds left in the first?  You guessed it.
  • Evgeni Malkin looked slightly off.  He was chasing the play a bit.  He's clearly banged up, but he's also clearly making $8.7 million a year.  I have no doubt - none - that in the playoffs he will show why.  But he needs to be great more consistently.  No excuses.
  • We've complained many times in this space about the ice at Consol, but seeing conditions in Florida gives us something to be thankful for.  Letang looked like he was playing basketball trying to lead a 3 on 1 in the third.
  • It was heartwarming to see Chris Conner score the winner for his dad, John Conner.  Bad idea to leave mom at home.

  • Steiggy and Errey were speculating that Brent Johnson may be in goal on Wednesday in Buffalo, because Bylsma wants everyone to get a chance to play on the Dads Trip.  What is this, little league?  Whatever.  Make your father proud. 

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