Sunday, December 12, 2010

Get To Our Postgame: Pens Win; Cam Newton's Parents Do A Lot Behind The Scenes That Goes Unnoticed

By Finesse

The Pens extended their win streak to 12 games with a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in a chippy, fast-paced affair. Sidney Crosby extended his scoring streak to 18 games, Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero probably spent at least an hour after the game congratulating themselves and, most importantly, Marc-Andre Fleury continued to be spectacular.

If this game had occurred in the first two weeks of the season, the score would have been flipped and the Pens would have lost 5-2. The Sabres outshot the Pens 26-13 over the first two periods. Based on Fleury's early season save percentage, that would translate into Buffalo leading 25-2. But last night, Fleury made several high quality saves just to keep the Pens in the hunt - sometimes, that's all you need from your goalie.

- Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero, in the midst of a winning streak, decided to do what most coaches and GM's are loathe to do -- change the lineup. They inserted Dustin Jeffrey for Eric Godard and Ben Lovejoy for Derek Engelland. Just a few minutes into the game, Lovejoy and Jeffrey connected for the Pens first goal and Jeffrey had a great centering pass for Rupp's goal in the third. We have it on good authority that after the game, Shero and Bylsma met in the locker room to discuss the Toyota Prius and smell their own farts

- After the Craig Adams "slew foot" on Vanek, Shane Montador attempted to stand up for Vanek by tepidly approaching Craig Adams from behind and sort of pushing his head. Let's just say, Adams was not intimidated. Later in the night, someone took Montador's lunch money .... and he got really really angry!

- To anyone who thinks the Pens don't need Evgeni Malkin, consider the Pens' PP when Crosby was in the box -- Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Conner, and Mark Letestu. Literally, an AHL power play.

- This wraps up my Division Crown Jinx stretch of games. At the start of this 10-game stretch, I said that if the Pens could get 15 of 20 possible points against a weak slate of opponents, the Pens would win the division. Well, the Pens got 20 out of 20.

1. at Florida: W 3-2
2. at Buffalo: W 1-0
3. vs. Ottawa: W 2-1
4. vs. Calgary: W 4-1
5. at New York Rangers: W 3-1
6. vs. Atlanta: W 3-2
7. at Columbus: W 7-2
8. vs. New Jersey: W 2-1
9. vs. Toronto: W 5-2
10. at Buffalo: W 5-2

As we put this win streak in perspective, let's please keep in mind the low quality of these opponents. Pens travel to Philly on Tuesday -- if they win that, then we have a discussion.

- In other news, Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy. In his speech, he said, "My parents do a lot of things behind the scenes that go unnoticed." Um, Cam...they go noticed.

- FSN busted out the clip of Jay McKee hitting Mario Lemieux in the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Lemieux was banged up, but McKee was out for the rest of the playoffs. In other words, the Hockey Gods did their job.


  1. Great post. Query this, GTOG Nation: has any goaltender had an about-face like this in the course of one season, ever? In history? Consider: MAF started the year 1-7 with about a .350 save percentage, and he's been one of, if not the best goalie in the league over the subsequent 15 games. I can think of a number of examples where goalies start hot and then tank, but has there been this extreme of an upswing in performance in such a short timeframe?

  2. I fully agree with Finesse in keeping this win streak in perspective. However, I do think it's worth noting that the Pen's aren't only beating teams they should, but doing so in a quality way -- holding them to one or two goals, solid on the PK, etc. It's good to see we're not beating Calgary and Buffalo with 6-5 type scores. That's an excellent sign.

  3. Re: Goaltending - spend some quality time at for some data crunching.

    Seth at Empty Netters used that blog as a reference a few years ago and I've had it bookmarked ever since.