Friday, October 7, 2011

Get To Our Postgame: MAF Hat Trick Leads Pens Past Canucks, 4-3

By GTOG Staff

James Neal is on a mission, Jordan Staal is thirsty, and hockey is back. What a game last night from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, where before the face-off fans gathered to celebrate losing the Stanley Cup and then trying to destroy the whole city. Based on what we saw Thursday, they may get the chance to do it all again next spring, this time with a different dance partner in black and gold.

- Marc-Andre Fleury scored another goal on himself last night, breaking his own record for most goals scored against oneself and extending his lead over the second-place goalie to approximately 612 goals.  He scores so many goals against his own team that he should play for the Capitals.  He did complete the MAF hat trick by making a jaw-dropping game-saving stop in regulation and then again in the shootout, so the report on him is pretty much the same as it always is: he had plenty of "Fleury-moments" both good and bad.

We could never stay mad at you.
- At the other end of the spectrum is Roberto Luongo.  His numbers always end up being impressive, but from a putting-fear-into-opposing-teams perspective, he's down at Rick DePietro levels.  Neal's goal and Cooke's second will not be on any Luongo highlight reel.  But the Letang and Malkin shootout tallies will be on the GTOG highlight reel for years to come.

- We wondered as Letang skated in on Luongo if he added any moves to his shootout repertoire over the summer. He did.

- For anyone who expected Evgeni Malkin to score 7 goals last night, this was a good outcome. Reel yourselves in. He's going to be more than fine. Watching Malkin and Jimmy Neal on a line together is like watching two Clydesdales pull a stroller. Once they get in rhythm, hide your children and undersized defensemen.

- Stevie Sullivan must feel like he died and went to a place full of large swaths of open ice.

- The official word is Jordan Staal left the game in the third period because of dehydration. No idea what this is about, but if it's true, we prescribe water.

- We've heard a lot lately about the latest Dan Bylsma man-crush, Joe Vitale, and based on his first-game performance, this one looks justified. Vitale is a waterbug out there, and he looks entirely comfortable at this level. That's not to say he is clearly better than Richard Park, but he did nothing but solidify his spot on the 4th line.

- You know something? Matty Niskanen wasn't too bad. Ah, the sweet smell of possibility from that first hockey game in October. It's all out there for the taking. LGP. GTOG.


  1. Welcome back, hockey! It's been too long. Great to read a GTOPG again.

    How fast were the Pens playing in the first period? It was so fun to watch. Vancouver simply looked shell shocked. Then in the second and third they became, well, the Canucks and the Pens had to hold on for dear life. Still, 2 points on the road in Vancouver is not something many Eastern teams are going to get this season.

    Martin and Michalek - combined for 52 minutes of ice time and a -5. Without Orpik, the Pens were playing a 2-line D system, with M&M on one shift and Letang with an alternating plug on the other. That led to a very tired group at the end. I hope that against less talented offenses than Vancouver the coaching staff will have a little more faith in Niskanen, Lovejoy and Engelland.

    If Bylsma's newest man-crush is Vitale, does it mean that the Mark Letestu poster no longer hangs on the wall above his bed? The guy was 40% in the faceoff circle, and, frankly, looked a bit lost out there. Still, he was on the ice for the entire last minute of regulation, when the Pens barely made it out of their own zone. I know we said the same thing about Craig Adams at the time, but when Jeffrey comes back I truly hope he gets a real chance this time, even if it means scratching Letestu.

  2. P.Co, good to have you back. We are 100% on board with Jeffrey over Letestu.

    52 minutes for M&M is a lot, that's a good point by you. Totally agree that Bylsma can't overuse his top-4 so early in the season. Micahlek was worse than Martin in Game 1.

  3. I take it we're hoping sullivan can be a 20 goal scorer? or at least 15 to 20. they story i've heard is that his agent was listing off the teams he could find a spot on, and when he said pittsburgh sullivan stopped him and told him to make it happen. at least he's motivated.