Marc-Andre Fleury gives up his share of goals that we think he should stop, most of which go through Brooks Orpik's legs on 1-on-1's and then over Flower's glove. But if you try to go cross-crease on Flower and you don't get the puck up over his pad, Darren Pang is going to break into hysterics about Fleury's quickness in the Blues' broadcast booth.
Flower was phenomenal last night. It was his 21st straight appearance, which is far too much, but he now gets a week of well-earned rest. We had been calling for Brent Johnson to start this game, but apparently the Pens coaching staff knows more than we do.
- Or, perhaps, we know the same thing, which is that the Pens don't have any confidence in Johnson right now. He is 2-5-0-2 with a 3.47GAA and .876 save percentage. Those are horrendous numbers. The last two times the Pens gave him a start, he was yanked and replaced by Fleury (both games were losses). As reader P.Co pointed out in the comments a few days ago, starting goalies win championships in the spring, but backup goalies win them in January and February. Johnson has earned at least one or two more chances before the trade deadline to solidify his position as the Pens' backup for the playoffs. But that's about it.
- Here's a task for someone with access to the coaching staff. Ask them whether the Pens' defensemen are coached to not tie up opposing forwards in front of the net. By my unofficial count, the Pens allow approximately 79.8 guys per game to stand untouched in front of Fleury. It's possible that this is a deliberate strategy by the Pens -- if the defensemen tie up the forwards, that means the D are also locked up, making it harder for them to get loose pucks in the corner. It's also possible that this is a bad strategy.
- Rumors abound that the Pens are interested in Hal Gill. We approve.
- Eric Tangradi was scratched last night in favor of Steve MacIntyre, who justified the coaches' confidence in him by taking a ridiculous tripping penalty during his 3:52 of ice time. Shero has to seriously consider moving Tangradi while he still has some value. If he still does.
- In the four games since Letang has been back, Deryk Engelland has played 14:31, 10:29, 10:36, and 11:48.
- A seven game win streak is absolutely huge going into the All-Star break. Given everything that's happened this season, we'll take this all day.
**For reader Bryan**
What hands by Kunitz.