There is no sugarcoating an overtime loss in a game the Penguins thoroughly dominated for much of Sunday afternoon, outshooting the Flyers 27-10 through two periods, only to have a manic insane asylum escapee with a pumpkin afro stick a dagger in our 11-game win streak with .9 ticks left on the clock. That sucked. No getting around it. If you take solace in getting 5 of 6 points on a road trip through New York, New Jersey, and Philly, here's what we have to say to you: we should have had 10 points. That's how good this Penguins team feels right now. But...the Penguins pulled within one point of the Rangers with one head-to-head meeting remaining. Sidney Crosby is on the ascent, looking supersonic on a series of rushes in Philly and increasing his playing time to nearly 18 minutes. And this loss should ensure that the Penguins keep their edge, knowing that if they don't leapfrog the Rangers and seize the top seed, then a long, aggravating, and physically debilitating series against the Flyers almost surely awaits.
|It's official: We want the #1 seed.|
More on Crosby, Letang, Kennedy, and the stat of the year, after the jump...
- Other than Malkin, Letang is the most consistently noticeable player on the ice over the course of a game. He makes at least one play every shift that makes you shake your head, either in a good way or a bad way. Two years ago, the ratio of spectacular plays to to bad plays was about 50/50. Now, it's 95% spectacular, though the other 5% often show up in unspectacular fashion (he sent a really bizarre centering pass to Scott Hartnell at one point). We love him because he plays with incredible emotion (we love emotion), but we can't help but feel like he won't truly hit his ceiling until he learns to get his emotions a little bit more under control. We applaud any face-wash given to a Flyer...but Letang is no longer a scrappy young kid trying to fight for a roster spot. He is one of the best 5 defensemen in the league, and possibly the Pens' most important player. He doesn't need to be engaging after every whistle. Make no mistake, we love his fire. But it doesn't need to be a Napalming on every shift.
- We couldn't be more pleased with the Pens' approach to easing Crosby back into action. Neither could Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. But sticking Sid with Tyler Kennedy is a little bit like making your 24-year-old nanny put a "Baby on Board" bumper sticker on the back of her Jetta. It really cramps her style. Kennedy doesn't belong on Sid's toilet let alone his bumper. He's a one-dimensional shooter who makes a surprising play twice a year. We see Crosby with Dupuis and Sullivan on Tuesday.
|A jet needs wings|
- Paul Martin is Even on the season. This isn't the stat of the year - stay tuned for that. We've been predicting Martin will get to "plus" territory since November.
- Craig Adams line on Sunday: 1 g, 1 a, and a +1 in 10 minutes. Like a grizzly coming out of hibernation for the stretch run.
- We held our breath every time Jaromir Jagr touched the puck on Sunday. What a threat. Don't think about what it would be like to have him slotted on Jordan Staal's wing right now. No good can come of it.
- OK, stat of the year. Crosby has 9 fewer assists than Alex Ovechkin this year (15 v. 24). Crosby is on pace to finish the year with 30 assists. Ovechkin is on pace to finish with 28.