The case for a good loss: The Pens went toe-to-toe with the best of the West without three of their best players and were a bad no-goal call away from tying the game. The game was teetering on the edge after the Kings' second goal, but the Pens top line -- with some help from Jayson Megna -- responded the way a top line should: driving to the net and scoring an even strength goal. Taylor Pyatt and Brandon Sutter played with more assertiveness last night than they have shown over the course of the entire season (combined). The Pens may not have scored on the PP, but their secondary players drew seven penalties (Gibbons (2x), Goc, Megna, Engelland, Stempniak, Sutter). If they're not going to contribute regularly on the scoresheet, drawing penalties and setting the table for the big guys is a decent alternative. Jeff Zatkoff didn't give up a clean goal and, more importantly, doesn't feel like a big drop off from Fleury anymore. In fact, they have the exact same save percentage over the course of the season (.915%), but if you throw out Zatkoff's first two games when he was obviously overwhelmed, he's 12-3-1 with a .926 save percentage. There's always an obscure goalie who comes out of nowhere to lead a long playoff run. Why not Zatkoff?
|You don't bring that weak shit into Jeff Zatkoff's house.|
|Here's Brian Gibbons, probably getting knocked over and drawing a penalty.|
|Bobby B's "flop like a fish" defense could work against Mark Letestu|
Good loss: At the start of the first period, I turned to the guy I was with and said, "Forget the score, just watch how much they have the puck and how much we have the puck. I bet it's a 2-1 ratio." When the Pens went down 2-0, I had visions of a total meltdown, Bylsma being fired in the morning, and Orpik acknowledging that his "Let's go boys, come on boys" routine needs a little work. In fact, the boys started to come on. Though he'll never be a fit as a play-making center on the third line, Brandon Sutter looked possessed out there. Jayson Megna and Brian Gibbons made the bottom 6 look positively threatening at times. And the Pens outshot the Kings. Crosby was the best player on the ice in the third against a stifling defense. No quit in that team last night.Amen. At least it's something.