PENGUINS PASS THE TEST

When you’re playing against a goalie whose goals against average is under two, it means your goalie is going to need to play a pretty good game.

Marc Andre Fleury pitched a shutout against the Rangers.

The game last night had a playoff feel to it and the Rangers should have gotten the message that they need to add more offense.

They’ve been the best team in the Eastern Conference most of the season and they’ve been doing it with great goal tending and good defense.

But, in the playoffs, everybody plays a tighter game, so, you better have plenty of scoring punch if you want to go deep.

Speaking of playing defense, did you watch Jordan Stahl last night?

He has plenty of critics who seem to be waiting for him to become Geno Malkin or Sidney Crosby, but the guy is a beast in the defensive end. He breaks up plays, clogs up lanes and digs the puck out of the corners as well as any player in the league.

And he has shown a good scoring touch this season.

He seems to be making it through this trading deadline frenzy without having his name brought up.

Let’s see if his critics can bite their tongues this Summer.

  • a-dawg

    I was at the CEC Tuesday night and was very impressed…especially since I was also in Buffalo Sunday afternoon. Talk about a turn around.

    Now this may get me in trouble with Penguin Nation, but I feel that the franchise has to start dictating to Sid. Sid has been given well over a year to heal and the franchise has done everything in it’s power to appease him as well as give him the room and privacy to seek treatment and get better.

    I feel it is now time for the franchise to place him on long-term IR, regardless how Sid feels about it. It would free up his salary and he can still play in the playoffs. It is tough to be competitive when over 13.5% of your salary cap is sitting in the owner’s box every night. I’m not hating on Sid…but the franchise owes it to the rest of the players to go all out and try to win this thing. The crest on the front of the jersey is always bigger than the name on the back.

    By freeing up Sid’s salary, they could go and get some rental players….then when Sid comes back next year….there is no issue with the cap.

    Given the Pens do this….I would first try to add a winger for Staal. Doesn’t need to be a Ho$$a or Neal….but someone a little more polished than what they currently have. This could help distribute the scoring a little better and give the team some much needed depth up front.

    I would then try to add 1 or 2 defensemen. Again, you don’t need to break the bank here. If you had 1 or 2 guys, it creates competition and will hopefully light a spark under Martin and Michalek. No one will want to sit and hopefully all will play very well.

    Back to Tuesday night – Staal impressed with his 2 way play and I was also very impressed with the Pens ablility to control the puck when they were all playing a full strength. They had several full strength possesions where it looked like the Pens were on a power play.

    Go Pens!!

  • Niblick

    I am quite sure that Lundqvist’s GAA is well over one but might be under two. In any case, that was a solid effort. I am still not sold on Staal though. He is being paid to be a scoring center not a defenseman. Yes, he is decent on defense but this team needs more than one line doing all of the scoring. Staal doesn’t have the hands or the speed to be a scorer. He is a good third liner.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

      Decent?

  • Ken

    People often say that you need 2 good goaltenders to win the cup. I don’t buy that, and just about any team, unless they have two as good as the Isles had with Billy Smith and Glenn Resch, uses ones only one throughout the playoffs.

    But, Brent Johnson is a concern. Fleury would probably play every playoff game, but it’d be good to see him get some rest now and then before that. He’s played in 51 of 60 games this year.

    Johnson has been terrible. He started the year well and took some tough losses when the Pens didn’t score much. But all of his recent starts, except for one (the 1-0 loss), have been pretty terrible. He’s even gotten pulled a few times, although I think Bylsma should have just left him in at 3-0 last week and just hoped that things got better while Fleury sat and wathced.

    Maybe he’d step up if Fleury got hurt and was needed. But the thought of having to depend on him in the event of a Fleury injury and with the standings so bunched up is pretty scary right now.

  • Deuce

    I was at the game last night and despite the fact that the Pens were at home I was still amazed at how dominant they were at times….especially early in the first period when they seemed like they couldn’t get into the Rangers end after the Rangers looked like they went into a goal line stand….then the Pens break though and stay in the Rangers end for what seemed like over 5 minutes eventually forcing an icing and a Rangers timeout.

    As for the people jumping all over Jordan Staal (not Stahl, John)….I can’t wait for football season so they can go back to watching that and not knowing what they are talking about instead. Sale crazy somewhere else….we’re all stocked up here. Did it ever occur to them the reason why Crosby is such a great player? It isn’t just the points…it’s his all around game. Staal, though obviously not as good offensively as Crosby, is an absolutely magnificent defensive player…one of the best in the league. It’s hard to measure but the people in the know realize this. Every contending team needs a player like him.

    Oh, and Lundqvist goals against average isn’t under 1….it’s under 2, John….it was 1.77 going in last nights game.

    • http://justwatchthegame.com John Steigerwald

      Obviously he’s not under 1. I meant under 2 thanks.

  • Pghfrftr

    Good game last night. I was beginning to get concerned with their team defense, or specifically, their seemingly lack of attention to team defense. But last night showed they still have it when they want it. With that kind of play, it could be a long playoff run. Better defense play, fewer mindless giveaways, makes a well played game.

  • Richard

    The Penguins could make a deep run in the playoffs without Crosby. I can’t see them winning the cup, but they’re good enough to get to the ECF with a couple of IF’s being addressed.

    One. Fleury has to come to play lights out every night. I have no reason to doubt him.

    Two. They could use a little more scoring depth on the second line. Staal is a great shutdown guy, but your second line needs to put in some goals, too. No knock on Staal, he’s got legitimate scoring touch. But Cooke and Sullivan (as good as Sully is on the PP) aren’t enough to take advantage of the time and space afforded them by the opposing team’s focus on the Malkin line. Nothing major needed. No blockbuster necessary. I don’t know who’s out there, but someone in the Guerin mold who can chip a puck in the net with a little more frequency would be nice.

    The D needs to solidify, and I think Bylsma switching up the pairings will help. True, they had no Orpik last night, but teaming Martin & Letang together makes sense. It forces both to be more responsible, especially Martin.

    If Crosby comes back and is healthy, all bets are off. Everyone at the top of the conference better be wary.

    • GeeWhiz

      Three. Someone else eliminates the Devils. For some reason the Pens can’t beat that team.

      Teemu Selanne = Guerin maybe?

  • Ken

    My complaint about Staal has always been his passing. He’s a terrible playmaker and should be playing wing.

    Great game last night. Staal was great, as were Fleury and Malkin. And really everyone.

  • Tom in FL

    Funny that you brought up Staal’s defensive play. My son and I were talking about the same thing last night, late in the game His defensive work was amazing and often underappreciated.