Last night the Penguins came out flying, as if their game with Detroit had been extended and they were still playing the guys in red.
The Penguins dominated the game for the first 25 minutes, having Philadelphia in a tizzy, with goaltender Martin Biron in a daze.
Leading 3-0, the Penguins headed into a power-play where they looked to finalize proceedings. However, Pittsburgh gave up two horrible shorthanded goals, and by the end of the second period, they had seen their lead dissipate completely.
Along with their lead went goaltender Marc-Andres Fleury, and backup Dany Sabourin deputized to finish the match. If this was a strategic move by coach Terrien then it was a perfect one.
Sabourin played amazing in the third period, overtime, and shoot-out. He looked like he could be a starter for a lot of teams in the league. It is nice to know that your team has a good backup that you can rely on when the starter is out.
Sidney Crosby looked really good last night. He tallied his first power-play goal in more than 40 games, also tallying the game-tying goal.
Don't forget Matt Cooke who put up the first goal of the game, his first in a Penguins uniform. Getting a goal from a player like Matt Cooke will only boost his confidence and hopefully push him to play hard-nosed, tough hockey games.
Evgeni Malkin also had a goal last night with a sweet little chip backhand which found the top corner of the net behind Martin Biron.
Once again, though, the Penguins were unable to hold a lead and were forced to play from behind. I know that these kind of games make for exciting TV, but the Penguins need to learn to play with, and hold, a lead—maybe even tacking a few insurance goals on top.
I believe the Penguins need to put Letang or Goligoski on the point, moving Malkin to one of the wings. Malkin is a great point-man, but he is horrible at defense, and last night he got caught out of position while the Flyers were off to the races. If you put a defense-men back there like Letang or Goligoski, you have a solid, dependable player, but also a offensive minded defense-men which is key on a power-play.
It looked as if the Penguins were using the Detroit game for motivation last night, and it paid off for the first half. This problem the Penguins face right now giving up leads and scrounging with little time left is going to haunt them later in the season, or the playoffs.
They need to keep up the tempo they have in the beginning of games and play like that a full 60 minutes, not until they get what they think is a big enough lead.
On the bright side, the the Penguins have now won five games in a row and are slowly creeping up on the Rangers for that top spot in the East. Their next game is this Saturday at home against the Sabres.
We will see if the Penguins can continue this winning streak; maybe they find a lead Saturday they can actually keep.
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