This video hits the nail right on the head.
Hey Jedi Master Mears,
I don’t know what it is about when we play the Jets but that’s now 2 in a row that have been pretty confusing. Watching my facebook and twitter feeds during the game, I could tell I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Once we gained the lead, the Pens looked like they had the game under control. They were clearly out playing the Jets. All of a sudden, the game is tied or a 2 goal lead was cut to 1. Its wasn’t until the 3rd period that the Pens really ran away with it. I don’t know what kind of game mentality the Pens have when they face the Jets, but they need to clean up their defense. Lets make this the last one of those types of games.
I’ve listened to a lot of analysts and talked to a lot of fans and the common trend seems to be… teams who have multiple players exceeding expectations and breaking career highs all at the same time, are teams that win cups. Check this out and correct me if I’m wrong…
Kunitz – 21 goals. 2 behind his career high.
Duper – 21 goals. career high.
Cooke – 16 goals. career high.
Geno – 43 goals. 4 behind his career high.
Neal – 35 goals. career high IN A BIG WAY.
Staal – 22 goals. 7 behind his career high and tying his goals for the 08-09 season.
Crosby – honorable mention with 19 assists in 12 games on the season. Sid ‘the assist kid’ Crosby.
Look at those numbers. We still have a month of games left to play. How awesome is that!?!? I don’t think we have our full team chemistry worked out yet but there’s no doubt, we’re definitely making it work. I can’t wait for the playoffs. If the Pens can keep this up (and I believe they can), Lord Stanley seems all but moved back into Pittsburgh.
LETS GO PENS!!!
-The Pittsburgh Jedi
HAPPY SAINT PATRICKS DAY, PITTSBURGH!!!
Thursday night was the game all of Pittsburgh and pretty much every hockey fan on the planet, were waiting for – the return of Sidney Crosby. At Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, the game couldn’t have turned out to be much more of a high stakes situation. The Rangers lead the Eastern Conference in points, leaving the Pens trailing 6 behind, in a must-win situation if they plan to catch the Rangers in the points race. In addition to the Eastern Conference standings, looking for their 10th win in a row and 3 wins in a row against the Rangers, the Pens traveled to New York City with a lot on the line. Accompanying Crosby back to the lineup was all-star defenseman, Kris Letang. For the first time in what seems to be an eternity, the Penguins are completely healthy with the exception of backup net minder, Brent Johnson.
Even though Crosby was the evening’s much awaited spectacle, much of the spotlight ended up on Matt Cooke with 2 goals and Kris Letang with a plus-5 rating. You can never leave out Marc Andre Fleury and his hot glove hand, wracking up 29 saves on the game. Crosby was far from left with empty pockets, ending up with an assist and a plus-3 rating on the ice. Even though, at times, the Pens looked like there were too many cooks in a kitchen with all the star power the team possesses, they were able to commandingly trump the Rangers with a final score of 5-2. Accompanying Matt Cooke on the scoreboard were wingers, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, along with center and assistant captain, Evgeni Malkin. A huge win on a huge stage.
Health has been a massive issue and concern for the Penguins for the better part of two seasons. With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup, due to what turned out to be a major concussion coupled with spinal fractures, the Pens haven’t had a healthy roster for the equivalent of over a full regular season. If the Pens can keep themselves healthy and off of the injured list, the road to the Stanley Cup doesn’t seem so treacherous. Possessing a team with the two best players on the planet, multiple all-star caliber players, a number of players knocking on the door for career highs in goals, and one of the best goal keepers in the league today, the Pens have little to fear. It goes without saying that the Penguins’ depth extends far beyond their NHL roster, with the multitude of AHL players they have brought up to contribute to this season’s success.
When other teams look to matchup against the Penguins, they are essentially matching up against 3 first lines and a talented 4th line of hybrid grinders/fighters/scorers. Evgeni Malkin and the rest of his red hot first line, used to be the main shutdown focus. Now Crosby is back on the ice with his unbelievable ability to be a goal scorer and a playmaker, who can make any player around him substantially raise the level of their game. The Jordan Staal line has been anything but ineffective as well. Every coach building a strategy against a lineup like this, would see it as an absolute nightmare to figure out. You have to imagine them finally coming to a decision, walking away from the drawing board and knowing the game plan they’re about to announce hangs on a hope and a prayer… and a flimsy one at that.
The Pens are on the road to face the New Jersey Devils this afternoon, and the stakes are high once again. In recent history, the Devils have had a bead on the Pittsburgh Penguins and repeatedly found ways to shut down their goal scoring ability. Now, having to face a fully healthy, momentum riding, firing on all cylinders, Penguins squad, maybe the game wont look so typical to the Devils, this afternoon. Regardless, the Pens need to create some offense if they want to turn this 10 game win streak into an 11 game win streak. With a seemingly endless amount of firepower that the Penguins possess, it’s difficult to believe the Pens will find much trouble making that happen.
The Pittsburgh Penguins play away against the NewJersey Devils today at 1:00 PM Eastern. Tune into the game and live chat with me on facebook and twitter:
LETS GO PENS!!!
Jedi Master Mears,
How’s it going today? I’m back from the Big East Tournament in NYC, so I’m back in show attendance. I got to hang out with the New York Pens Chapter while I was out there. Is it any shock that all the coolest people I met in NYC were all from Pittsburgh? Inherently, none of them were cab drivers.
I’m still struggling but I wanted to agree with a point you made. The Pens attacked Boston early and really muscled into Chara all game. Chara, being the team captain, made some serious un-captain-like moves because of it. We capitalized on our opportunities. It was great to see the Pens zero in on the Bruins and not let Boston set the physical pace. Despite sloppy spans of time throughout the game, the Pens never let the game slip away. As a fan, you always get nervous when that 2 goal lead appears and there’s a ton of time left on the clock.
The support lines are still being amazing behind the 1st line. Dupuis deserves a ton of credit. He’s a quiet player as far as his presence on the ice. His speed, vision and physical play is second to none on our team. Acquiring him couldn’t have worked out any better. People used to talk about Talbot being the locker room personality but after seeing the 24/7 series and the James Neal 36 Hours episode, Duper deserves WAY more credit. He had me rolling with all of the pranks and constant jokes he slings around the locker room. That’s a huge dynamic to add to a team. It’s so important to have a fun, stress-free personality like that and have it compounded by solid productivity on the ice on top of it. If people haven’t recognized yet, Dupuis is far more valuable than what we get to see on the ice.
It goes without saying, we’re all excited to see Sid come back. Waiting for the final confirmation is like dangling a juicy steak just out of the reach of a hungry animal’s cage. I’ll make no predictions as to when he’ll be back or what will be done with him when he does come back. I don’t envy coach Disco for having to figure that one out but that’s certainly one hell of a high-class problem.
When Letang comes back to a full, healthy lineup, the Pens potential will just be gargantuan. Astronomical. Absolutely terrifying.
LETS GO PENS!!!
-The Pittsburgh Jedi
Jedi Master Mears,
Welcome back. I dare you to try to laugh more during the show than Michelle did in your stead. Her laugh is pretty contagious when something gets her started, which never seemed too difficult.
Great game on Saturday night. Even though Colorado came off of a shutout loss rolling into the Pens game, they had been doing well enough prior to that to be nervous over. The first 7 to 10 minutes of the 1st period, was enough to make you nervous if you weren’t already going into the game.
I wanted to address our support lines. For the 1st time in a seemingly long time, only 1 goal was produced by the top line. There’s always been some talk and worry about what would happen if the 1st line went flat or was held to 1 or no goals. This Saturday was a great example of what the result of that really is. Our depth is much deeper than what I hear credit being given. Seeing Engelland and Asham score and in the fashion in which they did it, reminds you that there’s solid offensive threat from front to back in the Pens lineup. I love Asham’s slapshot, by the way. It makes me a happy Jedi. Props to Park for capitalizing on his 1 on 1 opportunity.
I’m excited to see what tonight holds for us. Phoenix being a division leader makes this game seem a lot bigger. They’re surging right now and so are the Pens, with a 5 game win streak under their belts. I’m excited to see how both teams attack the other and what strategies they choose to try to break the other down.
Quick mentions. Sulli is really showing his value right now. Everything seems to be going his way right now, whether its as a goal scorer or a play-maker. Duper is very much the same way in his constant effort, speed and vision on the ice. Players like these two are extremely necessary to make a schedule like the one Pens face this next month, not seem so difficult. They make plays you don’t get from your ordinary support player. We’re lucky to have them.
Its a Monday but at least its a hockey Monday. LETS GO PENS!!!
Good luck tonight fellas.
-The Pittsburgh Jedi