Over the last couple of weeks, we, along with most of the rest of the Penguin hockey community, have been ranting and raving about how good Christian Ehrhoff has been. It should really come as no surprise for anyone that has watched the German international play at any point over the course of his career. But beyond the eye test, how good has actually been? [Spoiler Alert: Very]:
Really hard not to put the team on a pedestal in a performance like this. This was game that a system won because it’s a system. Tampa came in with a full complement of all of their star players, Nabokov wasn’t bad in relief of Bishop, but the Penguins were just too good once they got their legs going. It took 20 minutes for that, but Fleury made so many early saves to stem the tide that they couldn’t go the rest of the way without getting some momentum from it. And when they did, the Bolts didn’t have a real answer for it.
But it wasn’t just Fleury either. Brandon Sutter had a remarkable performance in a pure shutdown role, matched up all night against Stamkos. Not only that, but he also had a couple chances offensively as well and (spoiler alert) put one in the back of the net. The Pens energy guys gave them energy while they also got contributions from those depth guys and top guys alike. Product of the system. That’s what you want, injuries or not.
Cover photo via Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images. Full recap:
|19-6-4; 42 points, Metropolitan Division||19-9-3; 41 points, Atlantic Division|
7:00 PM - CONSOL Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA - NBCSN, SN, TVA, ROOT
The Eastern Conference’s top two teams tangle in Pittsburgh as Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins welcome Steven Stamkos and the high-energy Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night in a nationally televised tilt.
Jump it for a full preview. [Read more…]
Sidney Crosby has the mumps.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 14, 2014
…To nobody’s surprise.
“…specialists believe he should be through the infectious period by Monday.” – per the Pens press release
Rutherford says decision to have Crosby skate Friday was approved by doctors
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 14, 2014
Embarrassing and irresponsible by the team doctors that he was around the team and other people, places, and things during the infectious period. Don’t care how “sneaky” the disease is. Whole situation was handled poorly and is stupid and also dumb.
Rutherford also confirmed that what Maatra is dealing with is not related to his thyroid cancer surgery. #Penguins
— Shelly Anderson (@_ShellyAnderson) December 14, 2014
This game of two teams with depleted lineups was very reminiscent of the playoff series between them last April: tight-checking, fast paced, and with a final score of 4-3. The Pens fell behind early and fought back to take the lead before falling behind again and fighting tooth-and-nail to salvage a point in the final fifteen seconds. The Blue Jackets, to their credit, carried the play for multiple long stretches and were the better team for the majority of the game. They managed to grab a very important 2 points and extend their winning streak to 6 games as they continue their effort to crawl out of the basement of the Metro Division. The Penguins, also to their credit, managed to find ways to score after having seemingly no method for exiting their zone and establishing possession. In the end though, the comeback fell short, and the Penguins dropped the extra point in the shootout.
Cover photo via Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Image. Full recap: