If you'd told me last week that Fleury had a shutout in his eminent future I'd have said, "Yeah, ok." And then if you'd have said, "No seriously, a shutout against the Rangers next Tuesday", I would've explained how the Penguins are not a defensive minded team, and the closest they'd come to a shutout is letting in only one goal. But man, was I surprised tonight.
I'm going to be honest here, it's not to say the Rangers didn't play some good hockey. 36 shots on the night, including a bunch of heart-wrenching post shots which would have otherwise made the game a Rangers victory. Either way, Fleury was on top of his game and couldn't have looked better.
The defense on the other hand, could have done a little more. Now before you jump on me for being overly critical, no goalie should have to make 36 saves to secure a 1-0 shutout. Obviously goalies DO, but they let the Rangers test him far too much and thankfully he was up for the challenge. But this is the Penguins' defense we're talking about, and if it weren't for the Malkin powerplay goal in the second it'd be most likely a 0-0 shootout.
Speaking of, tough time to be a Rangers fan. Two straight shutouts, 130+ minutes of scoreless hockey, a powerplay line that can't convert, a goalie who only lets in one goal and still loses the game and a injury list building up with star forwards. Yeah, tough time indeed.
Brooks Orpik was all over tonight, crushing and flipping and slamming into the boards. Jordan Staal was a bit disappointing on that penalty shot following the Malkin goal. It looked like he just wanted to get it over with and head back to the faceoff. Recchi keeps getting one game closer to his geriatric walker and Christensen showed why he sits on the bench after choking on a breakway attempt that failed to even warrant a shot.
Penalty kill though? On. Fire. The PK units shutdown 10 powerplay attempts, not to say there wasn't some hope from the crossbar on two occasions, but we'll pretend that didn't happen.
On a personal note, I'd love to see a game go by where the Penguins actually show they know how to count. Can we get another too many men on the ice call please? I really love hearing that one. It's practically a game ritual at this point.
But, I suppose I'll take it. Afterall, three straight wins surely tops anything. Well, aside from four straight wins, which is what the team is hoping to do Thursday against the Leafs.
<span style="font-weight:bold;">Penguins Goals</span>
Malkin from Crosby-Whitney
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