Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pittsburgh's power play reaches new low; Sharks not giving up Pacific

Late shorthanded goal helps Rangers to win
I thought Pittsburgh's power play couldn't get any worse than it did a couple weeks ago when two Philadelphia players were penalized at the same time, giving the Penguins a two-minute 5-on-3. Pittsburgh proceeded to take two penalties in something like 30 seconds to cancel out the power play entirely.

Then Monday happened.

After failing to beat an outstanding Henrik Lundqvist for nearly 58 minutes, goals by Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke 38 seconds apart gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead with 1:53 to play in regulation. Lundqvist, upset over giving up Cooke's goal, which was a particularly soft goal, broke his stick then threw it towards the referee's circle, earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Pittsburgh went on the power play, needing basically to just kill the fucking clock to win. The Penguins managed to screw that up, when Evgeni Malkin's rather silly cross-ice pass was intercepted and turned up ice into a New York rush. All of 27 seconds after taking the lead, Pittsburgh allowed Marc Staal to score shorthanded and then Ryan Callahan scored on a 2-on-1 when $20 million man Zbynek Michalek inexplicably fell down at center ice to give New York a 3-2 overtime win.

Lundqvist finished with 37 saves. Pittsburgh's power play went 0-for-6 and looked like garbage doing it.

I'm also proposing the following stat change: When figuring out power play efficiency, if you give up a shorthanded goal, you lose a power play goal. So instead of Pittsburgh's power play being an astoundingly high 13.0%, under my rule, it's actually 9.7%. Somehow, the Penguins do not lead the league in shorthanded goals allowed and I don't care what any numbers say, theirs is the worst power play in the league. Somehow seven teams have a lower efficiency but they're still better.

Bernier not exactly the prodigal son, Sharks win big
For at least two years now I've been hearing about what a hot shot prospect Jonathan Bernier is. As an owner of Bernier in a keeper league, I'm wondering when the hell he's actually going to start playing like one. If anyone in that league is reading, I'm open to a trade of that son of a, ahem, that is, I'm open to a trade. (Note: I'm in a slightly ticked off mood this evening.)

San Jose poured six goals behind Los Angeles' stud-in-the-making, showing they're not quite ready to hand over the Pacific Division reins to the Kings, and earned a resounding 6-3 victory. Six different players scored for San Jose, led by Patrick Marleau's goal and two assists. Joe Pavelski and Dany Heatley had a goal and assist each.

Antero Niittymaki made 32 saves. Bernier gave up all six goals.

Noteworthy from this game was Ryan Smyth scored but no one seemed to see it so play continued and San Jose eventually scored. Smyth's play was reviewed and became a goal, wiping out the San Jose score.

--Tim Thomas and the Bruins rebounded from a lackluster shutout home loss by blanking visiting New Jersey, 3-0. Thomas made 28 saves. Nathan Horton, Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler scored.
--Buffalo overcame blowing a 3-1 third-period lead when Tyler Myers scored late in overtime to give the Sabres a 4-3 win over Vancouver, which got a goal and two assists from Daniel Sedin. Ryan Miller made 36 saves for the win.
--Mike Richards had two goals and an assist, Claude Giroux had one and two, and Philadelphia routed Ottawa, 5-1. Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves.
--Defenseman John-Michael Liles scored twice in the first period and added an assist as Colorado spanked Jaroslav Halak and the Blues, 6-3. Paul Stastny had a goal and assist and Peter Budaj made 27 saves.

Tuesday's games

Philadelphia (12-4-2) at Montreal (11-5-1), 7 p.m. ET, Versus

Props to the schedule-maker who put this one on TV. I guess yeah, it's a rematch of the Eastern Conference final but it's also a game between two of the top teams in the East. How will Carey Price handle Philadelphia's wealth of talented forwards? Not good, I'm thinking.

-Philadelphia 5, Montreal 2

Nashville (7-5-3) at Toronto (5-8-3), 7 p.m.

Let's see. The Predators have scored the fewest goals in the West. The Maple Leafs have the second-fewest goals in the East. Sign me up for this one! By the way, Toronto has lost eight straight games.

-Nashville 3, Toronto 1

Anaheim (10-7-2) at Dallas (8-7-0), 9 p.m.

I'm not convinced the Ducks are playing well; right now they're getting very good goaltending. But I do know the Stars suck these days, losing their last three games by a combined 12-3 score. The Dallas power play went 4-6 in a win over Phoenix but is 0-10 in the current losing streak.

-Anaheim 4, Dallas 2

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