Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crosby gets another two; Preds, Sharks pull upsets

Crosby, Letestu lead Pens to 11th straight win
True story: I'd just texted my friend this question: "Fact or fiction: The Penguins are a high-scoring team." He responded with "fiction" and I told him that was correct.

Probably before he could even read my response, Pittsburgh, ahead 1-0 at the time, proceeded to score three times in a span of 3:08.

So... yeah.

Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 17 games by scoring a pair of goals and Mark Letestu also had two goals as the Penguins won their 11th straight game, 5-2 over Toronto. Pittsburgh needed to hang on to this one; the Penguins really pulled back in the third period, holding a 4-0 lead. Toronto out-shot Pittsburgh 15-2 in the final frame and made things interesting with a pair of third-period goals.

Pascal Dupuis scored Pittsburgh's sixth shorthanded goal of the season and Chris Kunitz tallied three assists. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves.

Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Maple Leafs.

He said it
Toronto coach Ron Wilson, on Pittsburgh's 5-2 win: "The turning point of the game was when they dropped the opening faceoff."

I was... wrong
--Anders Lindback doesn't like me. When I said no way Nashville would hand Detroit its third straight loss, and second in a row at home, Lindback took that as a challenge. Lindback stopped 35 shots to lead the Predators over the Red Wings, 3-2. Colin Wilson, Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont scored for Nashville.

--So much for a possible statement game from Dallas.

Chicago scored the game's first three goals and held on to beat the Stars, 5-3. Bryan Bickell and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and assist and Jeremy Morin netted the first of his career. Troy Brouwer and Patrick Sharp also scored and Duncan Keith and Dave Bolland each had two assists. Corey Crawford made 28 saves.

Loui Eriksson and James Neal each had a goal and assist for Dallas. Brad Richards had two assists.

Take it to the bank
Only a true American hero like Ryan Kesler could score such a sweet goal.

Kesler netted his second goal of the game with 22 seconds remaining from his hands and knees, banking a backhander from the side of the net off Jonas Hiller's stick to tie the game at 4-4, and Vancouver went on to down Anaheim, 5-4 in a shootout. Kesler also had an assist, though he pulled a Kovalchuk on his shootout attempt.

Jeff Tambellini scored in regulation and the shootout for the Canucks. Daniel Sedin had a goal and assist and Christian Ehrhoff posted two assists. Roberto Luongo made 16 saves.

Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry had a goal and assist for the Ducks.

Also in a shootout
San Jose erased a 4-1 third-period deficit and knocked off Philadelphia, 5-4. After Scott Hartnell scored to give the Flyers the three-goal lead, Jason Demers scored 1:18 later, then Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored twice in 37 seconds less than four minutes after Demers' goal.

Couture also scored in the shootout; Ryane Clowe had a goal, assist and shootout goal. Demers had two points and Antero Niittymaki made 31 saves.

Hartnell, Ville Leino and Claude Giroux each had a goal and assist for the Flyers, who appeared to score in overtime but time just expired.

--I dunno, maybe I should change my thinking on whether Pittsburgh is a high-scoring team. I guess the operative word is "team." There's really only one player who's a threat to score each time he's on the ice, and that's Crosby. Maybe Malkin when he's healthy. But each line can pop in a goal each shift. Maybe I'm just spoiled and think the Penguins could have easier times with some teams if they had more finishers.

--The Penguins certainly aren't a high-scoring team because of their power play. I've seen newborn kittens who are more ferocious than Pittsburgh's power play.

--Considering the evidence available - sixth-highest goals per game - I guess it's idiocy to say Pittsburgh isn't a high-scoring team. There just aren't a lot of very good offensive players after Crosby and Malkin. But the team still finds ways to score.

--I didn't like how the Pens just went into a shell in the third period. I dunno, maybe they were conserving energy for the upcoming two-game road trip. Or they thought Toronto would just pack it in. Either way, that third period became a lot more interesting than it should've. The Maple Leafs were very much out-classed the first two periods.

--Very disappointing results for Philly, Dallas and Anaheim. The Flyers and Ducks held late leads and the Stars had a chance to beat a depleted team and couldn't do it.

--Nashville, on the other hand, just won't go away. Whenever we're ready to bury the Predators (for instance, after a five-game losing streak or a separate four-game losing streak) they bounce back by stringing some wins together.

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