Big Lead Sports Bar

3/05/2008

Koz: Better Late Than Never

PENGUINS 2

LIGHTNING 0

by Koz
koz@insightbb.com

Despite totaling only ten shots after two periods and playing with their backup goalie, the Pittsburgh Penguins summoned some third period lightning to... um, defeat the Lightning, 2-0 in St. Petersburg Tuesday night. For all the cheers after the Pens goal, maybe we ought to refer to it as “St. Petersburgh.” Because I was reduced to listening on Internet radio, there was a split-second after the goal I was concerned the 'Ning had scored because of the loud cheer.

The lack of goal output notwithstanding, Crosby's return was a success. After missing 21 games he was able to flash the skill with some nifty passing, several scoring chances, a breakaway developing after he kicked the puck to his stick, and of course an assist on the game-winning goal. Most telling sign might be Sidney's 22 minutes of ice-time, which was only fewer than Malkin and Gonchar.

Jordan Staal left the game early with what was announced on FSN as “bruised ribs.” There is not yet any word on how severe the injury is or how much time Staal might miss.

The Pens continue to win games they probably shouldn't thanks to third period heroics. The optimist in me says this builds confidence and chemistry. Getting points in games like this is what differentiates a top-seeded playoff team from a bubble team. The pessimist is worried about allowing 50 shots one game and failing to register more than 30 in others. Fortunately it's early March and there is time for the core players to heal and get used to one another before the playoffs arrive.

The Achilles Heel: No, I'm not talking about another Penguins injury. If the “22 minutes” was the stat of the night, an honorable mention has to go to Crosby's 11 for 15 performance in the faceoff circle. If there was one underrated thing missing during Crosby's absence, it was the toll it took on the Pens faceoff performance. With Erik Christensen (57.3%) traded to Atlanta, Crosby is now the team leader on draws at 51.3%. The Penguins are currently ranked last in the league (46.7%). For more customizable team and individual hockey stats, go to http://www.sportsnet.ca/.

Ovechkin goes for 60: After beasting out in the first period of Washington's 10-2 drumming of the Bruins earlier t his week, hockey circles are abuzz wondering if Ovechkin will reach 60 goals before the end of the season. The last time a player scored 60 or more was 1995-96. Mario Lemieux scored 69 in 70 games and Jaromir Jagr netted 62 in a full season's work.



Sharing a laugh at Petr Nedved's expense, no doubt.


Fantasy Hockey “I Told Ya So”: Those of you involved in Head-to-Head fantasy leagues will notice Crosby's return is coinciding beautifully with the beginning of the fantasy playoffs. Hope you made the right decisions with your roster regarding #87.

Did someone mention table hockey? If you're in the Indianapolis area, you've got ten minutes and are looking for an ego-bruising, swing by old Koz's apartment.



Taking on all challengers...

Ever dream of being an Olympian? Here's your chance to join the USA 2010 Olympic Curling team. You could hang out with Cassie Johnson and the other USA Curling babes...


ATTENTION DISPLACED PENS FANS: Don't forget the next two Sunday's Pens games are being broadcast nationally on NBC. Check your local listings.

2 comments:

Jason said...

What kinda coin is Koz pulling down to have a dome hockey table AND Ben Roethlisberger Fat Head? Are you adopting, healthy white male children, age 33?

Koz said...

Christmas gifts, my friend. I've had the hockey table for a long time. It also doubles as a fantastic coat rack, or in this case, towel rack.