Penguins – Ducks Fallout
1. Last night’s 2-1 loss to the surging Anaheim Ducks was a game where the Penguins feel they had a prime opportunity to put the game away early on, most notably in the first period. Anaheim didn’t have their legs early on in back-to-back situations and Pittsburgh dominated play in the first but it was a role reversal in the final two periods as the Ducks were the more dominant team and eventual 2-1 winner.
“We really didn’t get too many good opportunities, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.
Anaheim which has developed a defensive mindset under Bruce Boudreau, were excellent at getting their sticks in lanes and turning Pittsburgh turnovers into scoring chances the other way.
2. Teemu Selanne’s slick hands are the same as they wereÂ 10 years ago and that was evident on his game winning goal. Amazing for a 41 year old who netted his 656th career goal and has 19 goals and a team-leading 52 points on the season. “This game was huge for us,” Selanne said as the Ducks pulled within six points of 8th place Phoenix. “We got here at 3 in the morning and they came out pretty hard and controlled the first period, and then we got into the game.” There’s a reason teams like the Rangers, Bruins and Red Wings are dreaming of Selanne becoming available at the deadline.
3. For a rare game, at least of late, the Penguins big guns were outplayed by the oppositions stars. Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin and James Neal were a combined minus-6 and had just five shots on goal as Neal was credited with 0 shots on goal for the first time this season.
4. Not getting to see the Ducks too often in person, I see now why there’s so much talk among scouts that Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa is a rising star in the game.
5. The biggest surprise for the Penguins this season has to be Jordan Staal’s goal scoring ability. Last night was another example of the elite goal scorers type of goals Staal has scored all season. Until now, It’s something that was missing from his game for his entire career. Staal has figured things out in that department and his goal against Jonas Hiller was a beauty where he faked Hiller out with his eyes as he looked left like he was going to pass and quickly fires a shot shot top shelf past Hiller blocker side for his 17th goal of the season.
6. The Cal O’Reilly experiment is going about as well as the Chris Bourque experiment went. That shouldn’t be a surprise and can’t see it lasting too much longer. The Sullivan – O’Reilly – Jeffrey line continues to bring nothing to the table. O’Reilly has
7. The vibe coming out of the Ducks locker room last night is that Bruce Boudreau has been the true spark this team needed and they believe the playoffs are a strong possibility. Boudreau has made the room much looser than they were under Randy Carlye. The Ducks are now just six points out of a playoff spot and 14-3-3 since New Year’s Day, tied for the best mark with Detroit during that span.
8. It’s a shame when your two highest paid defensemen who were brought in to play together are major liabilities togetherÂ and that’s become the case for the Penguins. Staying away from the Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek pairing for almost the first forty minutes of the game, the two take a shift together near the end of the second period and get beat down low and Corey Perry ties the game with 52 seconds left in the second period. That’s a great so called “Shutdown Pair”.
9. Speaking of Paul Martin here’s a scouts take: “Everything seems so slow with him and I hate to say it but he looks to be in slow motion out there, ” the scout said. “Pittsburgh has a real problem on their hands.”
10. The limited amount of power play time continues to put an emphasis on even strength play, an area of concern for the Penguins brass. Pittsburgh had just one power play opportunity. That makes a player like Steve Sullivan even less of anÂ impact playerÂ than he is right now.