Penguins Post-Game Report
Very good turnout for Penguins fans tonight at the RBC center
In the locker room following the game, the Penguins felt they played good enough to win. They were disappointed not to leave Carolina with two points but they did get a much needed point.
In his post-game comments, Sidney Crosby talked about how the Penguins ran into a good goaltender but felt if the Penguins continue to play at the level they did tonight, ‚Äúhe likes their chances.‚Äù
The Florida Panthers¬†(87¬† pts) will be in a must-win situation Sunday afternoon. Interim coach Dan Bylsma remains non-committal on who will start in goal but sources tell me Fleury will start. Fleury has been pushing to play both games this weekend
Jordan Staal is playing his best hockey of his career right now but he needs to improve
his face-offs. Staal is the Penguins third line center and is considered the Penguins shutdown center and he can‚Äôt be having performances like tonight. (4 wins ‚Äì 12 losses). Other than the poor performance in the faceoff circles, Staal‚Äôs game is evolving.
The coaching staff has been working with Staal on the side at nearly every practice the past couple weeks on faceoffs.
Tyler Kennedy had another strong game. Unlike Petr Sykora, Kennedy is picking up his game at the right time. Kennedy had a goal, assist on the night.
Ruslan Fedotenko is much more comfortable playing with Kennedy and Staal.
With Fedotenko performing well with Staal, Kennedy, the problem the Penguins have is Matt Cooke is now out of his third line role where he flourishes. He can fill in on the top two lines from time to time but not on a nightly basis.
Hal Gill had a very good game. He was aggressive at the blueline and led the Penguins with 3 takeaways.
The plan going into the weekend games was for Craig Adams to play tonight and Eric Godard to play against Florida.
After another pointless game, Petr Sykora has now gone 7 games without a point and only has four points in his last 22 games dating back to February 6th.
Alexander Ovechkin (104 pts) is only four points behind Evgeni Malkin for the scoring lead.
Brooks Orpik was getting some treatment on his back following the game but he will be fine for tomorrow‚Äôs game. He took a cross-check in the third period and was moving slowly following the game.
Philippe Boucher remains patient for a chance to get in the lineup. He was asked again today whether the team has asked him to take an conditioning assignment and he said no.
Hurricanes Post-Game report:
Carolina fans were excited for tonight‚Äôs key matchup and it felt like a playoff atmosphere. Pretty good fan base in Raleigh. Penguins fans are traveling lately like Steelers fans do.
Cam Ward credits goaltender coach Tom Barrasso for turning his game around this season. Barrasso is in his second year as goaltending coach and people I‚Äôve talked to in the Hurricanes organization speak highly of Barrasso and indicate Barrasso shows a strong emphasis on video instruction.
The Hurricanes will get a boost for the playoffs. Forward Matt Cullen is expected to return to the lineup next week for the Hurricanes. He will begin skating on Monday.
One of the reasons Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford wanted to trade for Eric Cole is because he felt he could re-sign him. The team has already started preliminary negotiations. Cole is currently making slightly over $4 million per season. The Canes are hopeful to sign him for $3.5 million per season.
The Hurricanes are also expected to make an attempt to sign Tuomo Ruutu (RFA) to a long-term extension. Other than that, don‚Äôt expect the Canes to be active in free agency.
1. Boston Bruins (112 pts, GR: 4)
2. Washington Capitals (102 pts, GR: 4)
3. New Jersey Devils ( 102 pts, GR: 3)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (95 pts, GR: 4)
5. Carolina Hurricanes (95 pts, GR: 3)
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (93 pts, GR: 4)
7. Montreal Canadiens (92 pts, GR: 4)
8. New York Rangers (89 pts, GR: 3)
9. Florida Panthers (87 pts, GR: 4)