Saturday, October 20, 2007

10/20/07: Game 7: Penguins 2 - Capitals 1

The Penguins picked up the back-to-back wins with last nights shootout winner against the Hurricanes and tonights victory over the Capitals, to improve to 4-3-0 on the season. The night was supposed to be a "white-out" in Washington, which only proved to show exactly how many Penguins fans had made the commute. Several times throughout the game "Let's Go Pens" chants should be heard on the Comcast Washington telecast.

The talk around the NHL was that the Penguins, with Marc-Andre Fleury's poor start, were inquiring about available goaltenders. Fleury probably did a considerable job squelching those rumors, with a dominating performance, stopping 30 of 31 shots in the win.

Goaltending consultant Gilles Meloche worked with Fleury after practice on Thursday, and Fleury appeared much more in control against the Capitals, muffling rebounds and making the big saves. The only goal he allowed was on a Brian Pothier slap shot through a screen in the first.

A Jordan Staal goal, his first of the season, off a rebound, tied it up in the second only moments after a Penguins power-play expired.

Ryan Whitney picked up the game-winner later in the second, pinching from the blue-line on the power-play and putting a cross ice pass behind Capitals backup tender Brent Johnson.

Georges Laraque wasted little time in making his presences felt in his first game back from a lingering groin injury. He dropped the gloves with fellow heavy-weight Donald Brashear, and went a few rounds in a memorial bought.

Jordan Staal also picked up a fighting major, the first of his NHL career, after taking exception to Matt Pettinger in the 3rd.

After a showing up inconsistently in early season play, the Penguins have finally been able to set up the cycle in the offensive zone. Last season their cycle worked more out of the corner, but it appears they are working more from behind the net thus far.

Erik Christensen, who scored in last nights shootout, was a healthy scratch tonight.

The Penguins will play in front of the national audience on Versus (sorry, I couldn't say that without a smirk on my face), Tuesday night against the division rival New York Rangers.

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