Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unleash the Fleury

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a huge save on an Alexander Ovechkin breakaway just three minutes into Wednesday night's game seven. Arguably, that could have been the play of the game. Of course, most folks will talk and write about Crosby’s two goals and the fact that the Penguins scored twice in eight seconds culminating with Craig Adams’ first ever playoff goal. However, if Ovechkin scores there, the whole complexion of the game is different.

Since I live in the DC area and have had to listen to constant Capitals coverage and taunts by several co-workers after game six, I do want to point out that the Capitals had only 12 shots and 6 scoring chances in the first two periods. Way to show up for a game seven!

Meanwhile, the Capitals talk around the area over the next few days will likely focus on what happened to Mike Green. Although Green had four assists in this series, he was not the same amazing player as he was during the regular season where he led all defensemen in goals and points. He has to be hurt, right? His poor performance in this series can't be attributed just to a new hockey stick.

The Capitals as a whole got very little offensive production from its defensemen. Tom Poti had 2 goals, 5 assists, and 13 shots in the first round against the Rangers, but no goals, 1 assist and 5 shots versus Pittsburgh. The other defensemen combined for 1 goal (Jurcina) and 3 assists (1 each for Sloan, Pothier and Shaone Morrisonn - who should be offended by the spelling of his name). That's a grand total of 1 goal and 8 assists from the Caps D (and I'm not including the overtime goals that deflected off the sticks of Morrisonn and Poti into their own net).

Meanwhile, the Penguins got 6 goals (Letang - 3; Eaton - 2; Gonchar - 1) and 15 assists (Gonchar - 4; Letang & Orpik - 3; Scuderi - 2; Boucher, Eaton & Goligoski -1) from its D. That's a huge difference. Actually, that’s a difference of 5 goals and 7 assists. Seth – you have to include this stat in Empty Netters!

Anyway, that's about as detailed analysis you'll get from me. For more coverage of game seven, make sure you visit The Pensblog, the Post-Gazette (including the Empty Netters blog) and the Washington Post (including the DC Sports Bog).

Finally, I’d like to thank the Penguins for granting my birthday wish!

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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