Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Penguins 3 - Panthers 0: Clampdown

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins won with some steller goaltending and just a touch of offense as they defeated the clawless Florida Panthers 3-0.
On the night, Sidney finished with 1 assist, EVEN, and 3 shots on goal in 20:38 of ice time.

Not a memorable game, but a big victory nonetheless.
These Pittsburgh Penguins must be for real. They're even beating the Florida Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots, and the Penguins ended a nearly five-year home losing streak against the Panthers by winning 3-0 Tuesday night.

And they did it without any goals from Sidney Crosby or Mark Recchi.

Michel Ouellet, Dominic Moore and Ryan Whitney scored as Pittsburgh won its fourth in a row and sixth in seventh games. Crosby and Recchi combined for eight goals and 19 points in three games, with Recchi getting six goals and 10 points before being shut out by Florida.

"We got some big saves, especially in the third when they were pressing pretty hard," Crosby said, pointing to Florida's 13-4 shots advantage during the final period. "That's what your goalie needs to do, buy you time and make it tough on teams to get back when you have a lead."

Crosby did extend his point streak to seven games (4 goals, 10 assists) by helping set up Whitney's ninth goal of the season. The power-play goal came midway through the second period after Florida held off Pittsburgh during a pair of 5-on-3 advantages that lasted two minutes. Crosby has an NHL-leading 79 points in 46 games.

"It was kind of disappointing that we gave them a goal after working so hard and doing a good job with the 5-on-3," Florida coach Jacques Martin said.

Fleury got his third shutout of the season and fifth of his career, and against an opponent that had won seven in a row in Pittsburgh since March 5, 2002. The Panthers had won 14 of 15 overall against Pittsburgh.

"We said before the game it was about time - we were all sick of hearing, 'Why can't you beat these teams from Florida?"' Whitney said. "It was a huge game in that aspect and in the standings, too."

With a 24-17-8 record, the Penguins are an NHL-best 25 points ahead of their pace of last season, when they were 11-29-9 en route to winning only 22 games. They are in playoff contention for the first time since Mario Lemieux's comeback season six years ago.

"With that personnel over there, it was only a matter of time before they got going," Florida's Bryan Allen said. "Fleury played well, especially in the third period, and sometimes that's the biggest factor."

The Penguins returned from one of their best road trips in years, beating Dallas 4-3 in a shootout Friday and Phoenix 7-2 on Saturday, but didn't experience the letdown some teams have in the first game at home following a western swing.

"We wanted to make sure we come back here focused," Crosby said. "We didn't come back overconfident. We came back with a strong work ethic and tried to play the way we did in those two games on the road."

Hmm, I had no idea the Penguins have had that much trouble with the Panthers.


Creative Commons License
The Sidney Crosby Show
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
(Based on all work at