Penguins are 8-10-2.
Yeah, that's just about all that's different from the last time I updated (midterms and finals are killing me), are a few added numbers, and the same old situation: can't play 60 minutes, bad passing, lack of cohesive defense, breaking down between the pipes, sitting players, not sitting questionable players, the whole nine yards. I believe in Fleury, and anyone who's watched him in the last few games can see that he's doing better and trying to not get psyched-out when he lets in a goal, especially against the Islanders last time (standing up more, getting better rebound control, although not always, sticking tighter to the sides). Goalies are always the first targets when a team doesn't do as well as expected, and the Atlantic is a beast. The Rangers are on top with 25 (against the Pens and the Devils, who are sharing space in the basement at 18). That's only a 7 point difference. The Northeast has a spread of 17 between the Sens and the Sabres, and the Southeast comes in with a difference of 14 between the Canes and the Caps. The West side is closer, with all divisions ranging under 10 points from top to bottom. That makes the Atlantic the closest division in the East (the Central has a three-way tie of 22 for the bottom portion, and a difference of 7 points total), and all of the teams (as much as it pains me to say) are good teams. The top two at the moment, the Rangers and Flyers, have good goaltending, and for the Rangers, sometimes that's all that's kept them in the game. I hope Mr. Henrik gets some love letters in his locker for how well he's kept the Rangers' collective biscuits out of the fire. The Flyers, for the most part, are playing like they always have, hard, fast (well, faster than they used to), and have a good goalie to back them up. Probably one of the most improved teams in hockey from last year, and certainly from the East (then again, when you're so far down that you can't see daylight, anything is an improvement).
What about the rest? The Islanders are, again, backed by a solid goalie in Ricky DiPi, and the rest of the team isn't too bad either, although they don't seem to have any breakout areas at the moment (Isles fans, am I way out in left field on this?). The Devils, honestly, I haven't watched enough to tell where exactly they are failing at being the dominating pain in the ass they usually are, so I'll just go with pointing to Interchangeable Parts in the sidebar.
The Penguins? Well, I won't go over it again, that horse is dead and beaten into the ground, but it's neat to look at the teams in the Atlantic and think about their strong points...and one of the major factors are some just straight-out mean goaltending. The Pens have Fleury, who can be a beast (look at last season? 40-16-9, a GAA of 2.83 and a SV%.906. So far this season: 5-7-1, a GAA 3.47 and a save percentage of .893.), but they also have a strong offense to pick up (hopefully) the slack that Fleury might have while he's getting into his grove and getting better. For a comparison, Lundqvist pulled 37-22-8, a 2.34 GAA and .917 SV% last season. This season he is a disgusting 11-8-1 with a GAA of 1.79. Both goalies ended up in the playoffs, so time will tell.
Next game for the Pens is Wednesday against another great goaltender in New Jersey who just got his 500th win. Congrats, Brodeur! Hope we can keep you from 501.
On a side note, our thoughts are with Pensblog Adam and his family. Our condolences.
20 November 2007
Penguins are 8-10-2.