Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2007 Preseason: Game B vs. Buffalo
September 29, 2007
Jocelyn Thibault was in goal for Buffalo.
Dany Sabourin was in net for Pittsburgh.
The Pens top Power Play unit was Recchi, Crosby, and Malkin up front with Whitney and Gonchar at the points. The second unit was usually Malone, Christensen and Armstrong up front (though Staal got out there once or twice) with Sydor and Letang on the points, though Letang only got out there when Gonchar actually came off. Gonchar led the team in PP time at 7:48, more than a minute over the second place player, Evgeni Malkin and his 6:34. Letang got a whopping 48 seconds on the PP. He's an offensively gifted kid, and he sits on the bench while Gonchar plays entire power plays. Doesn't make a ton of sense to me. That said, the power play had a good night, going 3-6. The movement was pretty good and Gonchar made a couple of nice keeps.
Therrien used three PK units for the most part. The top two were Malone, Staal, Orpik, and Whitney and Armstrong, Talbot, Sydor, and Gonchar. The third unit was usually Christensen, Crosby, Scuderi and Letang. As a group, they did well, killing all 6 Buffalo power plays. Armstrong and Malone did tremendous work on the kill, especially in the third period.
Sydor was awful. His glaring turnover led directly to goal #1 and while Roy let a nice shot go on the winner, that sequence was a nightmare for him as well. After failing to keep a puck in the zone, he just kept backing up, giving Roy plenty of room and possibly a screen. You'd expect a miscue like that from a nervous rookie, but not a vet like him that has 2 rings. I'm not giving up on him, but it was a brutal night for him to be sure.
At the other end of the spectrum were Malkin and Crosby. Malkin was especially good in the opening frame. He was hitting people, skating well, putting on a stickhandling clinic... pretty much as dominant as you could be without actually scoring, at that almost happened on the penalty shot, but Thibault was just able to stretch out the leg pad to stop Malkin on the Forsberg move. Crosby picked up where Malkin left off in the second. Maybe not as fancy, but every bit as electrifying.
Letang had an up and down night. He was on for two goals. On the 2nd Buffalo goal, he was in front of Sabourin with a Sabre to either side, and appeared to be unsure of who to take and ended up taking neither. Crosby came down on the back check and was able to attempt a weak stick check, but it didn't do any good. On the 3rd Buffalo goal, Letang and Scuderi each had a forward, but as is often the case in 4 on 4 situations, one of the defensemen jumped in and wasn't picked up by a forward. As Tallinder broke in uncovered, Letang lost the puck carrier for a split second, and that allowed him to hit Tallinder with a pass for an easy goal. Letang's passing and skating were pretty good, though he was still holding the puck a little to long at times.
The 4th line put together a pretty good shift in the second. Stone had a couple of good hits and Filewich was skating pretty well, doing a good job on the forecheck.
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