Aside from Roy not at least getting some offset for his antics, the real key there was the Pens kill of that 7 minutes. The arena was electric -- it was a great game to have been able to attend, worked out much better than the game against the Caps last week. The ovation the fans gave after that penalty time was killed, you would have thought the place was on fire. It did show that the fans still appreciate hard work, even on a team that has not lived up to expectations. Call this the Steeler phenomenon. They didn't win in the playoffs until 1972, but the 25 years leading up to that established the blue collar ethic that still lives on.
They also killed all the PPs NJ had the night before. They have begun using Crosby on the PK more and more, and Hilbert seems to have made a difference as well. (Seeing the 9 skate around again reminds me of German Titov of the late 90s). Two games does not a turnaround make, but beating the Devils and the Flyers, and now playing the Devils again, with a chance for a fourth win against the Devils. It does seem that SC has gotten better defensively as the season has worn on, to the point where he has been inching closer and closer to even on the season.
If only they could have had the trade deadline back in January when they were 10-12-14 games under... They aren't quite formally eliminated, but with the 8 spot currently at 71 points, and the Pens max if they would win out would be 78, and have to pass over several other teams that are within 5 points of #8, In all practical sense, it's for draft position now.
The Pens are 7 points back of St Louis, Chicago and Washington for 27th place. We trail in wins by 4, 5, and 6, respectively. In theory, it would take 27 points (either them gaining or the Pens failing to gain) for any of the three to lock themselves ahead of the Pens. Columbus would need 23, while Florida and Boston only 17. The Pens have to date 0.676 points per game. Multply that by the 17 games remaining, and one could expect the Pens to only gain 11-12 points, thus failing to gain 22-23 possible points, all but clinching the last spot. No need to tank their way to the end, simply playing the way they have been will all but accomplish that goal. Even playing .500, getting 17 points in 17 games, combined with the other teams earning their team points per game for the rest of the way would leave them alone in last.
03-04 got pretty close, to where if they had beaten the Caps the late game in DC, they could have fininshed 29th. But they would have then lost 1 of their 3 balls in the Sydney Crosby lottery. As they say, you can never go back.
Is it just me, was I the only one surprised at Melichar getting the "A", and why does it seem like the fan jumble is always Melichar? (It was Sunday, as it was on New Years Eve, the last game we were at... for being a B plan holder, we only made it to 4 games ourselves... and I thank the Pens for honoring my yearbook request even though I couldnt find the darn certificate)