Just got back a little bit ago. Not a great night, but here is what I observed. I was on the 2nd level at the end the Pens shot at twice (and where only one goal was scored
First for the attendance... whoever was hoping for 82 sell outs, this was not even close. Maybe 3/4 capacity, but more like 60%. I'd say a good 1/3+ were Pens fans. Not surprising given the number of Pittsburghers in Phoenix. The first period was a little annoying due to the two young kids in front of me screaming "Let's Go Coyotes" for the full 20 minutes, but at least they have enthusiasm
Now on to the game (although probably less exciting than the attendance recap). It's hard to point out much because the Pens didn't do anything particularly bad... but they didn't do anything very well. It felt like they didn't do much at all to be honest.
Fleury played solid but not spectacular. He saved every puck he should have saved. He had no chance on the 2 PP goals, and I can't remember the thrid one right this second. Both PPs were also off of broken plays. The first one was a wide shot that bounced right to Doan (I think) who swept it across the goal to Jokinen. Oli didn't even get a solid shot, but Fleury had no chance at it. The 2nd was a mirror image almost. Not sure what the sentiments were around here, but Gill played it correctly, but the Coyote player was just in the right place at the right time and cliped it right to himself in stride as he came around the net. Again, Fleury had no shot at it.
The defense was so so. Eaton, Scuderi, and Gill were unnoticeable... good thing for them. Goligoski and Letang were unnoticeable... not good for your only offensive threats on the back line. Orpik was noticeable for his hits, but he took a really dumb penalty. It was a very selfish play where he just kept going after the guy until the ref called him. It's one of those penalties that drives you nuts because it was totally unnecessary.
I never even noticed Sid was gone until the 5 on 3. Apparently he was out 5 minutes left in the 2nd period. That's about how his night went. Minus his sweet play on the PK where he almost scored, he could have been anyone. You'd never know he was Sidney Crosby without his name on the jersey.
The offense didn't get a shot until 4 minutes left in the 1st period... sad really. This wasn't the Sharks. This was the Coyotes. They played well, but not as dominating as 2 shots in the 1st make it sound. I think I see what is going on though... the Pens NEVER go towards the net with anything at even strength. If they carry the puck in the zone, it's down the boards. When they have it in the zone, they cycle along the boards. There is never an intent to bring the puck to the center of the ice for a scoring opportunity. I can't explain why that is. Even when a player carries it in, they take it along the boards and take a wide angle shot that will go in maybe 1 out of 1000 times. When you cycle, the idea is to free up space for someone to sneak into the slot or at least a shooting position. That doesn't happen unless they misplay it in front.
This trend continues when the puck is kicked back to the point. NONE of the defensemen are willing to take a shot. The merely smack it back along the boards into the corner. Why do we have letang and goligoski again? I know this team stresses puck possession, but what good is it if there is not intent to go to the front of the net. Of the entire team, Satan (our lazy, won't get dirty, floater) was the most consistent with getting the puck to a spot where there was a good shot (ie NOT from the goal line or behind it). Trust me, for those who think Sid needs a guy good along the boards, there is no one on this team NOT good at it. We need someone who just gets in front.
That said, I think we need Sydor in the lineup. Sit Letang or Gogo... they are the same player and neither are doing much right now. Sydor at least has shown he will throw the puck at the net when he gets it. He also can't be any worse at starting a breakout than what I saw. Malkin shouldn't be allowed near the puck until it hits the blueline. I don't understand why he is so weak with it in his own end.
As for generalities... we got beat to a lot of pucks. The team just looks slow and tired. They all look frustrated and like they can't believe they aren't scoring (someone needs to remind them that shots are required before you can score). They need a spark. It seems like none of them are having fun out there one bit.