Paul Martin was great last night. Seeing him discourage Ovechkin at times was a thing of beauty.
The Caps power play was quite scary and moved the puck really well early on. It was apparent why it was so hot lately and why they had risen to 3rd in the league in pp%. I feared the worst when they had a 4 min PP, but we figured it out and gave them barely anything. I haven't heard the CEC sound that loud on TV in quite some time. I was even saying to myself "this crowd better be on their feet after this kill!". Sure enough there they were, standing and applauding. Seeing the Pens take off with speed and score immediately after the kill was such a dagger.
This team is really figuring it out. The defensive play has improved immensely, although they still have some boneheaded breakdowns, but they're not nearly where they were before. They're starting to cycle and play their style. The grinding, the hitting, the forechecking, it's all coming together.
If there were any downfalls to last night, it's once again our PP barely being able the gain the zone, and the lack of movement and options on our PP. Point to their high standing all you want, I'm still not convinced by it. We score a lot of broken play goals and you can't depend on that to be the way you score PP goals. We need to be a lot more scary and dominant on the PP with the personnel we have.
According to Rossi Shero is going after a top 4 and a top 6 at the deadline. I tinkered with the thought that we should be looking at getting someone that could win draws for us, especially after Vitale, Adams, and Jeffrey went a combined 4 for 20 last night.....however we're actually 6th in the league in team faceoff %. We can thank Sid solely for that! Him and Vitale are the only centers that are over 50%, and Vitale doesn't even play nightly, or take close to the amount of draws that Sid does.
We can't forget about Fleury either. He's back in that zone again. We can only hope that it continues, because as we all know, he's one of the streakiest starting goaltenders in the NHL. I also thought Despres played another great game. There were times that he got caught, yet he has the speed to recover and make up for the chances he takes. This kid should should be in the lineup every night.
Great win, great streak.