Every once in awhile the best team has to lose and they have to lose big. It’s the nature of sports. Tonight was that night.
The game started in true entertaining fashion with the National Anthem and O Canada sung opera style. The anthems were so horrible, fans and players alike could not contain their laughter.
Quote of the night by my 4 year old: “Mom. She is singing it wrong.”
I haven’t found the full anthem from the Root Sports feed yet, but once I do I will post it. This video does not even begin to show James Neal absolutely losing it. Even Sidney Crosby was chuckling. Erik Karlsson was laughing so hard he was convulsing. Complete insanity.
The Pens started off strong with 2 goals from Matt Cooke. I’m starting to think that 2 goals in a game should just be referred to as a Cooke Trick. Sidney Crosby assisted on one of Cooke’s goals. Gorgeous spinning pass. Cooke is one goal away from his first 20 goal season. Sid also finally scored his first goal of his second come back. In only 14 games, Sid has 3 goals and 20 assists. That’s pretty remarkable.
The problem with tonight’s game wasn’t that the Pens couldn’t score more than 4 goals. The problem was that despite that many goals being scored, defensively the Pens were not there and neither was the goal tending. The Pens made a lot of sloppy turn overs, left Brad Thiessen drowning alone and made a lot of poor passes. Thiessen wasn’t exactly owning the crease himself.
Regardless of the fact that Thiess is a rookie, he is playing in the NHL right now and he is not NHL ready. While Johnson has had some problems this season (I wrote about Beej here), he has resumed practice and hopefully will be back in the cage soon. Johnny was solid for us last season and whatever was ailing him this season we can only hope he has worked out. We need Johnson to be ready for the playoffs. Thiessen is not ready for them.
He has posted 3 wins, which is great. However he posted wins against mediocre teams and still allowed 12 goals in his last two starts. The Pens have been scoring like crazy lately, which helped him in the Winnipeg game. He also had a bit more support in those games.
I am NOT blaming Thiess for the loss. The Pens certainly lost as a team tonight, but he still must be held accountable for some of the goals allowed. Two goals were scored on the breakaway and those are opportunities that cannot be missed to make a save. Breakaways happen. They will continue to happen. You have to be quick.
Just because he is a rookie, it does not excuse him from the mistakes that were solely his in this game. As I stated, this was a team loss therefore all are accountable.
Deryk Engelland was +3 tonight though. Fantastic season for him all around. And Eric Tangradi proved he was alive with a trip to the penalty box.
Shake it off. Pens play again tomorrow at home against the Devils. Marc Andre Fleury is expected to be between the pipes.
The Rangers won tonight. The Flyers clinched their playoff birth.
8 games left. Here we go!!!