Monday, April 14, 2008

Believe It

You could talk about many things after tonight's installment of "Wow, The Senators Totally Aren't Any Good this Year". Hossa finally got on the board. Gonchar played quite well, I thought. Sam wants Sydor to start over Ryan Whitney.

But the most intriguing plot line by far is the play of Marc-Andre Fleury. No one should even try to act like they saw this coming. When Ty Conklin was bringing his "amazing puck handling ability!" and "savvy veteran presence!" to the team, the collective light bulb went off in Pittsburghers' heads: here it comes, another mind-boggling run by an also-ran backup goalie. The PensBlog made t-shirts and held a trial over it. I think I invoked comparisons to Christ on several occasions in online print.

And then just as if it were nothing more than a change in the weather, Fleury comes back and here we are in the midst of a first round performance that has to make the Penguins the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. Not only was there the shutout in Game 1, but tonight one could argue that he single-handedly diffused the enthusiastic onslaught put forth by the Senators in their home building. This had all the makings of a Pens-come-out-flat game. You saw it in Boston last night with the Habs. When a team is down 2-0, there is a type of desperation present for them that can't possibly be matched by the favorite.

Unless you have an equalizer, which was what Fleury was tonight. You'll hear a lot of "if you told me in October..." jargon spouted off my radio talkheads over the next few days, but the truth is this: if you want to win championships, you need role players ready and willing to fill holes and you need star players to carry the load in crunch time. Such has been the case with the Pens' goaltending to this point.


Anonymous said...

Sydor = huge beast

Mark my words, at some point this postseason he will do something that makes him worth every penny of $2.5 million

Anonymous said...

Jordan Staal is playing sneaky good hockey as well.

Sam said...

Its tough to complain when you only give up one goal, but then again that one goal was a result of Whitney. He just doesn't look comfortable in his own end.

Staal has played well. Some may point to Malkin coming alive as the biggest change from last year, but I also remember our third and fourth lines disappearing. They've hammered the Sens.