Thursday, December 2, 2010

Game 27: Pens 3, Thrashers 2

Sid's 1st Natural Hat Trick leads Pens to victory!

Penguins- 3
-Sidney Crosby (Kunitz, Engelland) 1-7:32
-Sidney Crosby (Asham) 2-4:24
-Sidney Crosby (Orpik, Letang) 2-10:18
W- Fleury (20-22)

Thrashers- 2
-Bryan Little (Stewart, Oduya) 1-6:21
-Nik Antropov (Bergfors) 2-18:34
L- Pavelec (25-28)

As hard to believe as it may sound, there are actually a few achievements in the world of hockey that Sidney Crosby has not yet attained. He can now cross one more off the list. Sid recorded his first career natural hat trick (for those who don't know a natural hat trick is 3 consecutive unanswered goals) to lead his Pens to 3-2 victory over the pesky Atlanta Thrashers.

After Bryan Little put the Thrashers on the board with a powerplay (1st on the Pens in 32 attempts) goal, it was time for Sid to get down to business. Sid initally had difficulty controlling the cross-ice pass from Chris Kunitz, but stuck with it and chipped it right over Pavelec once he gained control. It didn't look pretty, but it got the job done to tie it up at 1 into intermission. 4:24 seconds into the 2nd, the Pens actually made a mistake changing late, but somehow Asham was able to feed the puck out to Crosby, who had absolutely nobody between him and Pavelec. Needless to say, he buried it for goal #2. Yet Sid was still saving the best for last. To complete his natural hattie, he reached around for a Brooks Orpik pass deflected it with the backhand in midair. It may only seem like a mere deflection, but you should all see the replay because words can't do it justice. Midway through the 2nd and already nobody had their hats on. But that doesn't mean the Thrashers were willing to simply step aside to the Crosby show.

Atlanta, who had been putting on a good run of their own, pulled back within 1 near the end of the period off a Nik Antropov goal. It wouldn't be enough, but kudos to them anyway for keeping it a close game. Aside from the Antropov goal, Fleury looked pretty good and got himself a W despite his stats not being spectacular.

So...the Pens extended their win streak to 8. The Thrashers' win streak was snapped, as was the Penguins' perfect penalty killing streak (which is now at 1). Sid's point streak is at 14 games, and he has recorded a hat trick in each of his last 2 games at Consol Energy Center.

Game Changing Play
Sid's 2nd goal (the breakaway) was certainly a gamebreaker.


Offense: B+ Sid and the 3rd line carried the team in this department. The rest were average.

Defense: A- They were making tons of plays to deny Atlanta's red-hot scoring units opportunities, along with minimal mistakes.

Fleury: B Good enough to win. That's all that really matters.

Powerplay: ? 1 1/2 chances only.

Penalty Kill: B+ The streak was finally broken, but they did redeem themselves to a point in their 2nd kill.

3 Big Points:

-Shoutout to Max Talbot for a potentially game-saving and very painful block in the final seconds of the game. Dustin Byfuglien has one of the hardest shots in the NHL, so it takes guts to get down and block one at point-blank range.

-3rd line is really starting to gel now. The combo of Conner-Letestu-Kennedy has made up for their small size with a lot of spark and plenty of solid checking.

-Michalek-Martin pairing was money tonight. Michalek especially was quite good, and made a few big-time blocks in the 2nd and 3rd.

My 3 Stars:

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Chris Conner
3. Maxime Talbot

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