Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Fleury's Wall Holds, Kings As Thieves

Not long after getting the gears for being a team that has been guilty of giving up leads in these playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins play back-to-back nights, where they don't give up a single goal. Yes, it was another shutout for Marc-Andre Fleury, as he stopped all 35 New York shots, helping his team to a 2-0 win on Monday night.

The Penguins were limited to only 15 shots on goal through the whole game, but they capitalized on two breakaways in the game, as Sidney Crosby scored his 1st of the playoffs, early in the 2nd period and Jussi Jokinen picked up a loose puck after coming out of the penalty box, walked in on Henrik Lundqvist and snapped a forehand beauty, blocker side to brace the lead.

That was about it for that game, as the Penguins, despite giving up 35 shots, played a fairly solid defensive game and they now own home-ice advantage again in this series.

Fleury came away with 4 points for the shutout and Crosby scoring the winner was the only other player to register multiple points in this game.  This was one of those classic NHL playoff games, where the scoring is limited, as the games mean more down the line.

New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was a healthy scratch on Monday night for Game Three.  Moore, taken seven times in Box 23 on the sheet, has not been an offensive force in these playoffs and offense is exactly what the Rangers need at this point.  In nine games played, Moore has failed to register a point.

In the late game, it was Game Two of the California Freeway Series, as the Anaheim Ducks were looking to split the series before heading to Los Angeles for Game Three, but the Kings definitely had other ideas.

The Los Angeles Kings are running with some kind of momentum, wouldn't you say?  Storming back from being down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks and then stealing Game One against the Ducks, they may now be the team to beat in these playoffs, as they are running white hot.  34 seconds into Game Two, Marian Gaborik opened the scoring for the Kings and their roll continued, setting the tone for the second tilt.

The Ducks were able to answer with a power play goal, which took a favourable bounce for them, but only a couple minutes after, the Kings retook the lead with a rocket from the point by Alec Martinez and never looked back.  An empty-netter with just under a minute to go finished the game off at 3-1 for the Kings and Los Angeles will now go home with a 2-0 series lead.

Now that we're in the second round of the playoffs, maybe giving up leads won't be the flavour of the week.  Maybe.

This was another game where featured players came at a premium, as Jonathan Quick made 36 saves for his 2 points from the win and Martinez was credited with the winner in the end, picking up 2 points.

Game Three of this series will not go until Thursday night, as the two teams will now get an extra night off in between.

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