Gameday #22 Recap: @ Montreal Canadiens, Pens Win, can you count to 13?





This wasn’t a good win, but it was a win of a good team. Well, it was sort of a win of a good team, what it really was was a win earned by a few good players who rose to the occassion over the opponent. The Pens scored 7 goals but only 4 guys contributed in that way. The Pens gave up 6 goals but only 8 players ended up with a negative plus/minus. And while this kind of game won’t work in the playoffs, the Pens rose to the occasion and beat a very good team. What follows is a brief synopsis of the guys who won this for the ‘Guins.


Simon Despres: unreal stat brought to light by Josh Your yesterday: the Pens are now 12-4 with Despres in the lineup, that makes them 2-4 when he isn’t playing, that’s no longer a coincidence, that’s a result. Despres played well, he netted 3 hits and the primary assist on Sutter’s OT winner. Further he was a plus 2 for the evening. It can be really daunting for a French Canadian player to play their first game in Montreal, but Despres wasn’t daunted, he excelled.

Mark Eaton: looks just like he did the last time he wore the black and Vegas gold, not flashy but just steady as they come. Logged nearly 20 minutes, a lot of which came on the PK. One thing that really impressed us was his size: he looked bigger than we remember him, but that’s okay. Two more things to note:

  • If Paul-Mart is going to miss some games (he is skating today, but not in pads) the Pens need to play Eaton with Brooksie. They need that solid, shutdown unit, and yesterday showed that Letang, for all his skill, is not shutdown.
  • You already get the feel that no matter how much he plays (or doesn’t play) during the regular season Eaton could be a game changer in the playoffs, like how he was in the ’09 Cup run.

Chris Kunitz: before the season started would you have believed that just short of the halfway point Chris Kunitz would be the third leading scorer in the league? You wouldn’t have believed he could have been the 3rd leading scorer on the team. But this is real life, and Kunitz is on an unreal pace: nearly 1.25 points per game. Applied to a normal 82-game schedule, the Kun would be on pace for 41 goals and 100 points. Holy cow.

And its not only that, he’s doing all the little things that have made him so important to the Pens over his whole career: winning puck battles, playing without the puck, and leading in the locker room. What a human.


Sidney Crosby: nearly silently Sid is averaging more than 1.5 points per game. He netted three more last night to earn a 2 point advantage over Steven Stamkos for the league wide race. He’s done all this without any one game where he’s single-handedly carried the team, and that’s good.

Brandon Sutter: we would definitely contend that Sutter officially became a Penguin after netting the game-tying goal against the Flyers 10-days ago. Unfortunately the Pens lost that game and his efforts often get lost. Can’t say the same about last night, his GWG in OT was so slick. We won’t talk about it in depth now, but Sutter has easily been the Pens most dominant player in recent games. Really hard not to like him.


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