In spite of Sidney Crosby scoring his first two goals against Anaheim (in his 5th game against the Ducks), the Penguins couldn’t bounce back after allowing the Ducks (Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, & Saku Koivu) to score the first three goals of the game. The Penguins didn’t do much in the first period and in spite of their intensity improving the second period, they couldn’t get the puck past Hiller until the Ducks had scored three goals against Fleury.
The Ducks sold out the Honda Center for only the second time this season (the first time was the home opener against the Vancouver Canucks) and the arena was pretty full. I guessed a sellout would be announced. There were many empty seats (even in the upper concourse, but the arena was a lot more full than many sellouts I’ve attended at the Honda Center. The Ducks fans outnumbered the Penguins fans in their building, but there were certainly a lot of fans rooting for Pittsburgh in Anaheim last night. “Let’s GO Pens” filled the air quite a few times tonight and was only equaled by the Ducks fans once.
The Penguins have so much fire power that it’s hard to believe they’ve won less than 50% of their games at this point (they’re 6-7-1 in their first 14 games). In fact, with last night’s win the Ducks and Pens have the same record so far this season.
Sidney Crosby said that “both teams want to play physical” and that it was “the nature of the game and probably brought on by both teams.” He also explained that their effort has to be consistent, which is a need I’m sure the Penguins fans have all noticed this season. They’d like to see their team play more consistently and give themselves a chance to win every game. The Penguins will be facing the Coyotes in Phoenix tonight. Their fans are all hoping they’ll come out stronger and play better so they can beat the Coyotes. Phoenix has been struggling a bit this season, too, but the Penguins need to go into the game strong and not like they’re playing an inferior team. The Coyotes are a strong team and they’ll take advantage of the Pens if they don’t start playing with all their energy immediately.
The best thing about the Pens/Coyotes game in Phoenix tonight is that both teams played last night. Too often, the team playing the second game in a back to back game situation is facing a team that got to rest the day before the game. In tonight’s game, both teams played in other cities (the Coyotes in Dallas and Pittsburgh in Anaheim) last night, which is even more fair than if the Coyotes had played in Phoenix last night. Both teams should be about equally tired from playing the night before, making the game a much more even match-up. I’d like to see the NHL try to match up teams in the second game of back to back games more often, though I know arena scheduling is difficult around the entire league.