First Period: I missed most of the first period, but sat down to watch just in time to catch Evgeni Malkin stream down the right wing and snipe Jimmy Howard like the freak of nature he is. So that was nice. Seriously: it sparked the Wings to better second and third periods.
Jimmy: Very good. Not many goalies, maybe none, stop that Malkin shot. And he was very sharp later in the game when the Pens got dangerous around the net.
One negative note: he got bumped a couple times and rather than pull his St. Louis act, he pulled another one entirely. I’d rather he flip out on guys who bump him than go down like he’s been stunned by some heavy blow.
Conner: He’s doing a good job of making Patrick Eaves look a bit redundant. He’s got comparable speed, offensive sense and work ethic that Eaves offers on average, and is putting up competent PK time as well. I’m a big fan of Eaves, but Conner may be playing his way into a longer term spot, possibly at Patrick’s expense.
Our Russian Can Take You to School Too: Malkin looked good early on, but Datsyuk, this biased fan says, eclipsed him. He backhanded the puck through a smaller spot than Malkin forehanded it and made some Pens just look silly with his ability to seamlessly take the puck away. He also knocked the puck out of the air to set Franzen up with a spectacular display of hand-eye coordination.
I would take Pavel Datsyuk over Malkin any day of the week.
Scary moment in the second: FSD came back from commercial to show a replay of Datsyuk falling very awkwardly in a manner that twisted his knee and stretched his groin. Fortunately, he seemed none the worse for wear after briefly Â heading to the room. But it was a little worrying.
Franzen: Scored a goal and looked assertive with the puck. These are the nights where I like him.
Even Match Up: I wish realignment could have somehow included being put in the same division as Pittsburgh, because these are good, enjoyable games. There should be more of them.
Next: Nashville on Thursday. A good opportunity to put some further distance between the Preds and Wings. Jimmy better watch out for Jordin Tootoo.