Assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of the Pens’ 1-0 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings.
1. I thought our stick-to-it was really good. It was a physical, rough game. Having played last night and the back-to-back, we competed and played as physical and as competitive as they were. I thought that was really good. We stepped up. A little bit of frustration in the third period when we were running around, but for the most part the bench was under control. At the same time we were emotional, trying to get the win.
2. Fleury for sure. He made some huge saves again. That’s what you need. Those back-to-backs are tough. You need your goaltender to make some big saves. He came through.
3. The game winner. Great read by Paul Martin in the high slot to lean down on the guy and put him under some pressure that he wasn’t anticipating. Hornqvist was able to bury the winner.
Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box.
1. Goaltending Duel
The contest between the Pens and Kings may have been a bill of star-studded scorers, but it was the two netminders that stole the show. Marc-Andre Fleury was phenomenal, as he’s been all year. He was forced to make a lot of lateral saves, and his uncanny agility and athleticism was really on display. At the other end, Jonathan Quick was also sharp when he had to be. He didn’t see much rubber, but there were quality chances that he turned aside. Fleury and Quick are the two most athletic and agile goaltenders in the NHL and they put their talents on display.
The Pens were held to only 18 shots on goal in the game. They went through long droughts without getting rubber on net. It wasn’t for lack of trying. They had 13 shots blocked while 12 hit the post or missed. Despite the low number of shots, they did record several quality scoring opportunities, and converted the most important shot of the game when Patric Hornqvist buried the winner.
The Kings are a physical, grinding team. They like to beat up their opponents as much as they like to beat them. The Pens matched their physicality nearly hit-for-hit (37-36). Pittsburgh upped its battle level and hitting. But what’s more impressive isn’t their hit totals. Hitting isn’t the strongest aspect of the Pens’ game. Their ability to fight through the hits and keep their legs moving is what really stood out for Pittsburgh. They were able to battle through the Kings’ physicality and stick to their real strengths of speed, puck possession, and skill.