PENGUINS PROJECTED LINES
Update: Danny Sabourin will start tonight, giving MAF a rest and Paul Biznasty will sub in for Matt Cooke on Ziggy's line. On the B-town side: According to the Boston Herald Blog, PJ Axelson is out, and Tim Thomas is the likely starting goalie.
Both teams sit at 2-1-1 but Beantown and their version of Lurch (Chara) are going to by psyched to be playing the Pens in their home opener. Lurch and company have two sharp scoring lines, so there's going to have to be some hefty support from the FPL (Flower Protection League, for the newbies) and the 3rd and 4th lines to help squash the B's. PJ Axelson may or may not play tonight. By a strange coincidence I have a sister named PJ, and she can't play hockey at all. Don't know if that means anything.
Back in the homeland, The Tower of Flower Power looks at the stats about as often as Bob Smizik has an original thought: "I don't pay attention to them too much," Fleury said a few weeks ago. "I know when I'm playing good. I know when I'm not so good. The stats, it's not that they lie, but sometimes you can't tell that from them." Flower, who has seen the most ice time of any goalie in the league so far (371:43) seems to have a good handle on why he's getting so much time in the crease: "I want to play a lot," Fleury said. "You only play a lot if you are playing good. Before, when I haven't played good, I haven't played. So that's the number I look at, the one that says how much I play." There doesn't seem to be much doubt how the other Pens think about the amount of time MAF spends in front of the twine. "He's been our best player so far," center Jordan Staal said Friday, a day before Fleury stopped 26 shots to wrap a four-game homestand in which he allowed nine goals on 136 shots. "He looks so confident out there. He's made, probably, two or three saves every game to keep us in it."
Defenseman Brooks Orpik said recently that Fleury looks "a lot like he did in the playoffs."
"Maybe better," defenseman Rob Scuderi added. Even HCMT has positive things to say about Flower, which wasn't always the case last season: "He's just kept playing the same way he did when he came back from the injury last year," Therrien said. "He's the guy we have a lot of confidence in."
Other Stuff: Sidney Crosby's 100th goal and Evgeni Malkin's 200th point were both made with the same puck, so they're going to saw it in half. Time for Dana Heinze to get the DeWalt out and get to work.
Mentioning the unmentionables: I know a lot has been made since February about 'Shero's big trade', but the guy seldom mentioned (except to mention how infrequently he's mentioned) is Pascal Dupuis. I've liked everything this guy has done since he got here. He works hard at both ends, shows up in the right spot, kills penalties, gives great support for whatever line he's on, and he called Potash 'Danny boy' in the intermission interview during the Toronto game. (No, I can't find that vid either. Damn FSN and their non-multimedia ways!) Shelly Anderson at PPG, seems to think along similar lines. Shelly also had a live-chat about the Pens today, and posted the transcript.
Other, other stuff: For those of us watching the games on FSN I'm declaring an unofficial Potash watch, to see who is the first Penguin (other than that one in the FSN promos) who kisses Darling Dan on the face this year. The Prize? The look on his face when it happens is just hilarious.