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Preview: Sharks @ Penguins 2/11/09

February 10, 2009

Tomorrow night the San Jose Sharks, the point leader in the Western conference and number two overall in the NHL, roll into Mellon Arena for a 7:30pm showdown with the Pens.

Their last meeting was October 28 in San Jose. The Pens lost 2-1 with Ruslan Fedotenko scoring Pittsburgh’s only goal.

San Jose plays a similar game to Detroit– a defensive style centered around puck possession and control. The Sharks are also very speedy and take take shots from just about everywhere.

What does this mean for the Penguins?

  • Capitalize on scoring opportunities. This was part of the Pens’ problem in Sunday’s game against Detroit. The opportunities will be rare and Pittsburgh can’t afford to miss any of them. Don’t be surprised to see a return of the Crosby-Malkin line.
  • Defense. The blueliners need to be sharp. This is mostly directed at you, Mr. Whitney. Marc-Andre Fleury has to play better than his showing against Detroit. Rebound control, s’il vous plaĆ®t.
  • Minimize turnovers and sloppy passes. San Jose will capitalize off of these, don’t give them any chances.

Is this game a must-win? It’s obvious that at his juncture every game is a must-win. However, it’s not the end of the world if the Pens lose to San Jose. It’s better to put up a good fight and lose to one of the top teams in the NHL than it is to be humiliated by a struggling team like Toronto.

Also note that San Jose lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in OT this past Saturday. Just sayin’.

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