Love'n Lovejoy, Fleury, Hornqvist and This and That by @ChicksDigHockey - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Love'n Lovejoy, Fleury, Hornqvist and This and That by @ChicksDigHockey


~In February of 2013, the Pens sent Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim for a 5th round pick in the 2014 draft….ouch. In 98 NHL games with the Penguins during parts of five seasons, he had four goals, 25 points and 63 penalty minutes along with a plus-20 rating. He also had two assists and four penalty minutes in nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He wasn’t much of a defenseman. Spent a lot of time in the press box.

GMJR’s explanation for acquiring Lovejoy this season was simply that he adds experience to the defense.
 
During his tenure with the Ducks, Lovejoy was paired with Cam Fowler and, as such, saw time against most of the best forwards in the league. Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau trusted Lovejoy when the game was on the line.

Many Pens fans couldn’t see the point in trading Despres for Benny but Lovejoy plays with a certain savvy to his game that he picked up during his time with Fowler . He learned to keep the crease clear, fronted players at the blue line and smartly applied physical pressure. He has become more fundamentally sound; he can skate, move the puck and join the play.
   
When interviewed after his return to Anaheim ice in a Penguin uniform, Lovejoy expressed satisfaction with how his first game went playing with Derrick Pouliot.
"The people in Pittsburgh knew my work ethic, my personality. They have watched the things I’ve done with the Ducks and appreciated them,” Lovejoy said. “I’m a completely different player than the last time I was a Penguin. The Penguins saw a need and felt my personality and my game and the fact I’d been there so long would be an easy fit to come back.”

 
It’s hard to explain but in his return to the Penguins, I’ve felt that Lovejoy, while only two years older,  has matured and skates with a purpose. He carries the puck with confidence and pairs well with Pouliot.

Duck’s GM Bob Murray described him as “a good soldier. ” 

For his part, Lovejoy is referring to his return as “Pittsburgh Penguins 2.0”. So far, I like Ben Lovejoy 2.0.
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~When all is said and done, the playoffs will tell the story but Marc-Andre Fleury is playing outstanding hockey. From a statistical perspective, he’s never been this good in a regular season before.
He shutout the Stanley Cup defending Kings out both times he faced them this season. In Pittsburgh on October 30th, even though the Kings out-shot the Pens 36-23, he held the net for a 3-0 victory. Then, Saturday night, the Pens rode his back to a 1-0 OT win. Between the two games, the Kings took 71 shots and failed to score on Fleury.
Not only does he lead the NHL with most shutouts (9), he reached the 30-win mark for the sixth straight season, excluding the lockout shortened campaign. At the age of 30, he’s already accumulated 318 career wins, which puts him one shy of Miikka Kiprusoff and 25th place on the all-time list.
The team has stumbled at times but Fleury has kept them in the race. Monday night he made a spectacular glove save on Hertl in the second that kept the Pens in it all the way to a long shootout. It just wasn't meant to be. Niemi  was a beast.
They walked away with 5 out of 8 possible points on this west coast swing. No shame on Fleury. He's easily the team MVP, no question. He deserves to be in the Veinza talks even though Price will likely win.
 
 
~I’ve grown to love Patric Hornqvist. There just is no quit to his game. He is willing to go to the net and doesn’t back down. 7 goals in 7 games until Monday night.
 
He explained his game-winning shot against the Kings from the low slot, off a turnover forced by Paul Martin by saying, “The puck just came to me, I shot it as fast as I could and I’m glad to see it went in,” (with that ever-present mischievous smile).
 
 It was so much more than that. He worked to make that play happen after taking advantage of Toffoli's fumble, fell down and got back up to score his 22nd goal to win the game.

 

~ Did you know the Pens hadn't won a game in San Jose since 10/97? They really should share statistics like that during the game.

2 comments:

  1. Incredible game last night. The Pens do look like they have more passion, tenacity and puck control with Lovejoy, Cole, Lappierre & Winnik in the lineup. Also glad that Comeau & Hornquist are back as well. Pleased with the contributions being made by Fleury, Malkin and Letang and can only hope that Sid's recent surge will continue to grow as we head down the stretch and into the playoffs. Am still disturbed by the stupid emotional / retaliatory penalties we seem to take on a regular basis... and am also scratching my head tying to figure out how MAF lost his groove in shootouts - (he used to be unstoppable). If last night is any indication of the level of play we can expect to see in the playoffs - then I can hardly wait. Bring it on! GO PENS!

    ReplyDelete
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