By: Gemma Fagan (@gcfagan86)
So when exactly did the Pens and Panthers become foes, where did all this bad blood come from? Answer… who cares?! Saturday night’s game at CONSOL saw a combined total of 76 penalty minutes be taken between the two the teams, such a narrative would usually be reserved for Pennsylvanian state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers but I’m not complaining and neither are the Panthers ownership as Monday night’s rematch is flagged to be the biggest crowd attendance this season so far at the BB&T Centre.
Saturdays 3-1 win over the Florida Panther’s only added to the stellar record against the Atlantic division team, the Pens have won 21 out of the last 29 encounters against the Florida team and will definitely be hoping to make that 22 out of 30 in their home-and-home series against the Panthers on Monday night.
The Pens Power Play unit continues to falter after being so dominate earlier in the season it is starting to become a sore point for the team and more salt was added to the wounds on Saturday when their 5 PP opportunities went left wanting, which means they now have only score twice on the PP in their past 34 chances.
But with the negatives come the positive and despite a few hiccups from time to time Fleury continues to go from strength to strength this season. The Franchise goalie managed to stop 45 shots on goal on Saturday night which earned him his 5th win in 6 games and he is now ranked second overall in the league only 2 points behind Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.
Fleury also has an exemplary record against the Panthers, the cheeky French Canadian has only allowed one goal in eight of his past 10 games against the Florida team but unfortunately the same can’t be said for the man standing in front on the Panther net Roberto Luongo he has been on the losing ending 6 of the last 8 times he has been up against the skating Penguin.
That’s not the only silver-lining because despite all the misfortune with injury and illness that has plagued the Pens so far this season they somehow still manage to keep things rolling and this kind of adversity can only beneficial for the team in the long run.