Topic: h Penguins spot in the post-season is assur
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins spot in the post-season is assured. The Phoenix Coyotes are living much more dangerously. For long stretches during Phoenixs 3-2 win on Tuesday night, it certainly looked like the other way around. Pouncing on a series of sloppy mistakes by the suddenly erratic Penguins, the Coyotes picked up two vital points in the chase for the eighth-seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Thomas Greiss stopped 23 shots -- including all 15 he faced over the final two periods -- and received plenty of help as Phoenix rebounded a night after losing starting goaltender Mike Smith indefinitely with a right leg injury in a loss to the New York Rangers on Monday. David Moss, Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes, who never trailed while dropping the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins to just 6-6-2 since the Olympic break. "It gives confidence that if you can win in Pittsburgh you can win anywhere," Phoenix forward Shane Doan said. Jussi Jokinen and Taylor Pyatt scored for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves, but the Penguins failed to clinch a playoff berth and looked lifeless at times without centre Evgeni Malkin, who is out 2-3 weeks after hurting his foot in a loss to St. Louis on Sunday. While hes expected by the end of the regular season, his absence is just the latest setback in a season in which Pittsburgh has lost over 400 man games due to injuries. It didnt seem to bother the Penguins as they built a seemingly insurmountable division lead. Coach Dan Bylsma isnt sure now is the time to start throwing around blame. "I dont think injuries had anything to do with today or what you saw on the ice," he said. More disconcerting for Pittsburgh is its lack of focus. The Penguins held a brief players only meeting after the game and cancelled a scheduled practice on Wednesday. "I dont think theres anyone feeling sorry for us, but that still doesnt allow us not to have the right type of effort and work ethic," centre Sidney Crosby said. Phoenixs play had a little bit to do with it. If the Coyotes were rattled by the loss of their franchise goaltender, it didnt exactly show. Greiss has been effective when spelling Smith this season, though he wasnt sharp while allowing the Rangers to steal two points Monday by rallying for an overtime victory after he replaced Smith with 7:32 left in regulation and the Coyotes holding a one-goal lead. No matter. Despite a short turnaround in the midst of a three-game road trip that could shape the final weeks of the regular season, Greiss kept the Penguins in check. "I thought we did a good job of being close to one another," Moss said. "It seemed like if there was a breakdown, there was support. If they had a chance, (Greiss) made a huge save." Whenever Pittsburgh made a mistake deep in its own zone, the Coyotes were there to take advantage. Moss picked up his seventh goal of the year when great forechecking by Martin Hanzal and Brandon McMillan produced a turnover that ended with Moss all alone in front of the Penguins net. Jokinens 18th goal of the season tied it 11:51 into the period, kind of. His wrist shot caromed out of the back of the net so quickly the goal light never came on. Play continued for nearly 3 minutes before a stoppage in play provided time for the goal to be awarded on replay. Vermette put Phoenix back in front with a power-play goal, poking a rebound between Fleurys legs. Pyatt knotted it at 2 with just 4 seconds left in the first by deflecting in Rob Scuderis shot from the point. The back-and-forth play, however, stopped over the final 40 minutes as the Coyotes choked off the Penguins while continuing to effectively counterpunch. Boedker put Phoenix in front to stay 13:18 into the second period by grabbing a rebound in front of the Pittsburgh net and roofing it over Fleurys glove as a penalty to Jokinen expired. NOTES: Injured Penguins defenceman Paul Martin did not skate on Tuesday morning due to an illness. Martin, who has not played since injuring his hand while playing for Team USA in the Winter Olympics, will have an X-ray on Sunday to determine his progress. ... The Coyotes recalled G Mark Visentin from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League to serve as the backup until Smiths status is determined. ... The Penguins host Los Angeles on Thursday while Phoenix wraps up its road trip Thursday in New Jersey. Nike Shoes China Wholesale .com) - The 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes continue a four-game homestand at Value City Arena on Wednesday night when they face off against the High Point Panthers in a non-conference matchup. Cheap Nike Shoes China Free Shipping . The two teams will play through the completion of the game starting at 5pm ct on Wednesday. The regularly scheduled Wednesday night matchup will follow that and will now be seven innings. http://www.cheapnikeshoes.net/. However, Therrien added that Galchenyuks status for next Wednesdays game against the Detroit Red Wings is questionable. Galchenyuk has been out since Jan. 6 with a broken right hand. Discount Nike Shoes China . The Leafs were back on the ice Wednesday following an 10-day break. It apparently wasnt long enough, as Team Canadas 2-1 win over Latvia didnt conclude before the Leafs began practice. "I was thinking we might get a little delay, but it was nice to get out there," said Tyler Bozak of watching Wednesdays game. Cheap Discount Nike Shoes . He will play 10th-seeded Feliciano Lopez in Sundays final, after the Spanish left-hander defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7), 6-4.PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain could offer new recruit David Luiz something Chelsea couldnt: the near certainty of being a league winner next season. Because, more than ever, PSG is reducing Frances Ligue 1 to a no-contest. While the English Premier League and Spains La Liga were consistently nail-biting, decided only in the last round of matches, PSG made Ligue 1 feel over before Christmas. Its total of 89 points was a record. It topped the league from the 10th round to the last in winning its second consecutive title. Already, next season is shaping up as the same again. As the biggest fish in the small pond of French domestic football, PSG is going to have to succeed in Europe to really prove itself. Even limited by UEFAs Financial Fair Play sanctions, PSGs cash-rich Qatari owners can still comfortably outspend every Ligue 1 team with the exception, perhaps, of Monaco, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Luiz is set to become PSGs fifth signing of €40 million or more. The versatile, attack-minded defender will only strengthen what already this season was again the leagues stingiest defence, conceding just 23 goals. Playing alongside Brazil teammate Thiago Silva, and because theyll be coming off the World Cup together, Luiz should slot smoothly into PSGs backline. The question is not whether PSGs domestic dominance can last, but rather if it can break Lyons record of seven straight league titles from 2002-2008. For the third consecutive season, PSG again had the most prolific attack, scoring 84 goals— 26 of them from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, again the leagues top scorer. "Ligue 1 is continuing to grow with Monaco, Lyon, Marseille. Were raising the level," Ibrahimovic said. Really? That can be argued both ways. While PSGs acquisition of global stars like Ibrahimovic has burnished the Ligue 1 brand, the ease with which he scores, the gulf in class between him and players from other clubs, reflects an unbalanced, top-heavy league with PSG out of reach for French opponents.dddddddddddd Coach Laurent Blancs team won only two of its six matches against top-four teams. That highlighted both the fragility of PSG under pressure and its opponents erratic performances during the season. Often unwilling to take risks away from home, conservatively playing for draws, PSGs main rivals facilitated its route to the title. PSGs winning margin over runner-up Monaco was nine points, even more comfortable than its eight-point cushion over Marseille the previous season. In 2012-13, third-place Lyon finished 16 points behind PSG. This time, Lille was 18 points adrift in third. Monaco must now rebuild having sacked coach Claudio Ranieri. While his replacement will need time to adapt, Blanc will be in his second season at PSG. That stability also increases its prospects for a hat-trick of league titles. Rybolovlevs wealth and Monacos tax breaks attracted Colombia striker Radamel Falcao and countryman James Rodriguez, one of the best young wingers in Europe. But its squad remains light compared to PSGs strength in depth built over three years of Qatari ownership. Lyon, funding a new stadium, relies on talent from its youth academy and faces another difficult summer holding onto rising home-grown stars like forward Alexandre Lacazette and France midfielder Clement Grenier. Weak competition isnt necessarily good for PSG. The teams sense of security lulled Blancs players into bad habits at times, especially toward the end of the season when they went off the boil. That can be fatal against Europes top teams. Against Chelsea, PSG failed to protect a two-goal advantage in the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Next season, PSGs stars must respond better when theyre pushed around in Europe or risk being written off as playground bullies in an uncompetitive domestic league. ' ' '