Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Senators 6, Penguins 3

The Senators came out with an early flurry. The Pens had no answer and couldn't counter-punch until they were down 3-0. The Pens had a critical goal disallowed early in the third period. The Sens added on after that and ran the score to 6-1. The Pens added two goals in garbage time to make the game seem closer than it was.

So who came to play tonight? Here are my thoughts:
  • Max Talbot - You noticed every time he was on the ice. He was a step faster than we're used to seeing (and that's saying something) and he was finishing off every check. You could see why he was playoff MVP twice in juniors.
  • Sidney Crosby - He was blanketed and frustrated for most of the game. That being said, I never saw anyone get a clean hit on him. He also didn't back down from anyone (when Whitney was high-sticked, Sid was the first one to jump on the Senators) and he put in a late goal. I think that'll carry over for him into game 2. Sid was also 19-10 on faceoffs - that's huge.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury - He was hung out to dry by his teammates several times, but he single-handedly kept the game close through the first two periods. One man cannot hold back the flood, and he eventually faltered, giving way to Thibault later in the third. He needs some help from his team.

Who was invisible?
  • Mark Recchi - Mark had the quietest two point night I've ever seen. Other than one good shift in the second, I really didn't notice him on the ice.
  • Evgeni Malkin - If he wasn't busy getting knocked on his butt, Geno was busy losing faceoffs. He won only TWO of EIGHTEEN faceoffs! That has to be the worst performance I've heard of in recent memory.
  • The Team - as a whole, these guys weren't ready for what the Senators were bringing. They couldn't stand up to the onslaught, and couldn't seem to answer the challenge physically until later in the game. Hopefully that sets a tone for game #2.

If things don't change, and change in a big way, this is going to be a quick series. The Pens were outshot 29-12 through the first two periods, and that's despite having some serious time on the power play.

I'm already hating the Senators. Are you? They took every opportunity to apply borderline (ie, cheap) hits, basically trying to bully the Penguins. I'm hoping the Pens get to tell them where to stick it before the series is over. I'd like to say more, but this is an all-ages blog. Blech.

Next up - in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon at 3:00. The Pens start slow in early games - they can't afford that on Saturday or they'll be run out of the building.


Will said...

The calls against the Pens at the end of the 1st and 2nd periods were absolute jokes. But you have to give Ottawa credit, they came out and pushed them around. It made me realize how most of these young guys were just not ready for the pace and physicality of playoff hockey. I don't think they'll be so wide eyed on Sat. I'm sure they'll learn a lot from this game and be ready to go.

Tough loss, but it was nice just to see them in the playoff's again.

Staff said...

2 for 18 in faceoffs.
where has malkin been for the past month?

KevinP said...

At least the kids got that first game out of the way. I don't think they'll come out for game two like they did last night.

Pat said...

I think (hope) they'll have learned something from last night and be ready for the speed and physicality

Teej said...

Disgusting. Not much else to say. And yes, I've also noticed Malkin falling off the radar. I'm no trainer, but he really needs some upper-body strength if he expects to excel at this level... he's 6'3 but 192 lbs leaves a lot more muscle to be desired...

Otherwise, this is only one game, I still have faith - Fleury will also bounce back as well.

john said...

The division winners getting the top three seeds is kind of wrong. It's not so much that the division winners shouldn't be rewarded, but that the #6 seed is being rewarded too, by playing a worse team.

#6 Rangers (94 pts) get #3 Atlanta (97 pts), while
#4 Ottawa (105 pts) and #5 Pittsburgh (105 pts) get each other

Same thing out west, but the point differences are less pronounced. At least Ottawa got home ice, but Pittsburgh would have been better off dropping a bunch of games to get the #6 seed.

(Okay, this might be sour grapes, but still...)

Anonymous said...

Well, it has not taken long for Murray to fill the gap that Hitchcock left as my most hated coach. . .