Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Senators 5, Penguins 4

So what happened?
The Pens were facing a shaky goalie tonight and were unable to take advantage. In fact, for much of the first two periods, they were unable to do much of anything.

Clearly this team was not ready for what the Senators brought to the table. I'm not sure if the problem was mental on the part of the players, or the game plan on the part of the coaches, but they were unable to consistently break the trap. I'm leaning more towards the players, because the dump was there, and Elliot doesn't come out of the net much. Either the forwards were unable to get any speed to retrieve the puck, or they weren't able to get numbers in place after the first guy got in.

Fleury didn't play particularly well, and was especially poor on the Neil and Ruutu goals. On the Neil goal, he went down on the short side, and on the Ruutu goal, he was not able to keep the pads together coming from left to right.

The really disappointing part is that the Pens were a stupid bounce goal (Kelly's goal was off of a bounce off of a partition while Fleury was behind the net) from getting the game tied and going to OT.

Who scored?
Malkin (1,2), Adams (1), Goligoski (1)

Any surprises?
The really poor first period was a complete shock. How can what we saw on the ice be a surprise, and how could they not have been ready for it? No shots in 16 minutes will get you bounced from the playoffs pretty quickly.

Where do we go from here?
This is where HCDB proves his mettle as a coach. The Sens have thrown down the gauntlet and showed their hand. Bylsma now has to come up with a way for the Pens to counter the trap and get more shots on net. I think Elliot is going to struggle, especially during the games in Pittsburgh.

  • If you want to see a shining example of how to play a three-on-two, see the Regin goal when Spezza took the puck wide on the right and fired a shot (on net) for the right pad of Fleury. Flower kicked it out, right into the middle of the ice.
  • If you want to see how not to play a three-on-two, both Fedotenko and Adams fired shots from the exact same place (as Spezza) and both missed wide of Elliot, leading to a Senators breakout. Take something off of the shot if you have to - just get the thing on net! You're going against a shaky goalie - force him to make plays.
  • The Pens seemed to go wide on the far side of Elliot several times, which makes you wonder if they saw something in how he challenges. Adam's goal was a shot to the far side (though it was on the backhand).
  • The third line (Staal, Kennedy and Cooke) was a collective -6 on the night. That line has to do better.
  • On the plus side, the power play looks like it could be a difference maker right now.

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