Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lightning 2, Penguins 1

So what happened?
A bad first period got between the Pens and two points.

The first goal by the Lightning was during a scrum around the net. Mike Rupp appeared to trip over PFC Downie and fell into the crease, getting in Flower's way and preventing him from making a save.

The second goal was on the Zebras - Lecavalier clearly held Letang... he basically had Kris horse-collared... allowing St. Louis to take the loose puck and score immediately. No call. Quite the joke in my mind, but credit St. Louis for being opportunistic.

After the first period, the Pens were able to play their game. They limited the chances for the Bolts and were able to generate sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

Unfortunately, Rollie the Goalie was up to the challenge for the second and third. The Pens had several great scoring chances, but weren't able to cash in enough to tie the game.

Does anyone else think we'll all be calling them the Dolts if the Pens play Tampa in the first round? I can already feel myself getting aggravated with half of them...

Who scored?
Rupp (7)

The Good?
  • Flower was solid, especially after the first period.
  • Great team effort after the first period.
  • I haven't seen the Pens crash the net like they did in the third period in a long time. That is really encouraging heading into the playoffs. Let's hope they can find a way to keep doing that.
  • Roloson was excellent. He'll be a pain if the Pens face the Bolts in the first round.
The Bad?
  • Third period penalties. Especially Kovalev's penalty with just over four minutes left. You can't take your team out of the game like that.
  • Tampa's gimmicky defensive system (the 1-3-1) was very porous when pressured. I think that may come back to bite them in the playoffs.
  • Mike Comrie is not noticeable, and that's not good for him. He needs to be contributing offensively, or you may as well play Aaron Asham (or Tangradi if he's ready). Hopefully Comrie is just getting his sea legs back and will start rounding into shape - the Pens could use any kind of scoring touch right now. Heck, they'd probably take Michel Ouellet back right about now.
The Ugly?
  • Yeah, it's a dead horse (it may be a zombie by now), but the power play was just sad. The Pens have a home game coming up against Jersey (the last one of the year). How about everyone cheer for the PP like they cheered for Flower earlier in the year to help turn his season around? It couldn't hurt...
Any Surprises?
  • PFC Downie was back to his usual nonsense after several quiet, somewhat solid, performances. It was surprising and disappointing. He could be a good hockey player if he'd drop the stupid stuff.
What's their record now? Any important move in the standings?
The Pens are now 45-25-8. They've picked a really bad time for a two game losing streak. The Lightning are within three points and have a game in hand.

Who's next?
Further south into Florida as the Pens play the Panthers on Saturday night. I'd say this is a must win if the Pens are serious about home ice in Round One.

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