Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Missing in Action

It is often a tradition at Mellon Arena for fans to wait outside by the parking lot and wait for the team to arrive. Unfortunately, many are still waiting. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night 2-0 in a game where their offense was non-existant and their defense flawed as well. The team looked as if they were uninterested at times, and this lack of motivation and effort combined with a strong game from the playoff-desperate Lightning was only a recipe for disaster for the Pens. Mike Smith faced only 27 shots from the Pens, and many of those were not realistic scoring chances. On the other hand, Fleury saw only 17 shots, but many of them were on breakaways and powerplays, including an extremely impressive wrist shot from young phenom Steven Stamkos late in the first to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. "NHL Pest" Steve Downie would score the second for Tampa very early in the second, and that would be all the scoring for the rest of the game. The Pens looked the polar opposite from their strong weekend performance, where they were crisp and had a jump in their step. Not only was there a lack of scoring, but this was a rather chippy game that included a scary hit from behind on Ruslan Fedotanko and a long fight between Bill Guerin and Lightning enforcer Zenon Konopka. (yes, his name IS Zenon) It was a frustrating performance for the Pens, who were again without Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. Dan Bylsma, who was visably irritated throughout the game, called a players only meeting after the game perhaps to address the issues that so frequently plagued the Pens tonight. The important thing for Pittsburgh is that they find a way to put this one behind them and move on to the rest of their schedule. They have only five games remaining, the next being Saturday afternoon at home against the 9th place Atlanta Thrashers.

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