Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Opening Lapse

Some of you may be wondering why is it that the Pens don't have playoff beards yet. The logical answer involves a complex explanation about the time scale on facial hair, but perhaps the more appropriate answer is that some of them did not yet know that the playoffs had begun. Though the Pens only lost 5-4 Wednesday night, it looked much worse throughout the course of the game. After a quick hot start that got them 3 quick shots on goal and a powerplay goal from Evgeni Malkin, the Pens fell into a slump that they just could not break for the rest of the game. Ottawa then scored a strange looking goal on a rebound that perfectly bounced to Peter Regin to tie the game. The Sens would strike again with enforcer and rare scorer Chris Neil scoring after a faceoff that left most of the Pens off balance. Though both of those goals were not everyday occurances, the Senators would score an even stranger one in the second. Less than 2 minutes in, the Senators just simply tried to dump the puck into the boards and Fleury went out to do a routine retrieval of the puck behind the net. The puck had other plans, though, and it ricocheted perfectly off the boards right to the stick of Chris Kelly for the practically empty net goal. The Pens did show one of their few signs of life shortly afterwards when Evgeni Malkin scored his second powerplay goal of the game, but that momentum was neutralized when Erik Karlsson scored less than 3 minutes later. (above) Perhaps the highlight of the game for the Pens came when Craig Adams scored his long awaited goal after being held scoreless for the entire regular season. Jarkko Ruutu put the game away midway through the third, though Alex Goligoski did get one back for Pittsburgh. To sum it up, it was an extremely poor showing for the Pens and one that it is imperative that they correct and put behind them. Marc-Andre Fleury was a bit off, as he was out of position for the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Senators goals. Brian Elliott on the other side for Ottawa also looked beatable, but saw only 21 shots all game. This number is extremely low for a team like the Penguins, especially during the playoffs. If they want to be sucessful against Elliott, they need to wear him down with a more constant flow of shots on goal. Coach Dan Bylsma was visably unhappy throughout and after the game, and hopefully that will translate into the team being more prepared on Friday. This is not a cause to panic. There is still much opportunity for Pittsburgh if they can come out and play so poorly and still only lose by 1 point. They just have to register more shots. Game 2 of the series is slated for Friday night at Mellon Arena in an extremely important game for both teams to take control of the series.

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