Thursday, May 6, 2010

5 Minute Break

A typical regulation NHL playoff game lasts 60 minutes. Well, the Pens showed up for 55. Unfortunately, that was not enough as that 5 minute lapse cost them a 2-1 lead and eventually led to a 3-2 Montreal victory. Within that 5 minute lapse, Maxim Lapierre not only scored a wrap around shot to tie the game (2:07), but Brian Gionta banked one off of defenseman Kris Letang to give them the lead at 3:40. This was especially bad as both Letang and Fleury lost sight of the puck and it simple trickled into an empty net off Letang's skate. Beyond this, the Pens played decently. The Canadiens' other goal was scored by Tom Pyatt 2 and 1/2 minutes into the game. Both of Pittsburgh's goals were scored in the first as well, the first being a breakaway goal from Maxime Talbot and the second being a powerplay shot from Chris Kunitz. The Pens once again outshot Montreal by a large margin (10 tonight), and it took another great performance by Jaroslav Halak to hold the Pens to 2. This was especially true in the last few minutes when he stopped Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway and withstood the Pens final barrage with the empty net extra attacker. Halak finished 33-35, while Fleury's numbers added up to 22-25. This was a must win game for Montreal, and now they evened the series at 2-2 with a split at Bell Centre. What is important for the Pens and their fans now is not to over-analyze the tendencies and the momentum of this series. My advice is just to take it for what it is, a 2-2 tie. The series is even, and either team can seize it if they so choose. The Pens certainly have the talent and the poise to win this series, but it will not be a push-over. If there is one thing that Montreal proved during the series with Washington it is that they are a resilient team and do not lay down easily. Pittsburgh must stay focused, and not get ahead of themselves. Game 5 should be the one and only thing on their mind. Perhaps the best thing for Pittsburgh is coming home to Mellon Arena for Game 5 and getting away from the harsh fans at Bell Centre. They were exceptionally harsh in this series by doing things like destroying a Crosby jersey outside the arena before Game 3 and pelting the ice with trash in disapproval of a referee call during Game 4. With all this above being said, I suppose I do not need to again stress the importance for Saturday's Game 5. See you Saturday and Let's Go Pens!

No comments: