Three years ago the Penguins were ousted from the playoffs in the first round by the Senators 4-1. Two years ago in the playoffs the Penguins swept the Senators out of the playoffs 4-0 in a series that was the biggest turning point for the young Penguins and signaled that the Penguins were ready to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Tonight Pittsburgh starts a series against Ottawa that will once again show if they’ve got it or they don’t.
It feels like just yesterday the Penguins were in the playoffs and it also seems like it took forever for the playoffs to get here. The Penguins have 16 games they need to win for all the glory and I would appreciate it if they would do it without giving me a heart attack like they almost did last year.
The Penguin’s fans have a few questions they want answered and the main one is are the Pens ready to compete at the level they did last year? Everyone is wondering if Fleury is the same goaltender he was, if the defense without Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi is going to be able to cut it and if the team has enough energy in them after back to back runs to do it a third time.
Things the Penguins need to do to be successful this year in the playoffs.
- Mark Andre Fleury needs to cover his angles. Fleury has been out of position since the Olympic break, and it shows in his numbers.
- Kris Letang needs some target practice. If you think Letang’s team worst shooting percentage is bad, keep in mind the shooting percentage only keeps track of his shots that are on net. Letang also needs pass better, he is not setting up his team mates for one timers on the powerplay.
- Goligoski needs to become the player he was 2 years ago when he led the WBS baby Penguins to the Championship by leading the team in points even though he’s a defenseman.
- The Powerplay needs to keep moving and shooting. It’s looking better, but it’s not there yet.
- Crosby needs to play every game like he does when the Penguins are down a goal at the end of a game & Malkin needs to stay injury free.
- The rest of the team needs to “flick the switch” and become that gritty shot blocking forechecking team they’ve been in the playoffs the last two years.
- They need to hoist the Cup at the Igloo for once!
Here is the guestimated Penguins lineup for tonight’s game:
Kunitz & Cooke are last minute gametime decisions. Orpik will be playing.
The Penguins management is putting into place all the goodies they had last year. The giant screen will be outside the Igloo, hide your flask as once again alcohol is prohibited. Make sure to wear your white Pens jersey the first two games as they are calling for “whiteouts” and will be handing out t-shirts and the Pens version of the terrible towel to all fans with a ticket.
The Penguins should just give up now! WhatifSports.com ran a simulation 2000 times and has the Capitals winning the Cup over the Blackhawks in 6 games. You can view it here: “Pens Lose Second round“. It gives the Penguins not a 15% chance but a .15% chance of winning the Cup. Fear not though, they predicted last year that the Bruins would beat the Blackhawks in the Cup finals and only gave Pittsburgh a .7% chance of winning the Cup.
Even funnier… once they ran simulations with Detroit and Pittsburgh in the finals last year, they had Marian Hossa getting two goals in game seven and winning it for Detroit. I bet in 2000 simulations they didn’t once have Max Talbot getting two goals. You can’t simulate the Penguins determination.
STOP THE PRESSES! Don’t hang those skates up yet! Somebody at Leafs4life.com who most likely didn’t run even one simulation said “Pittsburgh wins another cup!” They have us matched up against Chicago in the finals and have Hossa losing in his third finals in a row. Where there is one that believes maybe more will follow. I believe.
Ea Sports has a simulation that has the Pens losing to Chicago in the finals with “Hossa finally hoisting the Cup. “ Somehow the Blackhawks became heavy favorites to reach the finals.
The Ottawa Senators fans think they can “Flick a Switch” also and be playoff ready. A blog called “the 6th Sens“, you know like the Bruce Willis 6th Sense movie “I see Daigle People”, not as great a name as the “Dany Heatly is a Douche” Ottawa Senators blog, but I digress, they had this to say about the Igloo: “One thing about the Igloo (Mellon Arena): it is a dump. Jean-Claude Van Damme should have done everyone a favour and let the terrorists blow it up in the movie Sudden Death.” Read it here: “Flick a Switch”
After missing the cut in the last three Masters tournaments golfer Ernie Els dropped his regular caddie and used Mario Lemieux’s linemate ex-Penguin Dan Quinn over the weekend . This year he made the cut and finished in a tie for 18th. He shoots and scores!!!
Sidney Crosby ended up tied with Steven Stamkos for goals scored during the regular season because of Steven Stamkos empty net goal with 12 seconds left in Tampa Bay’s game against Florida. Check out Florida’s Steven Weiss throwing his stick illegally trying to stop Stamkos from getting the goal:
Click here to read the PenguinPoop writers non simulated prediction of how the Penguins vs Senators series will go: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators Playoff Predictions
Gametime is 7PM and can be seen in HD at the Igloo and also on FSN Pittsburgh. *CBC and Versus will have the game on though they’ll be blacked out in the Pittsburgh area.