The day after the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs by the Canadiens, I was disappointed and upset. Over the next few days, my mood improved as I started to put together some reasons as to why the Pens lost. I was accepting the fact that it just wasn’t in the cards for the Penguins this year.
After watching the Flyers completely destroy the Canadiens, my mood has soured again. We knew that the Penguins had a better team than the Canadiens. The Flyers showed just how weak an eighth seed is. Laviolette got his team to do the things that were necessary to beat the Canadiens. The things that Bylsma either didn’t tell or couldn’t get his Penguin players to do were:
- Shut down Camellari.
- Crash the net.
- Pressure and hit the Canadiens defense.
- Pinch down the wall.
The Pens watched Camellari have success against the Capitals. The Canadiens had little other offense. They were the worst five-on-five team in the league. The Flyers watched Camellari have success against the Capitals and Pens. They knew if they neutralized him, the Canadiens would not score many goals. The Flyers also knew that other than Gill, the Canadiens defense could not handle bodies in the crease. By overloading that area, Halak was forced to stay deep in the net. He was not very effective there. Watching Aaron Asham score a goal from a place where the Pens seldom went was very disheartening.
The Flyers also knew that by having their defensemen pinch down along the wall against the smaller Canadien forwards that they could force the push into the center of the ice and create turnovers that would lead to scoring opportunities. None of this was rocket science — just basic hockey game planning that the Flyers used to their advantage and the Penguins didn’t. The Flyers took advantage of the opportunity to play and beat the team with the lowest point total in the playoffs. If the Pens were watching, I hope they learned something. That’s the view from my living room.
Note — We will see how good the Flyers are now against the Blackhawks. I don’t think that they are that good — I will be surprised if the finals go to six games.
Note — Trade Malkin, Fire Bylsma, Fleury stinks. Popular sentiments around the Burgh right now. Have we forgotten 2009 already?
Note — As pictures start to surface of the Consol Energy Center, I am really looking forward to my new seats and my new views from 207!!