Game Two Loss a Microcosm of What Ails the Penguins – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Game Two Loss a Microcosm of What Ails the Penguins

There’s an old saying—idle hands are the devil’s workshop. It also applies to the Penguins when they play with a lead.

pp0455Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of our Pens (and the coaching staff) when they’re up by a goal or two? Saturday night’s galling Game 2 loss to Columbus in double overtime was a prime example. Early in the second period the Pens were up 3-1 and working on a power-play. They had the game in their collective hip pocket, right?

Wrong. With Evgeni Malkin inexplicably manning the point, the black and gold began yielding shorthanded chances as if they were a paymaster passing out checks on the first of the month. The sloppiness didn’t cease until they leaked for a game-turning shorthanded goal by Matt Calvert.

It was all downhill from there. After Columbus tied the game with six minutes remaining on a power-play goal by Jack Johnson, it was a matter of time before the Blue Jackets prevailed. Especially the way they used their superior size (51 hits) to grind the smaller Penguins down.

The game-ending sequence was especially telling. Early in the second overtime Malkin knifed into the Columbus zone with speed, only to peel away from the net without shooting the puck.

Moments later the Blue Jackets gained possession and went straight for the jugular. Calvert spun off a check by Kris Letang and fed Brandon Dubinsky behind the Penguins’ cage. The big winger slipped the puck through Rob Scuderi’s sliding block attempt to teammate Cam Atkinson. Marc-Andre Fleury made a terrific stop on Atkinson from point-blank range but couldn’t control the rebound. With Scuderi hopelessly out of position and Letang and Lee Stempniak literally frozen in place, the ubiquitous Calvert avoided the stick check of Jussi Jokinen and fired home the game winner.

With the exception of Jokinen, who was bowled over behind the net by the much larger Dubinsky, no one attempted to take the body. The Pens either stood around like they were waiting to catch a bus, or they waved at the puck with their sticks. No one made a physical play.

That’s because these Penguins are built for speed and little else. They’re a puck possession team that isn’t big or strong enough to possess the puck.

The lone bright spot was Fleury. Amid the sea of ineptitude which masquerades as team defense he’s been cool, focused and fundamentally sound. However, no goalie could stand up to the virtual tidal wave of chances being allowed on a nightly basis.

The Pens had a golden opportunity to go into Columbus with a 2-0 lead. They blew it. With a long series sure to favor the younger, stronger, and hungrier Blue Jackets, the outlook suddenly doesn’t look too rosy.

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  1. April 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    No not everyone but hopefully bylsma for sure maybe shero

  2. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    April 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I hope that comment was intended to be sarcastic

  3. Bryan's Gravatar Bryan
    April 21, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The best thing that could happen to this team is to loose the next three straight. Then they can take out the trash. Shero, Blysma, Letang, Geno, Scuderri, and Fleury all gotta go or it will be the same story year after year.

  4. Justin's Gravatar Justin
    April 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    There is no accountability with this team, we need a coach that will challenge these players and hold them accountable for what they do wrong, especially the veterans they get off way to easy.
    It’s hard watching this team with so much potential fall apart year after year and it’s the same stuff over and over and over again. It’s one thing to go down fighting every year but it’s another when it’s stupid, lazy, selfish hockey that dooms you.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 21, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I agree, Justin.

      I thought we had the personnel to win Cups in each of the past two seasons. For the Pens to fall so far short—especially in 2012—was ultra-disappointing. And it’s extremely frustrating to see them make the same mistakes over and over and over again.

      While I don’t feel this year’s team is a legit Cup contender (too many holes) you still want to see them accomplish everything they can. But after watching them fall apart during the second half of Game 2 … I don’t know if they’ll get out of the first round.

      It would be nice to see Crosby or Malkin score a goal once in a while.

  5. pen's 4ever's Gravatar pen's 4ever
    April 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree, MAF was awesome, the rest of the team sucked, they have played like this for a while ( as most Pen’s fans know).
    The D-men are not BIG enough to handle other forwards in front, the forwards spend too much time passing. ( gotta make it look good )
    Dan’s system doesn’t work in the playoffs, you have to play harder and hit, playwith fire, want it more then the other team… that’s how the Jackets will win this series,
    BY-BYE- Dan and hopefully Shero

    • Canaris's Gravatar Canaris
      April 20, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, but I think the Pens will tiptoe past the Jackets. After that, who knows. The Bruins sucked in the first round barely escaping Toronto. These are all significant problems that should have been addressed during the season. Once they become habit it is to late to change the habit in one game.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        April 21, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Hey Canaris,

        I hope you’re right about the Penguins getting past Columbus. But usually when you give a game away in the playoffs it comes back to haunt you.

        I’m guessing the Blue Jackets will be really pumped up for Game 3. We’ll see how the Pens respond.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 21, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Hey Pen’s 4ever,

      I agree. I don’t think you can win in the playoffs anymore with a pure puck-possession style–at least not the way the Penguins play it. The game has changed since we won the Cup in ’09. I think it favors teams that strike a balance between offensive and defensive play.

      Bylsma and his staff made adjustments during the year to encourage better defensive play. I just don’t know if the players are executing the modifications properly.

      I’m not quite ready to shovel dirt over the Pens just yet. But it’s not looking real encouraging.


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