Down 2: But We've Been Here Before

The Pens lose 3-1. The Pens lose 3-1.

I got it.

I'm gonna start this off the same way I did after two games during the Washington series.

For me, its not time to panic, but it is time to be concerned. The Pens are down 2 to the Wings for the second year in a row. And since we need 4 wins and they need 2, that's a concern. But again, "A playoff series doesn't begin until the home team loses a game." And we're on our way back to Pittsburgh.

The good news is, just like the two games against Washington we could just as easily be up 2-0. If we were simply outplayed I'd have more concern in my writing...but that's not the case.

The Pens made the right adjustments in this game from the last. For starters they won faceoffs, that's key. This lead to several unsuccessful chances, but chances nevertheless. Bylsma also showed some new-look lines out there which seemed to throw Detroit off a little. Malkin looked a little better out there showing some more emotion and aggression. In the first two periods Crosby seemed to continue his funk. Though that's not entirely his fault, Detroit is targeting him. But if you're Byslma then you can't give Babcock a chance to be proactive, rather reactive by putting Crosby out there more with some different lines (which, like I said, he did in the 3rd).

The major problem is we are simply not having any luck. In my opinion if Geurin would have 66'd that Crosby feed, the score would have been 2-1. If the Official would have called a penalty on Hossa like he should have, the score would have remained the same. And if Malkin sunk that Fedetenko pass off the post, the score would have been 3-1. Then if Fleury didn't freeze and let that Abdelkader goal hover by, same score. And if Crosby would have 66'd that one past Osgood where Zetterberg then lieth down, 4-1. Finally if Crosby slid it past Osgood the way Ozzy thought he did, 5-1. So there, that's the scenario of what could have been. Looks good to me. But sadly, that's not what happened. But it could have, that's positive.

So, where do the Pens go from here?

Well, they're headed back to the 'burgh with moderate to high momentum on their side. Sounds odd but its true for the reason I stated above. They played well enough to win these games, they just didn't. So with the crowd on their side and positive play in their corner, Tuesday doesn't look that bad.

A few things that need to happen are:

  1. Fleury needs to tighten up. At least 3 (maybe 4) goals for the Red Wings have come off of fluke plays. Sure we can blame the boards, but Fleury needs to take some responsibility and not allow anything easy to get through. Again, the Abdelkader goal cannot happen in the Stanley Cup Finals.
  2. Finish, Finish, Finish. Yes, the Pens were 3 posts away from winning this game and heading back to the 'burgh 1-1, but they are not. Much of the reason is because of not burying it when necessary. In my opinion Osgood has been mediocre, not good, not bad. Its just the Pens haven't been finishing their big chances the way they should.
  3. Intensity. I will say however the one thing that does aggravates me about the Pens that did so in last years finals as well was the level of intensity they can play, but wait until the last 4 minutes of a game. Detroit does this at all times which is why they are often successful.
I only have three adjustments because that's all I see is needed to win. Other than that the Pens look great. Down 0-2 for me is not scary, only a concern. The only bad thing about these wins is that Detroit won them without their best player, who may be back on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, we shall move on. Yes, game 3 is a must win, but the Pens shall prevail on home ice. The gods of Mellon Arena shall be good to us. They will not take this lying down, the battle has just begun.


Will Eller said...

the other thing is we have to adjust to the refs not calling anything. Had we adjusted Scuds would have takled abdelkader he wouldn't have scored.

Anonymous said...

So you don't think maybe the fact that the game was slower, less skill oriented, and more about clutching and grabbing (on both teams, whether you choose to admit it or not) last night might have had something to do with back-to-back games?

Damian Romano said...

I guess back to backs may have had something to do with it, but these guys are world-class athletes, they can handle a back to back. We'll see how they do with a day to rest. I'm guessing Detroit will stick to their shesity game like normal.

Anonymous said...

"I'm guessing Detroit will stick to their shesity game like normal."

Here's something a lot of teams don't realize as their focus is a single series against the Wings. Anyone who watches the Wings in multiple series will realize this.

The Wings beat other teams at their own game. Against Columbus, who apparently decided they wanted to forecheck and try to play the Wings game, they got roasted.

Anaheim wanted to play a physical game. They thought they could wear the Wings down in the corners and play physical in the neutral zone. The Wings out-hit them.

Now it's Pittsburgh and the hitting isn't what it was in the Anaheim series for the Wings. Pittsburgh plays a traditional top-heavy game where the scoring comes from only certain players. Well, the Wings have that covered too - their top stars are shutting down Crosby and Malkin, and everyone else is scoring.

The Wings are not only deep, they're flexible. They can beat other teams in so many ways, I find it hard to imagine anyone could beat them 4 out of 7 games.

Now Pittsburgh has the monumental task of beating the Wings in 4 out of 5 games. I can't see it happening.

Anonymous said...

I just read the rest of your post.

So to summarize: if the Penguins had scored more goals, and the Wings had scored fewer, the Penguins would have won.


I never thought of that!

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