Arena: Mellon Arena
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 17,132 (101.0% full)
Yes, we declared war here today at Pens Universe...and won this third Battle of Pittsburgh.
[PIC HT: RYAN L.]
Let me first start out by reviewing the adjustments I felt Bylsma needed to make for us to win.
ADJUSTMENT #1: First and foremost they need help on the draw. The Caps won 38 faceoffs to the Penguins 23, that needs to change. Crosby went 10-25 himself.
REVIEW: Anyone who watched this game saw Bylsma working with Crosby on the draw before the game. While Crosby did go 13-31 (not much better at 42%) the Pens did end up only being out drawn 8 times 37-29, so this is an improvement.
ADJUSTMENT #2: The were out hit tonight 27-20 which means they need to play more physical (other than Orpik).
REVIEW: This was the second biggest improvement the Pens made tonight. We were out hit 27-20 in game 2 only to then out hit the Caps 44-31 in game three. A more physical game came from everyone. And who had the most hits you say? Ruslan Fedetenko. That's right, with 8 hits he was a beast, and evened the game up 1-1 as well. Someone is looking to get resigned next year.
ADJUSTMENT #3: The power play was much better than in the past, 2 for 5. But you have to produce when you have a 5-3 opportunity, and someone other than Crosby needs to score.
REVIEW: The Pens didn't really make that much of an adjustment here. They did go 1-7 on a timely goal by Geno. Which leads me to...Adjustment #4
ADJUSTMENT #4: Geno needs to step up and create more chances for himself. He is most effective attacking the net. And he's just not doing that at the moment.
REVIEW: Malkin is the reason the Pens won this game, hands down. He played a game like I haven't seen a Penguin play in a while (cough cough Lemieux). You can see where I noted he needs to create more plays for himself and attack the net, well, that's exactly what happened. He had 9 shots on goal and finessed his way into about 4 or 5 solid scoring attempts. Bravo Geno!
Let's move on and breifly recap some of the better moments. Ovechkin's first period goal sucked the life out of the Pens for the first 10 minutes. I began to get a little worried until after the halfway point. That's when the Pens decided to show up.
Chance after chance the Pens created for themselves. I can honestly say after the first 10 of the game I didn't see an impressive play by any of the Caps. Chill Washington fans, I'll give you your due soon enough. But in reality the whole game was Pittsburgh. Ovie's goal was nothing but a fluke play and the virgin's goal was power play nonsense. Other than those two goals the game was all Penguins.
I have to say Varlomov is showing himself approved. I don't know if this kid is riding a high or if he's the next Brodeur, but either way he's playing big. The Pens should have scored at least 5-6 times if it weren't for his prowess. Give him his due. But like I said on twitter, Malkin to Varlomov: "I must break you"! And that's what happened. Geno scored a power play goal to bring the Pens up 2-1 only to be overshadowed by the virgin on the Caps.
Crosby played a hell of a game as well. Hall Gill stepped up. Byslma finally put a man on Ovechkin (its about time). Just about everyone played well. My hats off to the whole team for this effort.
And a special thanks to Kris Letang.
Potent Potables (thoughts throughout the game):
1. It’s the playoff guys and you’re down 2-0, play like it!
2. How many shots can Dupuis have deflected?
3. Nevermind number 1.
4. Fedytenny, thank you.
5. Geno, thanks for showing up.
6. This third period changes everything.
7. THANK YOU GENO.
8. OT makes me nervous, need you Mad Max.
And from fellow Pens Universe writer Will Ellers.