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The Confluence

Expect a crisper group of Penguins on Sunday for Game Three

Even in defeat, you have to give a tip of the hat for the Flyers’ effort in Game Two.  They put themselves in a position to gain a huge split in Pittsburgh, and up until the 16:23 mark of the third period, sure as hell looked like that was going to come to fruition.

In many ways, they performed like the Penguins did in Game One, controlling the play and making the Penguins play on their heels.  Didn’t result in a win, mind you, but it very well could (some say, should) have.

However, while I objectively give much credit to the Flyers’ performance, it’s also fair to note that they were aided by an unusually sloppy Penguins team (in the IHCDB era, at least) who seemed to be playing in a bit of a funk all night long.

It just seemed that the Pens were a very clumsy group last night.  Passes were either behind their teammate or fumbling around at their feet.  The loose pucks that were being gathered in by the Pens in Game One were hauled in by the Flyers in Game Two.

In addition, the Pens got away, just a bit, from their offensive tenacity blueprint.  Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby passed up significant scoring opportunities in order to make the extra pass (Crosby) or make a drop pass in the Flyers’ zone (Malkin).

As Flyers’ coach John Stevens indicated recently, the turnover/giveaway stat is a subjective one, but still, the Pens were only awarded one in Game One, by Sergei Gonchar much less.  As a result of the Pens’ clumsy play, that number increased to 10 in Game Two.

You can bet if this schmuck can notice it, surely IHCDB and his coaches will as well.

Now the Penguins head into the friendly confines of Wachovia Center for Game Three on Sunday afternoon, and their 20,000 Boy Scouts in attendance.  They’ll shower Crosby with much love, for sure.

The primary objective for the Pens, for the first period at least, is to withstand the Flyers’ opening salvo.  Flyers’ fans will make that place rock, and it will be up to the Pens to hunker down and hold serve.  Now that the Pens have escaped Game Two with a win, it now goes to Game Three, where a Penguins’ win basically puts a fork in the Flyers.

I expect to see the Penguins come out Sunday and play a typical road game, in as much that you can in a playoff atmosphere.  Forget the showboat plays and play fundamental hockey.  Pepper Marty Biron left and right with shots.  Match the Flyers in what’s sure to be exceptionally chippy play.  Continue to abstain from the retaliations and stupid penalties that have sunk the Flyers to date.  Don’t rely on Marc-Andre Fleury to save their collective hides.

Do that, and the Penguins could very well hold a commanding lead come Sunday night.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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