Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Penguins need to get back to playing Penguins hockey

The Flyers executed their gameplan to a “T” on Sunday afternoon against the Penguins.  They took advantage of their frenzied crowd, hit everything that moved, and eventually coasted to a 6-3 win.

But what they did best was to sucker the Penguins into playing like the Flyers.  That is, get involved in post-whistle scrums, face washes and take undisciplined, unnecessary penalties.

To be clear, however, I am NOT including the crushing hit that Chris Kunitz laid on Kimmo Timonen early in the game.  That was the perfect hit and the perfect time in the game, with the Pens getting down two goals very early.  This despite claims from the Philadelphia media that Kunitz seemingly hit Timonen with a 2x4.

Surely, the ultimate authorities for legal hockey hitting are the Philadelphia media.  Puhleeze.

All of us applauded IHCDB when he cut the Penguins loose from the FHCMT trapping regime.  By doing that he took advantage of their excellent speed and aggressiveness, and after the trade deadline, utilized the rugged forechecking of newcomers like Kunitz.

But what they’ve also done is practice discipline by not retaliating, That discipline went right out the window yesterday.  When you’ve got a guy like Kris Letang (who I believe is being targeted much like Timonen, by the way) taking both roughing and fighting penalties, that to me is being undisciplined.

In retrospect, the Penguins got away from just about every aspect of their own gameplan.  Their powerplay, even in victory, remains putrid.  But it’s the defense and goaltending that could use a good slap in the face to wake up.  Getting back to their sound defensive ways, as well as Fleury reverting back to his solid work between the pipes, should bode well for their changes in Philly in Game Four.

It’s pretty clear what the Pens need to do on Tuesday night;

- First and foremost, as I said prior to Game Three, survive the Flyers’ opening salvo.  Of course, they failed miserably on that Sunday, even though they came back to tie the game.
- You know the Flyers will feed off the energy of the crowd again.  Get away from the scrums.  Get away from the goading.  Let the Flyers take the stupid penalties, which they love to do so much.
- What I wouldn’t give to see some movement on the Penguins’ powerplay WITHOUT the puck.  Geezus, someone tell Mike Yeo to watch some tape of other teams.
- It’s pretty amazing that Evgeni Malkin leads the league in playoff scoring, ‘cause he’s getting absolutely no help.  Petr Sykora needs to provide some contribution to this team, and soon.
- The Pens got away from their forecheck on Sunday.  They need to reestablish that, thereby keeping the puck away from the Flyer’s scoring lines.

It should be yet another classic battle Tuesday night, here’s hoping that the Penguins play the game their way, instead of stooping to the Flyers’.

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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