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Perplexing Penguins hand home ice to Habs in Game Two loss

What a difference a game makes.

Less than 48 hours after a fairly dominating 6-3 win in Game One Friday night, the Penguins reverted to their cutesy past in Sunday’s matinee Game Two at the Igloo, and as a result dropped a 3-1 decision.

They were awarded 39 shots on goal, but easily could’ve had 50.  But they were also awarded nine giveaways, but probably could’ve been awarded at least fifteen.  Needless to say, it was a very frustrating game to watch.

Combine that with a strong bounce back performance from Jaroslav Halak, and all of a sudden instead of what looked to be a relatively easy series may now be a real barn-burner.

NHL.com in it’s recap used the term “heroics” in describing Halak’s performance.  Meh.  Don’t get me wrong, he was quite solid.  There were several flurries that could have easily resulted in goals, but Halak never had to make the spectacular saves that he had to make against the Capitals.

But for whatever reason, the Penguins seemed to be satisfied to pass up chances to get pucks on net with decent scoring opportunities in order to hold onto the puck and attempt to force the puck for a pretty one-timer or deflection.  The vast majority of the time that only resulted in turnovers.  The culprits were many, ranging from Bill Guerin to Sergei Gonchar to Kris Letang to Evgeni Malkin to Sidney Crosby.

Other notes:

- Reading some negative remarks on Marc-Andre Fleury.  While Fleury has certainly had his shaky games thus far in the playoffs, today was not one of them.  The first goal was due to poor defense by Brooks Orpik, the second a result of a fortunate bunt by Mike Cammalleri and the third simply a nice wrister to the top shelf again by Cammalleri.  If any of those were to be considered shaky, I would say perhaps the third one, but Fleury did not lose this game for the Penguins.

- Speaking of negative remarks, hearing it as well this afternoon is Evgeni Malkin.  While I don’t completely agree with everything that’s being said, I will concur that Malkin’s defense has not be up to his usual level for quite some time now.  He’s been doing “drive-by” defense, looking to stab the puck away from the opponent, and 99% of the time it’s not working, resulting in Malkin getting out of position.

- Alexei Ponikarovsky has been doing a decent job in the physical play department, but anytime he wants to chip in offensively, be our guest.

- I don’t give a rat’s ass whether you want to call Matt Cooke dirty or not, he’s playing some great hockey right now.  Cooke’s line, along with Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis were easily the best Penguins line today.  That alone should tell you something about the Pens’ performance today.

Anyway, it’s now to Montreal for Game Three, where it’s sure to be rocking.  I actually expect a much better performance now that the Penguins will be away from home the next two games.

-

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: montreal+canadiens, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Comments

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The Only way this series is a Barn Burner is if the Pens let it become one & that is what I am afraid of, This team Slept Walked again after getting a 1-0 lead & then woke up when it was tied & if the 3 blind Mice let the Canadiens Clutch & Grab it will be a series…................... Wait a minute then our Putrid PP would be on the ice, Maybe just let them continue to clutch & grab red face

Posted by Evilpens on 05/02/10 at 07:04 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Try putting six skaters on the ice again. The officials will conveniently not notice again.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/02/10 at 07:10 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Actually that was the Habs today, but appreciate the sentiment Winger….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/02/10 at 07:11 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

How do Pens fans justify Crosby’s petulant actions in today’s game, breaking his stick over Halak’s goalpost and then flinging the broken end down the ice?  How was that not an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty?  I thought he had apparently “grown up” and “stopped whining and acting childish”?  What a classy captain.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 05/02/10 at 07:33 PM ET

Tony's avatar

I don’t have a problem saying I didn’t like it, but for the most part I think it’s true that Sid hasn’t done those types of things the vast majority of the time….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/02/10 at 07:37 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

I thought he had apparently “grown up” and “stopped whining and acting childish”?  What a classy captain.

So he’s not allowed to be frustrated? He didn’t hurt anyone, so who cares. Just another typical Red Wings fan. No clue about the game.

Posted by cs6687 on 05/02/10 at 07:47 PM ET

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Can you imagine if the wings drafted Crosby. He would be one helluva different hockey player with Yzerman, Lidstrom, Draper, ect. mentoring this kid instead of Mario “sometimes you have to dive to get the call” Lemieux. No offense to Mario but he obviously didn’t teach crosby how to be classy.

Posted by Keyser S. on 05/02/10 at 08:10 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

I agree that there was a lot of stuff being let go today. 

I mean…come on.  The Pens not getting a chance on the PP until 19:54 in the first? 

I thought the refs were paid off and in their back pockets.  Can we get a refund?

But…how EP can say the the power play is “putrid” after going 4 for 4 on Friday and getting a lot of good looks today - and having two of the three chances come within seconds of one another doesn’t help with putting a rested #1 unit out there either - is just beyond dumb. 

But, whatever.  I have faith that they’ll come back strong in Montreal.  These guys seem to really step up when the pressure is on…I don’t expect that to change.

Go Pens.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 05/02/10 at 08:19 PM ET

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PP sucked anyways !! They Gave up a better chance than they had on all of their PP “attempts”

So lets Not start blaming the Refs OK !!

Posted by Evilpens on 05/02/10 at 08:33 PM ET

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it’s all on the pens.  when they play their game, they win.  when they don’t, they lose.  game one, they played their game and won.  game two they didn’t play their game and they made halak look good.  in a seven game series, i like them to win more than they lose, but they really shouldn’t be allowing this to go past five games.  they will, but they shouldn’t.

Posted by rico on 05/02/10 at 08:37 PM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

As always Tony you make me believe that there is intelligence even among Pens fans. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 05/02/10 at 08:48 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

...Yzerman, Lidstrom, Draper, ect. mentoring this kid instead of Mario “sometimes you have to dive to get the call” Lemieux.

Kris ‘I’m going to cry because he didn’t shake my hand’ Draper? Really? That loser?

Posted by cs6687 on 05/02/10 at 08:58 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Kris ‘I’m going to cry because he didn’t shake my hand’ Draper? Really? That loser?

Posted by cs6687 on 05/02/10 at 07:58 PM ET

Uh, the problem was Cindy not making the handshake line in the first place.  Draper simply pointed it out - and it is undebatable that it was a totally immature move.  Show me any other captain who has done it in the past.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 05/02/10 at 09:03 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

The Red Wings didn’t even time Sid to celebrate with his teammates. It was a loser comment by a joke of a player.

Posted by cs6687 on 05/02/10 at 09:05 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

The Red Wings didn’t even time Sid to celebrate with his teammates. It was a loser comment by a joke of a player.

Posted by cs6687 on 05/02/10 at 08:05 PM ET

Give him time to celebrate with his teammates?  Do you know how stupid of an excuse that is?  Again - show me another captain to ever do it.  Why didn’t any of them want to celebrate with their teammates and miss shaking the hand of the opposing team’s captain as a result?  Your argument is absurd.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 05/02/10 at 09:10 PM ET

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The PENS looked drunk.  Maybe they should lay off the hooch?

Posted by stoneman from vegas on 05/02/10 at 09:10 PM ET

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Hey stayouttamalibu, just a heads up, “undebatable” is not a word. Maybe you should join the Tea Party and quit making Wings fans looks stupid.

Posted by true wings fan on 05/02/10 at 09:35 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Actually that was the Habs today, but appreciate the sentiment Winger….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/02/10 at 06:11 PM ET

For 21 seconds?

Didn’t think so.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/02/10 at 10:06 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Oh yeah, it was at least that much… wink

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/02/10 at 10:07 PM ET

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But…how EP can say the the power play is “putrid” after going 4 for 4 on Friday and getting a lot of good looks today - and having two of the three chances come within seconds of one another doesn’t help with putting a rested #1 unit out there either - is just beyond dumb. 

Yep One game makes up for 2 seasons of Suckitude on the PP !!

They suck on the PP!! they had 3 chances & the Best chance was by Montreal

Lets quit blaming the Refs OK JC !! They weren’t that good!! Their Best Players were no shows & they were still in the game late into the 3rd pd.

Posted by Evilpens on 05/02/10 at 10:16 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Hey stayouttamalibu, just a heads up, “undebatable” is not a word. Maybe you should join the Tea Party and quit making Wings fans looks stupid.

Posted by true wings fan on 05/02/10 at 08:35 PM ET

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undebatable

What was that you were saying?

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 05/02/10 at 10:22 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 05/02/10 at 09:16 PM ET

That’s great.  Not one word about it when they go 4-4, but when the go 0-3 the night after they go 4-4 you call it putrid?  Come on.  You’re only happy when you have something to bitch about.  Yinzer much?  I’d be willing to be you’re a Steelers fan, too.

And by no means am I blaming the refs.  I was just pointing out a fact.  This team’s first PP opportunity came with 6 seconds left in the second period while they were controlling play throughout a lot of the game.  The refs let a lot of things go.  There was a lot of clutching and grabbing.  You even said so yourself. 

f the 3 blind Mice let the Canadiens Clutch & Grab it will be a series

Does that mean you’re blaming the refs, too?  Of course not.  There’s an excuse for everything with you.

Never did I say “the Pens lost today because of the refs”.  I don’t do that.  The Penguins didn’t play “their” game.  They passed up a lot of opportunities.  The Canadiens beat them.

They’ll come back on Tuesday ready to play with the pressure on in Montreal.  That’s what I have faith in.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 05/02/10 at 10:52 PM ET

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How can you argue that the PP hasn’t sucked for 2 seasons?? they Have a Game where they go 4-4 & you for get the 2 seasons of Suckitude?? the Succos had a 3 game win streak does that mean they’re a good team ?? no it means they had a little streak of winning baseball

I look at the long term !! This PP has SUCKED outloud for 2 seasons Plus the Playoffs!! There has been 2 different HC’s, different players on the PP, Different setups on the PP, Know what the 1 constant has Been ?? Yeo Ruining the PP

Posted by Evilpens on 05/02/10 at 11:04 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

How can you argue that the PP hasn’t sucked for 2 seasons??

I never said it didn’t.  Show me where I said that and I’ll eat my words.  I want to see the quote:

The Pittsburgh Penguins power play has not sucked for two seasons.

Posted by Flashtastick56

Let me give you a hint…you can’t do it, because it didn’t happen.

they Have a Game where they go 4-4 & you for get the 2 seasons of Suckitude??

I didn’t “for get” anything.  And, could you maybe create another clever word that uses “suck” in it?  Too cute.

I look at the long term !! This PP has SUCKED outloud for 2 seasons Plus the Playoffs!!

Out loud…as opposed to sucking in secrecy?  Dude.

This “putrid” PP is third in the playoffs right now.  31.4%.  Not too shabby.  It’s first among teams that are still in the playoffs.  Those are facts.

Last year’s playoffs the PP was 20.7% effective.  Not amazing by any means, but solid.  Again, facts.

Yeah, they haven’t been good.  They weren’t good for a lot of this year and last year.  But the power play improved towards the end of the season…and it’s performing pretty well now - so it looks to have carried over a bit.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 05/03/10 at 12:43 AM ET

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For 21 seconds?

Didn’t think so.

Nice to see you’d like to get your foot out of your mouth, but Habs had 6 on ice for a full shift, actually. Clearly a conspiracy.


How do Pens fans justify Crosby’s petulant actions in today’s game, breaking his stick over Halak’s goalpost and then flinging the broken end down the ice?

He’s a sore loser. That’s not exactly a secret. Inability to accept a loss isn’t exactly a bad trait to have in your captain.


Give him time to celebrate with his teammates?  Do you know how stupid of an excuse that is?  Again - show me another captain to ever do it.  Why didn’t any of them want to celebrate with their teammates and miss shaking the hand of the opposing team’s captain as a result?

Show me another Captain on a losing team who left the ice before everybody got to the handshake line. What a silly complaint.

If you want to criticize Crosby’s behavior in last years’ game seven, at least pick something legit, like the fact that he skated away from Babcock when the latter was trying to congratulate him (that was pretty rude). Or if you want to bash him just because, at least call him a nutpuncher.

Instead of, you know, slagging him for no good reason.

Posted by steve on 05/03/10 at 01:23 AM ET

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“But for whatever reason, the Penguins seemed to be satisfied to pass up chances to get pucks on net with decent scoring opportunities in order to hold onto the puck and attempt to force the puck for a pretty one-timer or deflection.”

In case you didn’t watch the Canadiens-Capitals series, the Capitals took several shots from all over the ice, and look where it got them.  The reason why they passed up supposed chances, is because the Canadiens do such an excellent job of getting in shooting lanes and blocking shots.  You have to be patient.  I specifically remember Keith Jones saying before game 1, that the Penguins would handle the Canadiens, unlike the Capitals, because they are smart enough to know that you can’t just shoot from anywhere.  So while there were times during the regular season when they were guilty of passing too much, this is not one of those times.  I’m with Paul on this one: “Credit to coach Martin for the system Montreal is playing and credit to the players for staying within that system.”  It is as simple as that.  It is now up to Bylsma to find a way of breaking their system.  For all we know, it could be as simple as “stay the course.”  Besides, it’s only one game.  Let us hold off from jumping off any bridges for now.

Posted by James from Elmsford, NY on 05/03/10 at 02:10 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Comments are more than welcome, but comments containing childish and immature nicknames for Crosby will be deleted….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/03/10 at 11:12 AM ET

Greg's avatar

Comments are more than welcome, but comments containing childish and immature nicknames for Crosby will be deleted….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/03/10 at 10:12 AM ET

Yes!

Posted by Greg on 05/03/10 at 12:45 PM ET

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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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