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Welcome to the Playoffs, Mr. Stamkos:  Penguins Take 1-0 Series Lead

Tenacious forecheck? - Check.  Solid defense? - Check.  Stellar goaltending? - Check.

That, combined with an 18 second burst with two goals resulted in a 3-0 Penguins victory over Tampa Bay in Game One of their opening round playoff series.

Other notes:

- Safe to say Marc-Andre Fleury saved the Penguins’ collective bacon several times.  The save on Vinny Lecavalier’s between-the-legs attempt was fantastic.  Not to mention a half dozen others that weren’t chopped liver either.

- Give Tampa credit, they controlled play in the first period and had several good scoring opportunities in the crease.  Who knows how that game turns out if one of those squeezes through, such as it did for the Caps in the closing minutes of regulation in their game.

- Overall, I thought the playoff crowd, frankly, were merely OK from my couch vantage point.  There were a handful of times that they were definitely rocking the new barn, no doubt.  But there were also big pockets of time that they were quite quiet.  Perhaps it was because the Lightning aren’t a hated rival as compared to Philly or Washington or the Rangers.  Anyway, that’s the way it appeared to me.

- The decision by Penguins’ management not to hand out the white T-shirts for their “whiteaht” (and recommend they buy them) resulted in a “meh” showing.  It looked pretty cool before gametime, but it quickly became apparent that the whiteout was more specifically white sprinkled with blank and blue and yellow.  Here’s hoping the Penguins change their policy for future home games:  Either hand out the white T-shirts, or don’t do it at all.

- It’s only one game, but Alex Kovalev and Aaron Asham could be the kind of players that thrive on the postseason.  Sure, Kovy got kind of fortunate after he got back up after the non-call for tripping, then being wide open for the pass from James Neal for the opening goal.  As far as Asham goes, his combination of physicality and an underrated set of hands seem to mesh well with the playoffs.  We’ll just have to see if that continues.

- Speaking on non-calls, Pens obviously got away with two clear high-sticking penalties on Zbynek Michalek, the first resulting in root canal work for Marty St. Louis last night.  Methinks you should expect some early Tampa powerplays Friday night.  That’s just how it goes, folks.

- Have to say I was surprised to see that Tampa actually out-hit the Penguins, 44-35.  In addition, they out-blocked the Penguins, 22-13.

One down, three to go.

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The lightning fans will downplay that hit, but that was a really great way to start the game for the pens.  Hopefully the penguins continue the hitting in game 2 like they did in game 1.  This is a series that most likely will go to 7 games.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 04/14/11 at 11:17 AM ET


Speaking on non-calls, Pens obviously got away with two clear high-sticking penalties on Zbynek Michalek, the first resulting in root canal work for Marty St. Louis last night.  Methinks you should expect some early Tampa powerplays Friday night.  That’s just how it goes, folks.

Oops i also wanted to comment on this.  Z should have been penalized on the Downie high stick, but the St Louis high stick (if you want to call it high) i would disagree with.  Marty was on the damn ice, his face was litterally 5 inces from the ice when he got hit.  I know the rules, but i thought it was a good non-call. 

There was missed calls all night.  Stall (who never goes down) was tripped twice with no calls, and the kovy trip that ended up good for us in the end should also have been a tripping call.

Anyways, the penguins have been the most penalized team all year, it was nice to see them actually come out with more pp’s and penalties for once.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 04/14/11 at 11:23 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Yeah I have No Idea what you call Lowsticking ? & Downey I thought ran into Z’s Shoulder Pads but I could be wrong

Neal was a Beast Last Night for all the Neal haters ! should have been 2nd or 3rd Star, No argument with MAF being 1st star & the reason the Bolts led in hits is the Pens had the Puck for an ungodly amount of time the Last 40 minutes of the game

Posted by Evilpens on 04/14/11 at 11:50 AM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

One thing worth mentioning is Michalek’s presence on the powerplay.  He’s really simplifying things as he seems to have the shoot first mentality.  His shots may not always hit the target but they’re not wrapping around the boards and out of the zone either.  He created a few rebound chances last night, notably the one where Staal hit the outside of the post.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 04/14/11 at 01:51 PM ET


Good points on Neal and Michalek on the powerplay.

If you’d like to give Michalek a penalty on St. Louis (I think the non-call was correct), it would be slashing. I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on whether it was a “high-stick” or not.

Posted by NathanBC on 04/14/11 at 02:17 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Tony, are you doing any posts today in advance of game three?

Glenn Healy mentioned on HNIC Hot Stove that Crosby was working with a new trainer not affiliated with the organization, some dude who has worked with Sharapova and Woods?  Curious to hear if you knew anything about that.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 04/18/11 at 04:15 PM ET

Tony's avatar

No.  I just got back from a college recruiting visit for my son, so I’m catching up with stuff, like work….

Didn’t hear about that other trainer, I was kinda out of the loop, but thanks…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 04/18/11 at 04:17 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Ah good deal, welcome back!

I haven’t read anything to substantiate what Healy said on Saturday, so I have no way of knowing if it is even true.  The mere fact that a new person came into the fold raised my eyebrow enough to wonder what in the heck that meant for Sid’s prospects of returning to the ice this week, next, or whenever.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 04/18/11 at 05:21 PM ET

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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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