Let's get one thing out of the way, just in case it wasn't clear from the headline: Tampa sucks. They certainly have plenty of top end talent, but that team's whole strikes us as somehow less than the sum of its parts. The Bolts are a team that plays a trap game as soon as they get up by one goal. That would be a sound strategy if you were playing the 1995 Penguins, but it made no sense on Thursday night. If you're anything like us, then you were texting your friends late in the first period and throughout the second period talking about how the Pens were playing terribly and the playoffs were looking like a one-and-done scenario. And then you overheard the Tampa announcers (because you're watching on the Package) talk about how the Pens are totally outplaying Tampa and started the second period with a 9-0 advantage in shots. You probably did a double-take and came to the only conclusion that you possibly could. That's right. Tampa sucks.
|Tampa _ _ _ _ _|
- None of this is to say that the Pens will lose to Tampa. In fact, GTOG maintains that the Pens will be the favorite in the series and probably should win. Remember the takeaway from last night: Tampa sucks.
|Tampa _ _ _ _ _|
|Less Darius, please|
- Stamkos, upon whom we couldn't have possibly heaped more praise early in the season unless he had split the D and kicked Jon Casey in the nuts, was largely a non-factor last night. There's really only one Tampa player who scares us, and his name is Marty. But to avoid jinxing it and unleashing him on a 2-goal-per-game fury in Round 1, everybody say it with us, "Man, I'm terrified of Stamkos." Little Stevie did make one very good play last night, manhandling Brooks Orpik to free up a loose puck that Kris Letang didn't even pretend to fight for before Tampa stuffed home their first goal. The way Stamkos dislodged Orpik was very impressive and reinforces that you don't have to be big to hit people, you just have to be a great skater.
- Anyone else go to bed terrified of Dwayne Roloson? Oh wait, no one does.
- Zbynek Michalek is going to be a joy to watch in the postseason. He may block every single Tampa shot. What a signing.
- Eight-foot tall Victor Hedman wanted no part of Tyler Kennedy during a second period scrum. That was straight baby thighs, son. Vic, this is not a rec league. Wait until you're on Consol ice for four games and the Pens start throwing the puck into your corner just to let James Neal and Chris Kunitz punish you. Thanks for the playoff preview.
|Straight baby thighs, son|
"He looks good. I'm pretty sure he could lace them up tonight and play and be a force," Asham gushed. "He's just so much better than everyone else. He can be out for a year and he'd probably come back and still lead the league [in scoring]. He's just that talented."