Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GTOPG: We're already over it; Pens lose 5-3

By GTOG Staff

(Follow Artistry and Finesse on Twitter)

The Penguins were thinking the same thing we were thinking on Tuesday afternoon. Visions of an 8-10 goal outburst, 5 points for Geno, a hat trick for Sid, maybe a snapper off of the faceoff for Sweet Jimmy Neal. When you've got the hottest offense in the league heading down the stretch and the New York Islanders come to town, it's hard to think of anything else. And that's an unforgivable mistake, on everybody's part.

The Pens just forfeited the surest two points they had available over the final seven games. If they didn't get the message in Ottawa, they got it now: their offense only clicks when they control the play, and they only control the play by limiting the other team's offense like they did last week in New York and New Jersey, and most of the game in Philly. Against the Isles, they were uncharacteristically weak on the puck, and everybody was impatient, everybody cheated. Even, for one of the few times all year, Fleury. Don't think we'll see this again.

More on the game after the jump...

- But here's the silver lining.  When the Pens cheat for offense, they get a lot of offense.  The shots last night were 54-25 in favor of the Pens and as @TEdwardSchu put it perfectly on Twitter, the only reason the Pens didn't get 8 goals was because the Islanders were accidentally getting in the way.  A slightly weaker goaltending performance from Nabokov and Montoya and this is a 7-5 Pens win.  Sure, it's unacceptable to consistently be vulnerable to giving up 5 goals, but we're just saying.  The Pens can score.

- In particular, James Neal can score.  How is it possible that he has only 37 goals this year when it seems like he scores 2 every home game?  There are some guys who "quietly" score over 30 goals (Matt Moulson).  James Neal has a deafeningly loud 37.  What a player.

- Playing alongside Kris Letang helped Paul Martin get to +8 on the season.  Without Letang last night, he was a -2 and decapitated his goalie.  For that, and many other reasons, we anxiously await Kris Letang's return.

- Somewhere out there is a website that tells you how much time two particular players spend on the ice together, but we either don't know what it is or don't have the password.  (Does anyone know?)  The point is that Jordan Staal had 8 shots on goal last night and did it without playing on a line with Sidney Crosby.  And Crosby was similarly dominant at times, at least in terms of creating chances.  And, of course, Geno was soaring high above everyone else.  Imagine that...the Pens rolling three centers and creating almost unlimited offense in the process?  Nevertheless, some people (Dejan Kovacevic) continue to advocate playing Crosby and Staal together.  To which we ask, what exactly would be gained by this? Nevermind.  We've handled this dead horse to the point of necrophilia.  You can read the details here.

- Pens are 3 points back of the Rangers with the same amount of games played.  The #1 seed is still within reach, but should we really care who the Pens have to play in the first round?  The truth is that a healthy Pens team has the horses to get to the Cup.  You play who you play along the way and don't ask questions.

Go Pens.


  1. Don't care who they play, just want that guaranteed home ice...

  2. I don't know that a hot Buffalo team is much better than a nasty Philly team, so I've come to terms with a 4 seed. I believe in their ability to outlast anyone in a 7 game series and break a couple of goalies along the way. If Bryz is up before Miller, so be it. Both have been inconsistent and/or fragile: Bryz is a nut job, and I'm pretty sure Miller sees Sid in his nightmares. I'm of the opinion that a crazy hot goalie is the only thing that stops this team - like genuinely steal 2-3 games hot. The only problem is that we would lose home ice after round 1.

    Incidentally, am I right that the Pens have been the 4 seed every year since the cup loss in 08? Doesn't matter the particulars of the year - millions of injuries, few injuries, coaching changes, months of poor play, insane winning streaks. They simply don't win the division but manage home ice - every damn year. Bizarre.

  3. Yes, Pens were #4 seed in 09, 10, and 11. I think it's reflective of the Pens being good at pacing themselves, while still being really good. Also, the division is no joke.

    I'm with you Brandy -- Pens shouldn't be scared of anyone. It's a matter of who they should prefer to play, but even that is a matter of degree. The Pens will not have an excuse to lose to any team in the East this year. I'm almost thinking that a Philly team that's been in the #5 spot most of the year is better than a Buffalo team that could come into the playoffs having won 11 of 12 or something like that. I think a good percentage of the "fear" of Philly in the first round by Pens fans is grounded in the thought of how much it would suck to lose to them.

    1. Agreed: I was more invested in the 1 seed when it was looking like Win or Wash. I also think that Miller is more likely to be that "hot goalie" than Bryz: that dude has the mental fortitude of day-old spaghetti.