Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Penguins-Islanders Game 4 Preview: Five things we're looking for

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

Game 4 is tonight.  We'll find out whether this can still be the 5-gamer we all thought it would be or if we're in it for the long haul. Here are 5 things we're looking for tonight.

1. Brandon Sutter. Through 3 games, Sutter has three shots on goal, two hits, one blocked shot, and has gone 19-23 in the face-off circle in just under 46 total minutes of ice time. And believe it or not, those stats are deceiving; Sutter's actually played a lot worse than his numbers. You can't win Stanley Cups if you aren't getting contributions from everyone in the lineup.  Is Sutter a lemon?  It can't be ruled out.

We've been told this man is on the Penguins.
2. Bounceback. The comparison between this team and last year's team that melted down to the Flyers is accurate in a lot of respects, but incomplete in two very important ones.  The obvious one is that the Pens are winning this series rather than being down 3-0, but equally important is the way the team has responded to its self-imposed adversity.  Last year the Pens played terrible hockey then compounded it by being wildly undisciplined and turning themselves into an unrecognizable and unlikeable team.

He's gone at least. 
This year, the Pens weathered the storm of their own incompetence by not doing anything stupid for a long enough period of time to force an inferior player (Brian Strait) to take a penalty on a far superior player.  And that was the game.

After the shame of Game 3 last year, the Pens actually settled down and played some decent hockey in Games 4, 5, and 6.  They had just dug themselves too deep a hole to come back.  If 2012 is a parallel, then the Pens should start turning a corner tonight.  Already up 2 games to 1.

3. Tyler Kennedy.  He isn't a savior but he's not a nothing like Tanner Glass or a drain on the lineup like Bennett.  I'm not saying Bennett is playing like a drain, but if the coach isn't comfortable giving him at least semi-regular minutes -- and Bylsma isn't -- then he becomes a burden.  (Whether he deserves a semi-regular shift is a different debate).  Kennedy will not be consumed by the moment.  He's been here before.

4. Kris Letang.  In Game 1 he played like a hall-of-famer.  In Games 2 and 3, he played like some asshole kid at youth hockey tryouts who doesn't need to try hard because his dad is the coach.  Rooting for Letang is a roller coaster ride, and it's due to come back up the tracks.

Kyle Okposo speaks for the entire city of Pittsburgh. 
5. A Raw Emotion Podcast.  If you haven't been paying attention, we've been broadcasting LIVE at the conclusion of every game this series.  To listen LIVE, click here.  If you want to submit any comments or questions, send them to us on Twitter (follow Finesse; follow Artistry).  We promise to read them.

Go Pens.


  1. Just to reiterate, we will be LIVE. I'd like to add one thing to this excellent and comprehensive list: if the Pens manage to win the game, I would like to feel like the Pens actually won the game.

  2. Wow. I was going to watch the game at a Southside bar filled with girls of ill-repute, but if GTOG is broadcasting live, I cant miss it!

    1. Tell them to put the podcast on after the game.

    2. Good call. I will ask them to turn off the Flo-rida and put on the GTOG podcast. I am sure it will be a hit with all in attendance.

    3. I actually agree. I especially love the big kibitz theme song. As a hockey nerd, I may have to try to get the podcast on my iPhone at the bar.

      On another note, please tell me what dirt tanner glass has on byslma. I can't see any other reason why he continues to get a sweater. I'd almost rather Danny tanner play.

  3. 1. the live podcast was great last time. first *full* one i've got to catch live.

    2. his game play aside, was i the only one super proud of Letang for not flipping out and taking a dumb penalty when okposo was in his face like that? effort of a brat but maybe finally the composure of a veteran and maybe even a norris trophy winner.