Listen to the below or click here. And as always, click here to subscribe on iTunes.
[If you're listening on your smartphone, the best ways to make sure that you have an uninterrupted experience are: 1) download the podcast from iTunes OR 2) download the Spreaker app by going to the App store and searching for "Spreaker" then "Get To Our Game"]
The more we think about Game 3, the more we end up thinking about games 1 and 2. The Pens probably win that game last night 53 out of 100 times. Unfortunately, they don't play best-of-100 series. Which is exactly why you can't give away 2 playoff games in a series -- at home, no less -- and expect to win 4 of 5 against a very good team when you're pretty close to dead-even with that team when you're both playing at your best. The Pens played really well last night, but all it does is shine a light on the stinkers in the first two games. We know the Pens can play as well as they did in game 3. We still have no idea why they can't do it more consistently.
|No shame in losing Game 3. Great shame in being down 3-0.|
- Along with the misfortune of having just faced down the barrel of a 3-0 series deficit last spring, we have the advantage of knowing exactly how this could work. Take advantage of Boston's inevitable if slight psychological shift in Game 4, when they cannot possibly match the Pens sense of desperation. Score 10 goals in the game (Note: will settle for 3. OK, 2.).
Come back to Pittsburgh and score a tight 3-2 victory. Suddenly, everything is in play. Even losing 5-1 in Game 6.
- Malkin was the best player on the ice last night, and it wasn't particularly close. He gets an A+ for generating scoring chances. But you don't win games with scoring chances. It's hard to think about the 21 shot attempts without thinking about the fact that none of them went in. It's a distinct talent to generate the types of chances that Malkin generated last night; it's also a distinct talent to finish the chances. Some of last night was just being snake-bit. The rest is him needing to be better at finishing. If he was a running back, he'd have been taken out at the goal line.
- The Mike Alstott to Geno Malkin should be Jarome Iginla, but you could make a low-light reel of all the juicy rebounds that have bounced over Iggy's stick in the last month.
- Sidney Crosby was terrible early, but got much better as the game went on. A really strong defensive effort. But that's like complimenting your gardener for not tracking mud in the house. It's not what Sid is paid to do.
- The most disappointing part of Sid's game has been the power-play. It's expected that when teams load up to stop a guy at even-strength, they will usually have some success doing that, especially with players as good as Boston has. The power-play is the time to shake loose from those shackles and at least get comfortable having the puck on your stick. Sid hasn't done that at all. Dreadful on the PP.
- The PK was wonderful last night. PP was the real culprit.
- In moment of candor, would Ray Shero admit that he would have traded Brendan Morrow back to Dallas after Iginla fell in Pens' lap? And would he admit that after getting Morrow, he only got Iginla to keep him away from Boston? Because they're largely redundant. The Pens needed one of them. Not both.
- 7:09 on the PK for Craig Adams. What a performance. If he buries that slapper that hit the post in OT, the city probably names a steel mill after him.
- Refs on "let's take 'em both" patrol are the worst.
- Bylsma is deservedly getting a lot of heat. Arguably his worst stat from last night: Joe Vitale played 9:38 and only took 3 face-offs. If that's all you're using him for, why is he playing over Jokinen and TK, when the team's biggest issue against Boston has been an inability to score?
- It's one thing to dress Vitale if you think you need what he brings. It's another thing entirely to dress Vitale and then act like you don't even want him in the lineup. This really confuses us about Bylsma -- he insists on dressing guys in whom he has no confidence giving even a semi-regular shift. It's not like he doesn't have options.
- Speaking of TK, as we discussed on the podcast, he would have been a real asset in OT. The one thing he never lacks is energy. There's potential for a great match-up against a tired team in OT.
- We've reached the point in the season where we're asking for more Tyler Kennedy. In other news, the Pens are about to get swept.
- Lineup changes for Game 4. Niskanen can't play with Letang. Have to keep Cooke with Geno and Neal. Bennett should stay and get PP time. BB is one definite bright spot heading into next season.
- The Pens scored 10 goals in Game 4 against Philly last year. The Pens also scored 12 in games 1-3. The Pens have 2 goals in 11 periods this series.
- The series isn't over so we're not in the mood to make pronouncements about the off-season. Except for one. Marc-Andre Fleury has got to go. This shouldn't be hard decision, and in light of the decisiveness of Shero's handling of Jordan Staal last year, we expect it will happen quickly. It doesn't matter who else is available. Fleury is not a winning option going forward.
- The way he's played this season, the Pens should feel very fortunate that Vokoun is signed through next season. He can't play 65 games. But the games he plays, he usually plays well.
- For as much talent as Letang has, and as high as his ceiling is, the Pens haven't really accomplished anything with him since he's been the team's best defenseman. Yet he's so gifted that you have to start wondering if a different coach could get him to play the right way more often. Whether here or elsewhere.