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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It All Comes Down to This by @MedinaMarie_PI

Losing a game sucks especially if the team is out there giving everything they have to win. It leaves a sick and dejected feeling that more could have been done. But losing the way the Pittsburgh Penguins lost games 5 and 6 leaves everyone feeling like a whack to the stomach and face with a nine iron.

And that is just what fans are feeling, so think about how the team feels.

To quote both Colby Armstrong and Phil Bourque of PensLive Postgame, "..it stings!"

The Penguins have brought themselves to this situation and it will be up to the entire team to get themselves out of it. Through six games, the Pens have been outshot (200-113), out hit, and now, completely outplayed for a full four periods of hockey.

Now that is not to say that they have not had help. Let's be honest, the penalty calling and/or the complete lack thereof has been abysmal. What a penalty is and how it is committed seems to change not just from game to game, but from shift to shift. Yes, this is the NHL playoffs and I can understand letting a few things slide but the consistency of the penalty calls has been severely lacking.

The NHL should address the "two rule books" issue as it has become a cause for concern not only ethically but also in regard to player safety. Will they? ...probably not.

Having to be on the penalty kill one too many times just one of the many aspects that have aided to the Penguins coming face-to-face with a high tension game seven.

Another issue has been the loss of the "shot first" mentality. The Penguins are guilty of trying to out finesse the Capitals at times and are making sloppy passes and not taking a chance at a shot on goal.

Then again, a player can't take a shot on net if their team isn't sustaining any offensive zone time. The Capitals played most of game six with 1-3-1 ice coverage thereby taking away any access to the neutral zone and forced the game to be played more along the boards. It forced the Pens to slow down their game and allow the Caps to take advantage of the poor puck handling that ensued.

The Penguins have been able to hold on in these contests thanks to the out of this world goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury. He has a .910 save percentage but he is only human. Forward Nick Bonino noted after game five that they "..left Fleury out to dry", and he isn't wrong. The Pens have got to do a better job getting on their forecheck, getting into passing lanes, and limiting the shot attempts around the net.

These facets of the game are going to have to improve toot-sweet if the Penguins want to have any hope of continuing on in the post season.

Head Coach Mike Sullivan tweaked the forward lines and defensive pairings for game six but nothing seemed to work until the last two minutes of the contest. With one game left in the series, it will be crucial for the Penguins to have a good start, get all four lines rolling, and keep sustained pressure on Caps goalie, Braden Holtby.

It is a tall task ahead. It seems so simple: just win one game. We all know that is not the case. Whatever will be, will be in game seven. At the end of it all, I am proud of this team, I am proud to cover this team as a writer, and anxious and excited for their future ahead.

No matter what happens, we walk together. Whether it's continuing in the playoffs or preparing for the future...we walk together.




2 comments:

  1. Yeah, nobody's going to try to steal this on Twitter because it's awful.
    Anybody could have written it and it offers no substance worth reading.
    You could have just saved the time and wrote "Game 7 will be hard. Yay, go Pens" and gotten the same damn point across.
    If you're going to comment on people complaining about stolen content, write something worth being stolen for once and then see how it feels.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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