Man, I hate losing to the Flyers. And we didn’t just lose to them tonight, we went down hard. I’m extremely disappointed in the effort that was put out there by a lot of guys. We had a terrible first period. We fell in an early hole, and just couldn’t get out of it all night. As soon as they got the lead, the Flyers turtled (as they should have). They were leaving multiple guys in front of the net to clear pucks at the expense of the rush going the other way. As a result, the rest of the game was predictable: we were taking some chances to get a goal, and those were backfiring in some goals going the other way. Every time we got a goal in, the Flyers put one in on top of it. We just couldn’t draw any closer than 2 goals from the second period on. We absolutely lost this game in the first period. We were battling along the boards, which is great, but we weren’t out-smarting the Flyers and that’s our best asset. There were a lot of stupid passes and giveaways that are very uncharacteristic for us. We were also very very lazy on defense. We were slow to break up the odd man rushes. We were slow to pinch off some passes. It just looked like we had no desire out there in general. Maybe we have some guys that are already thinking about Vancouver? I don’t know. All I know is that we can’t continue to play like this. It won’t work.
Tag Archives: Flyers
Well, it’s been too long since I’ve put up a Pens post, and I apologize. But the good news is that in the mean time, we’ve started out the road trip 3-0. The game in Philly was exactly what you expect out there: dirty. I think the rivalry even took a new low this week. Scott Hartnell bit Kris Letang. It’s completely obvious to everyone, but there was no discipline handed down by the NHL. I’m with Seth at the Empty Netters blog. The NHL couldn’t hand down a punishment because they didn’t have video evidence. However, I would expect some retribution the next time we play them. As for the actual hockey, it was another sloppy game. The trend of a lot of stupid penalties continued, and it’s gatta stop. That’s a bad achilles heel to have. But hey, it’s a win. I love a win in Philly no matter how it comes.
The game against Toronto was a dominant performance. We out-shot them, held the puck for long stretches of time, and just generally out-classed them. The power play was cooking, too, going 3 for 5. We looked like the dominant offensive team everyone thinks of us as. There were a few dumb penalties, but I’ve seen it worse this season. I guess saying “it could be worse” with 21 penalty minutes is a sad commentary. But you can get away with that against the Maple Leafs. It’s a shame what’s happening to Toronto. For a city that loves the sport as much as Toronto to have a team like the Maple Leafs is sad.
We finished out the Ontario tour in Ottawa tonight with another dominant performance. Or at least a dominant performance on the scoreboard. The actual game was much much closer than that. Ottawa kept missing with shots and squandering chances. It seemed like the puck just bounced our way tonight. Nowhere was that more evident than the goal that hit off a Senator defenseman and bounced just around the goalie’s glove and in. I don’t think Kennedy could do that again with 1,000 shots. The best news of the game? Only 16 penalty minutes! Woo hoo! It’s even lower than that because a few of those came in a closing minutes fight. Finally a ray of sunshine in that dark trend! The only other problem I saw was that we had some pretty bad giveaways in the defensive zone. But that’s not a trend as of yet.
This sure looks like a pretty good team so far. We’ve shown some toughness in Philly, some finesse in Toronto, and some luck in Ottawa. Jay McKee is a great pickup and a tremendous asset on defense. Fleury looks dominant in goal. Crosby is playing very very well (even by his standards). Everyone is chipping in. I think we may have some more big things in store for this team. Hold on to your war bonnets! (that’s for you, Meg)
Apologies for the late post. It’s been a busy weekend. But I did grab a few hours to watch the game, however (many thanks to my terrific girlfriend for allowing that to happen). I guess it’s schadenfreude, but I enjoy seeing Philadelphia loose in the most painful way possible…..and having a 3 goal lead and thinking you’re on to a game 7 with all the momentum in the world and then loosing it is pretty painful. The main story line was Max Talbot and the fight that swung the momentum. I guess the theory is that he got the Flyers back into their physical mindset and they stopped playing hockey again. I think the momentum shift had more to do with the third goal shortly before that fight than the fight itself. The desperation factor finally went back to our court. Philly had their backs against the wall for a game and a half, and that’s a big advantage. I think it finally dawned on the Pens that if they lost this one, they’d be coming back the underdogs. The Pens played like a desperate team for the last two periods. The forecheck was working and people were constantly going to the net. We may have lost Hossa and Malone and all the rest, but we’re still an extremely dangerous team offensively if we want to be. We just have to be in a position where we want it more. Also, as a general rap-up thought from the series, hats off to Martin Biron. Going into the series, he was pointed to as the weak link for the Flyers. However, he played a great series. If it wasn’t for an outstanding series by Fleury, the Flyers would have had a definite goaltending edge regardless of the four goals he gave up in game 6.
As for the next opponent, it’s still up in the air. New York choked away another one this afternoon, and Carolina/Jersey are playing as I type this. Basically it comes down to this: if Washington and Carolina win, we play Washington. If Washington and Jersey win we play Boston. If New York wins, we play New Jersey/Carolina winner regardless. I’m not as scared of Washington as a lot of people seem to be. It’ll be another rivalry series, but goaltending is a serious serious weak spot for them right now. Jersey/Carolina would both be an alright match-up. Jersey isn’t clicking on all cylinders offensively right now, and Carolina goes as Cam Ward goes. I’m most scared of Boston right now, however. They’re hot, they have a terrific defense, and Tim Thomas has constantly given us fits. We’re best when we can play a puck possession game, and Boston won’t let that happen. I’d say right now I’d list the teams I’d like to see in this order: 1) New Jersey 2) Washington 3) Carolina 4) Boston. All I can do for now, though, is just sit back and see who we draw. Not a bad problem, to tell you the truth.
That sucked. We threw a lot of pressure at them in the first period and Biron finally answered the call at the exact wrong moment. The second period saw a much more even puck possession battle, but the Pens still had their chances. Asham got a goal that you can’t do much about: Fleury was in position and square to the shooter, and he hit the post at just enough of an angle to go in. A few inches higher and it’s no good. A few inches lower and it’s off Fleury. That was big, but you could still feel we had a bit of an edge. That was until Malkin’s goal was disallowed (which was a good call, by the way. I guess the refs forgot to give us that one). That’s when we started getting a little lax. I hate to think it, but it seemed like they resigned themselves to it being Biron’s night and packed it in. FSN even went off its game and lost most of the second period feed (both audio and video). I had to turn on a radio and watch a black screen for half an hour waiting for the signal. Overall, I hated the third period. I didn’t see the continued effort through the final whistle. Biron stood on his head and won this game for Philly (payback for Tuesday, I guess). I would have liked to see more traffic in front of the net (there’s that complaint creeping back again). But we still had our chances. Philly dodged a bullet tonight, and if they can do it twice more, they deserve to move on.
Scott Hartnell thought Fleury would be a little rattled after game 3. Scott Hartnell is apparently an idiot. What else is new? This one wasn’t hard to figure out at all. Both goaltenders played outstanding and Fleury just happened to be slightly more outstanding. He made some absolutely unconscious saves last night, and didn’t allow many rebounds at all (which is usually his biggest weakness). I’ve never seen him play better. Biron was solid, but when Fleury was playing like that, it didn’t matter. The only thing I can nit pick about is that I didn’t see us going to the net as much as we have in earlier games. That was something I complained a lot about before Bylsma became coach, and I kind of shuddered a little from bad memories. Other than that, though, it was a solid game for the Pens. We kept out of the scrums after the game. We took some really stupid penalties, but we were able to kill them all. That 0-8 power play number will haunt Philly. It was a good game to play right as I was writing the ‘Is the NHL favoring the Pens’ post. I guess 8-5 penalty advantage takes away that excuse for this game. We can rap this thing up on Thursday with a win. See you then.
Well. It’s safe to say that this was not the game Dan Bylsma had in mind when he got up this morning. We took some uncharacteristic penalties which was very disappointing. Three games with these guys are bound to get under your skin. Just look at the bottom picture up there. Scott Hartnell demonstrates typical Flyer hockey with the ‘if all else fails, trip ’em’ technique. He wasn’t called for that, by the way. Fleury had his worst game in months. He was giving up an absolute ton of rebounds all game long. But, in his defense, look at the top picture up there. What’s wrong with that? If you answered: why is Simon Gagne being allowed to stand six inches in front of the goalie and get a shot off, you’re right. The Flyers have always and will always play dirty hockey. But I’ll say this about them: they don’t give up many dirty goals because if you’re in position for a rebound or a redirect, they will always lift your stick or sit you on your butt. Anything to prevent you from finishing. We didn’t do that. On the contrary, we failed to pick up men around the net completely (I have no idea why. Miscommunication? Daydreaming? That’s something we need to think about before Thursday). As a result, we gave up some basically empty net goals. That can’t happen in the playoffs. There is some good news here, however. We played a horrible game, and we’re still up 2-1 in the series. We still have home ice. Plus, just like the Flyers after game one, this is easily correctable. This wasn’t something they were doing that we can’t counteract. This was all on us. So, lets hope they take a deep breath, regroup and pull out the win on Tuesday. A 3-1 advantage coming back to the burgh would be pretty much game set and match.
Well, Philly decided to play hockey, and with a lot better results (for them). They focused their aggressiveness on beating us to every loose puck, and it really did a number on the time of possession. After the Pens held onto the puck for almost the entirety of game 1, the Flyers got a lot more chances in game 2. This was also do their defensive trapping. The Flyers put 3 guys on the blue line as we were coming through the neutral zone, and that didn’t let us carry the puck in. We’re not a great dump and chase team, so that’s a great way to do some damage if you’re an opposing team. We had some sucess pressing up ice and getting the puck in the offensive zone before they got in their defensive set, but it was hard. Biron had a heck of a game and made some absolutely unconscious saves. He also rarely allowed a rebound which is unusual for him, and very frustrating for the Pens. We played decent, but this was Philly’s best shot. If they continue to play like this, it’ll be a heck of a series. I can’t wait for game 3 in Philthy tomorrow.