Henry Hank wrote:I'm in full agreement with everyone that it's a great win. It's great to stick it to the Flyers the same way they've done to us.
But it's not a win that should make you feel good about this team. It doesn't matter whether it's the defense, the goaltending, the system, whatever - realistically, it's a combination of everything - but they're giving up way too many goals. They have dropped all the way to 23rd in the league in goals against. It's not an isolated incident. It's a regular thing. They are showing no signs of improvement.
And that brings me to where this game really doesn't make me feel good about them. What were they doing in the first? Neal getting his elbows up on Giroux, spraying snow and getting into scrums. Niskanen taking a retaliatory penalty. Fleury had to deal with some crazy bounces and bad D in front of him but at the very least one of those goals was completely unacceptable. Where are there heads that they go into Philly and that's the way they start the game? The fact that they still can't get it gives me more evidence that they simply have no ability or no desire to change anything, which is why I don't see them miraculously cutting down the goals against after it's been obscene for 40+ games going back to last spring. Sure, the Pens did things exactly how they would have wanted and came back to win, but it's a little different for Philly when they're up 4-1 and dominating the Pens in all areas. Let's see them actually from the start keep their cool against these guys.
I change nothing I've said. The team, as it's played since last March, is going no where good. I'm still waiting for any sign that they can fix the issue of giving up a ridiculous amount of goals.
Great post, and I agree nothing has changed. Based on Bylsma and Shero's assessment, they obviously have no problem with this, or it would have been dealt with over the past year. Sure, they talk about being better defensively, but the system does not lend itself to that. You are 100% correct, no team can win in the playoffs in the manner the Pens have played during the past 40 games.
The solution is obviously to shake things up, but it's hard to justify that when the team is second in the conference. I seem to remember the Devils firing their coach when they were in first place on one occasion (not positive though) because they were weak defensively. Maybe they fire an assistant coach??
Trading Letang would change the whole makeup of the team, and the players they'd get back would likely screw up the cap beyond belief, so he stays. Martin has played well, so he stays. Orpik is almost untradeable because he's one of the only true defensive d-men they have, so he stays. I'd move Niskanen and bench Engelland. Go out and get a physical stay at home guy in the mold of Hal Gill, pair him with Bortuzzo and let him develop. Put Despres with Letang and leave him there. You still have Eaton and Engelland for depth.
The "D" needs to get nastier, and by that I don't mean taking penalties. Niskanen is a good player, but he's not a good fit on this team right now IMO. He tries to be better than he really is on offense, and is not as good as he should be on defense. They need a guy who knows he's not good on offense, so is content to play solid defense. One big nasty defender and a gritty veteran winger would not necessarily make this team unbeatable, but it would improve things greatly. I can't help but think the calming and physical presence of Iginla with Sid and Kunitz would be a devastating top line. If Bennett falters, move Kunitz back with Geno and Duper with Sid. If I'm RS, I'm trading away high picks and a prospect to get the two players that could make this team frightening to play against. Right now, teams respect their offense, but they intimidate nobody. Add two players like Iginla ans Sarich, and this team would be downright scary.