First let me say I'm not pushing the panic button. I was about 60/40 this might be a sweep after game one. A loss tonight obviously isn't ideal but many more games to come.
Having said all that I'm not worried but I'm angry. I'm angry because is this 2012 all over again? Seriously. Another game where we jump out to a quick lead. 2-0 and all the seats haven't filled up yet. Then 2-1. Then 3-1. Now the ugly part.
Are we going to relax again and stop fighting for every inch of ice like the ugliness of the 2012 playoffs. We going to stop taking the play to them and let them come to us. Why? Are they supposed to give up? Are we suppose to win so we can just dial it back a little? The final two periods the ice was so lopsided it was a disgrace. It was like a total mirror of Game 1 but in reverse. Those final two periods also looked like 2012 Philly series again.
I know this sounds crazy but right now I really believe the Pens are a better and stronger team if the game is close for all 60 mins. I really believe they have a better chance of winning should the game remain tight for all three periods. Also right now I have zero confidence in the coaching staff if the Pens jump out to a lightning fast multiple goal lead one of two things happen. Either they keep scoring and run the goalie or they lose the lead and look silly. There is no in between. There is no tightening up. It is either keep scoring and win by five goals or get that quick lead, relax and dial it back, then get steam rolled.
Anyone see Ray Shero nearing the end of the game? You know he is thinking the same thing. Why can't this team finish the game when they jump to a huge early lead. Yes I know that game 1 they had a big lead but they also kept scoring and didn't get a few of the bounces but they got all of the bounces. Tonight the bounces were more even and we have a different result.
A few key notes about the game tonight. It is impossible for the Islanders to play with the same intensity night in and night out. They sold out on every rush, hit, pass and shot. They are humans and can't sustain that kind of play over and over. Much like the Pens can't keep the same intensity they display after the first ten minutes of recent playoff games.
The coaching staff did a piss poor job of adjusting to the onslaught during the second intermission. I really felt the Pens would regroup and have a great third period. No it was more of the second period. All Islanders.
Chris Kunitz? When he is off he is REALLY off.
Paul Martin? Say what you want but he is stealing some money from the Pens. What are some things he does that are exceptional? Nothing to zero. He isn't a horrible player but he is paid way too much for what he brings to the table. He doesn't hurt the team much but how much is he helping in Bylsma hockey? Mark Eaton should go to headquarters and say Mario, see how much Paul is making. See how much I am making. See what each of us brings to the team? Thank you for my raise.
Another note about Martin that just glared tonight was he looked like he was still playing the Jersey Trap. He is so slow making a decision. Zero urgency in Martin's game. The next quick decision he makes will be the first one.
Iginla? I like the musical lines Bylsma plays at times but Iginla should be playing with Crosby. They work very well together. It is a chemistry that isn't getting stronger because they aren't being paired together enough. If he doesn't want to hurt Kunitz feelings too bad. He is a big boy and can handle it. Right now Kunitz would be the first one to admit he is not sharp. Maybe this will change once they get some time opportunity with Crosby finally back.
I would like to see Jokinen play center for Malkin a bit more than one shift. That could be a lethal combo and taking the draw Jokinen is so much better.
Please sit Engelland. Despres or Bortuzzo may make the same mistakes but will get some valuable playoff experience.
Morrow REALLY wants to win his first Cup and it really shows.
Islanders have team speed and can be problematic. Some bounces go their way and who knows what this series may look like. They have nothing to lose here. Nobody has given them a chance. They are going to let it all hang out. If they get some confidence...I don't even want to think about that.
I think Fleury plays game three. Vokoun plays game four.
Shero is going to send Bylsma an email that says Iginla didn't come here to watch Kunitz and Dupuis get exclusive time with Crosby. Malkin and Iginla are not on the same page. Get Iginla with Crosby please. Oh and get James Neal healthy which would help this decision.
Dupuis is a gamer. He brings 110 percent every shift.
I would like to see a Kunitz Sutter Morrow experiment for more than a couple of shifts. Atleast one game.
See ya Sunday