Fleury MVP; Powerplay DOA

The playoff series between the Pens and the Lightening already seems to be living up to the hype. The first game came very close to going into overtime with a 0-0 score. It looks as though this could really be an epic battle between the goalies. This is pretty impressive since, by professional sports standards, Roloson is eligible to apply for Medicaid. They both looked sharp and valiantly withstood their own moments of pressure. I may be biased (and who cares if I am…this is a Pens blog after all) but I thought that Fleury looked better.

Fortunately, this opinion can be backed up by the fact that Fleury managed to earn a shutout while Roloson gave up 2 goals merely seconds apart. I was hoping we had already broken him, but he managed to pull himself together and give his team a fighting chance. However, the Lighting offense was not able to strike back and they ended their first playoff game staring at a big goose egg. In my humble opinion earning a shutout during a regular season game is great, but to earn one during the playoffs is amazing, especially given the added intensity and pressure from their opponents to score any way possible. I guess someone had his Fleury Flakes before the game. I told you they were the new breakfast of champions. Now if Fleury could only get that empty net goal.

Unfortunately, not everything during the game went so smoothly. I definitely think that we came on strong and probably should have had a little more in our goal total. But, and I’m sure this is nothing new to anyone, something needs to be done about that power play.

Remember the days in the not so distant past when hearing that Jaws theme at the start gave you goose bumps and the questions wasn’t if they would score but how soon? The last time I remember experiencing this on a regular basis Ryan Malone was planted firmly in front of the other team’s net ready to get the puck in by any means necessary. Ironically, he’s now on the other side staring us down and trying to keep that puck out of the net by any means necessary. Well, that goose bump feeling has been replaced by the loser reassurance mantra of “we had some good chances.”

The Pens could not capitalize on 6 power play chances. Granted, no team’s power play is perfect, but still, 0-6? That’s just not right. During the game someone mentioned that Letang hasn’t had a goal since January. Now, I’m all about letting defenseman off the hook when it comes to scoring goals. After all, they aren’t forwards and the main point of their existence on the ice is to keep people from scoring, not necessarily to score themselves. But, if Letang is going to step up and fill Sergei Gonchar’s big skates, then he needs to start producing on the powerplay. Obviously, Letang is not the only one to blame as there are 4 other people out there with him who aren’t scoring either. However, someone has to score the goal and it may as well be Letang.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it and probably neither does anyone else. Now, some people (of course) could blame it on the absence of Crosby and Malkin. However, other teams don’t have them either and yet they still manage to put the puck in the net during the man advantage. So, there goes that theory.

Fortunately, I’m not the one being paid to solve this problem. Unfortunately, the ones who are seem to have about as much of a clue as I do as to what to do about it. But who is really to blame, the coaches or the players? Or is it a little from column A a little from column B? Either way, everyone needs to come together and fix this before it ends up costing us a victory.  If the first game was any indication this series is going to be tight and since there is no shoot out to fall back on we need all the help we can get when it comes to scoring goals.

But, alas, I don’t want to be one of those people who dwells on the negative. After all, we did win and that win should be celebrated. Unfortunately, we only have about a day to enjoy that win before we have to battle for another one. However, this team is no stranger to hardship and, good powerplay or not, they can overcome it. Spring is in the air, Mario’s t.v. is up and our boys are succeeding in the playoffs without two of their best teammates. So, let’s just enjoy this run and cheer our boys on. It’s only going to get better.

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