Big Lead Sports Bar

5/02/2008

Koz: REALITY BITES


Bill Plaschke said the Pens were unbeatable on Around the Horn this week, but you didn't really believe him, did you?

For as well as the Pens have played lately, it was hard to imagine them losing a game. But the winning streak has ended and the Pens have to play another game with potential for injury and less rest before what remains a likely trip to the conference finals.

So why couldn't the Pens close it out? That boils down to each team's two best players.

For the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist looked like the Vezina candidate he's supposed to be and Jaromir Jagr had his second dominant performance in a row.

For the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin failed to convert what would have been a momentum-changing penalty shot by attempting a bizarre slow approach that Lundqvist admitted he was “glad” to see. Have you ever seen an approach like that work anywhere? Even on XBOX, you know you go to the net with speed.

Thursday Night Waterskiing at MSG!

Sidney Crosby played what might be the worst game of his career. That might sound extreme, but understand a bad game for 87 isn't nearly as bad as one for a mere mortal. But from the start, Sid was off with his passes, committed several turnovers, tried to do too much alone trying to split the D, and ultimately lost his cool after a legal check on Marian Hossa, which led to a Ranger power play essentially surrendering the game.

On the bright side, Pittsburghers have something fun to do on Sunday now with the chance of escorting Jagr out of the NHL.

Other than Jagr, the Rangers aren't generating much offense. Lundqvist can't play any better than he did tonight and Crosby can't play worse. The Pens had a scary amount of breakaways. Fleury and the defense played well. Also, I don't think the Rangers can play three more games as well-behaved as they did tonight, especially on the road.

The two days rest is perfect for an obviously frustrated Penguins team coping with their first dose of reality in the 2008 playoffs. Like I said, reality bites. Too bad for the Rangers that reality is they aren't going to win four games in a row.
Game Notes:
--Empty Netters covers all bases.
--Full Trib photo gallery here.
--Game 5 tickets go on sale at 2 PM today.
--No team has started the playoffs 8-0 since the 1985 Edmonton Oilers.
--The Mike Lange Tournament of Quotes Final Round has arrived.

4 comments:

Chip said...

Seeing Malkin and Crosby both in the box for roughing was pretty much the highlight of the game for me. When do you see one let alone both of a team's superstars in the box for that?

I don't remember Jagr and Mario ever sharing any sin bin time after getting into a skirmish with their opponents. Nice to know they're not nancy boys like their predecessors.

Oh and that penalty shot by Geno was about the dumbest thing I've ever seen. I was at a bar and I think the guy next to me summed it up by shouting "What the fuck are you doing?!?!"

denapom said...

I'm glad they lost. They were lax in the 2nd half of the 1st period and the 2nd period of game 3, and the whole of Game 4, epitomized by the penalty shot be Geno. They were getting a little big for their britches and a loss is just what they needed to get their head straight. Barry Melrose can tout your team only so much before you lose the desperation needed to get through the NHL playoffs. Game 5 is going to be ugly/rough, but it'll catapult them into a the conference finals. PS. I hate Jagr's playoff soul patch...

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Does anyone remember Jagr even opening his mouth in the playoffs when he donned the Black and Gold? He must have a better grasp of the English language. He seems a little chippy, which isn't out of the ordinary for most hockey players, but seems out of character for his past.

MuddyOne said...

1. Way too many Penalties.

2. No forechecking, and hell, they weren't even finishing their checks.

3. They played "not to lose" hockey by following the Dump-n-Chase philosophy

4. Did I mention way too many penalties?

Ever stop to think what a Power Play means? Not just an extra man advantage but PK forwards and D's expend even more power trying to keep up and kill the PP, while the Power Players get to relax a bit and pass with ease... How many penalties did the pens have last night, 10? 11?!

5. If there ever was a good time to lose, now is it. You don't want the Pens having to regroup after losing for the first time in the bloodbath that will be the Eastern Conference Finals. they've got that shite taste in their mouths now, and 2 days off will let it simmer.