Well, it was just one of those kind of nights for the Penguins. They didn’t play bad hockey and they didn’t play great hockey but they played good enough hockey that they could get a win. The problem with tonight was that they ran into a hot goaltender and couldn’t finish the chances they had and thus a loss to a pretty mediocre Tampa Bay Lightning team.
To be brutally honest the game tonight was almost a mirror imagine of what happened at the end of last season when the Tampa was able to ride a hot goaltender and get some timely goals and really not do much more. That was all the same tonight. As I said before the goaltending for Tampa Bay really stepped up in the form of Dwayne Roloson as he stuffed the Penguins on every single chance and made some spectacular saves when the Penguins had the power play.
The normally stingy Penguins penalty kill was beaten twice tonight and that is all you really need to know. The Penguins outshot the Lightning by a large margin but just couldn’t solve Roloson, again.
A lot has been talked about the 1-3-1 that the Lightning use to squeeze the life out of hockey but I really don’t think that had much to do with it. As I mentioned a ton of time the Penguins didn’t have a problem getting chances and they were able to use their speed to beat the Lightning to a lot of pucks so I don’t really care about the whole trap thing. I actually think if they win with it then who cares, if you don’t like it beat it.
Marc Andre Fleury was OK tonight but nothing more or nothing less, much like the team. I don’t really think that any of the three goals were really on him as the first goal was off a brutal turnover from Jordan Staal, the second goal was on a really sick deflection out front and the third goal was a nice bounce to Steve Downie after Paul Martin sold out to block a shot where Downie almost one-timed it off the block. Not much you can do but it still sucks.
To be honest there isn’t much more to say. Outside of the first power play attempt I thought that unit was pretty good tonight getting unreal chances and a ton of shots. The line of Sullivan/Malkin/Neal was all over the place and created some nice 5-on-5 opportunities and Chris Kunitz really played another strong game.
Games like this happen. On to the next one.