Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Penguins Game 17 Recap - Flyers 6, Penguins 5

-If you were looking for an exciting hockey game then you got all of that plus a ton more. The first and second period might not have been the best but the third period was non-stop action where both teams looked dominant at points and overall if you are a fan of hockey at all you went away from this game saying "damn, that was a GREAT game to watch." Does it suck that the Penguins lost? Yea, it does, but the Penguins are going to lose games and if their losses are going to be as exciting as that they I can't really be all that mad. -To be honest the Penguins really had no business even being in this game. They started off strong with a pair of goals to take a 2-0 lead but fell back into a lull and gave up the next four goals with a combination of turnovers, bad defense, and bad goaltending. It was really a small miracle that they were even still in the game after the Flyers scored their fifth goal to make it 5-3 with under 13 minutes left to play. -The Penguins continue to let the Flyers get under their skin. While I don't really think you can take a ton from just a singular game the lack of discipline is really starting to become a problem (if it already wasn't). James Neal and Evgeni Malkin each took a couple of horrible penalties and Deryk Engelland allowed himself to follow around Zach Rinaldo because he was getting under his skin. Just stuff you can't do. This is probably more of a Dan Bylsma problem but I am not sure how you really attack it. When you are in the heat of the game you can tell the guys as much as you want to stay composed but when they get on the ice it is on them. What are you going to do, bench Neal or Malkin? Make no mistake this is one starts with Disco but I am not sure there is a clear answer, but it needs to change. Like, now. -This probably was the worst game of the season for Brooks Orpik. He has been money with Paul Martin on the backend this season but today he was routinely out of position. Orpik has been known to get out of position to go for the body but it doesn't typically last for the entire game but this is one of those games that you build a wall around and just forget if you are Orpik. -The defense was pretty bad a whole tonight and while you probably didn't need to hear that I feel like I need to say it before I start my next sentence. While the defense wasn't good, neither was Tomas Vokoun. This was easily the worst he has looked all season and while he wasn't responsible for all the goals I don't think he ever really was able to bail out his defense. Vokoun hasn't played in ten days and I am sure that was part of the problem but what has impressed me about him this season was that he always looked so cool, calm, and collected in the net but tonight he looked very uneasy and was fighting the puck on pretty much ever save. I would imagine he is going to get another start soon to shake this off and I feel pretty good about him going forward but just not his night tonight. -On the positive end, Sidney Crosby. He only picked up a lone assist tonight but he logged 27 (!!!!) minutes on the ice and was a ridiculous 21-of-28 from the faceoff circle. That is pretty unreal from a forward on the minutes and anytime you are going to win that many faceoffs you have putting your team in a great position. Crosby did make some mistakes as he looked more to pass today, even with a 2-on-1 where he basically threw the puck away trying to make a perfect pass and even passed up a drive to the net to drop a pass to Robert Bortuzzo. I mean Bortuzzo is a NHL caliber defenseman but I don't think Crosby should be dropping him a ton of passes.

-The Penguins also won 41-of-61 faceoffs. Wow.

-The power play is lethally good. The power play has been pretty good over the past few years but I don't think you ever got the feeling that they were a threat to score every time they are on the ice, they are now. They notched a pair of power play goals and went 2-of-7 and pretty much every single one of those power plays had extended periods of time where the penalty kill was just praying the Penguins would make a mistake. So much fun to watch.

-The bottom line is that the Penguins let their emotions get the best of them. They did a really nice job of staying away from the garbage in the first game against Philadelphia and came away with a 3-1 win but at the first sign of adversity tonight all the Flyers had to do was look at the Penguins players the wrong way and the Flyers could play them like a puppet.

-At the end of the day all teams lose games. Even to their rivals. A loss to the Flyers doesn't count any more or any less than a loss to the Jets or the Bruins. Sure it is a division game so it might mean a little more but at the end of the day a loss is a loss. The Penguins are 11-6-0 on the season through 17 games. That  means that they are winning about double the games they are losing. That is pretty good to me. Of those six losses it doesn't saying that the Penguins lost to the Flyers but it just says the Penguins lost. Nothing more, nothing less. The way they lost sucked but they did have some positives. Win on Friday and we start to forget about this.

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