Friday, May 3, 2013

Penguins ECQF Game 2 Recap - Islanders 4, Penguins 3

-As I talked about in recap after game one and in the preview today the Islanders weren’t as bad of a team as they showed in game one and while they looked like they were going to fall to the same fate today as they gave up a goal only 46 seconds into the game and fell behind 2-0 shortly thereafter. The Islanders got a goal back but Sidney Crosby pushed the lead back to 3-1 only 18 seconds after the Islanders scored. Really had a good feeling after that but as the second period started the Islanders started to take over and they didn’t let up. They scored just about five minutes apart in the second period and just kept coming in waves against the Penguins.

-Just like last season the Penguins were not good in their own zone and it killed them. They gave up 20 shots in the first period and if not for a pretty stellar period from Marc-Andre Fleury it could have been a lot worse than it was going into the second. They finished the game with 11 turnovers but it was probably a lot more than that. They were taking some bad penalties and one of them led to the Islanders first goal and it is just stuff that you don’t want to see. I am not going to be overly worried about this but it is sort of disappointing that they blew a pair of two goal leads.

-Sidney Crosby really looked good today. I know he looked good just about every game he plays but he found the back of the net twice and was pretty dominating all the way around. He played 23 minutes so I guess there was no acclimation time and I can’t wait to see him play when he gets a little more of the rust out of his game.

-Fleury is going to take the brunt for a good portion of this game but he played pretty well overall. He faced a ton of shots in the first period and he was there for almost every single one of them. He did get beat a few times and there was a soft goal in there along with one where it bounced off the boards and hit him and went in but there really isn’t a ton you can do about that. It sucked big time and you could see that he was visibly frustrated with giving up that fourth goal but that shouldn’t take away from his performance. He was one of the main reasons this game wasn’t over earlier.

-Really no idea what was up with the treatment of Beau Bennett. He only had ten shifts in the game and totaled 7:19 of ice time. Bennett has been pretty good all season but the only guy who had less ice time than him today was Tanner Glass and the next closest guy to him was Jussi Jokinen who had 11:30 of ice time. Really strange that Bennett was pretty much benched for much of the third period.

-On that same wave Dan Bylsma really shortened the bench tonight. Craig Adams/Glass/Jokinen/Bennett combined for around 32 minutes of ice time. Essentially the Penguins were playing with three lines while on the blue line Douglas Murray had only 12:29 of ice time while Deryk Engelland played 12:23. I am not sure when exactly the bench shortened up but by those playing times I would assume it was relatively early and that seems a little off. That might be just me though.

-Evgeni Malkin looked really good tonight. He had ten shots on goal and had a goal and an assist and was generally all over the ice creating plays, especially early. He had a really strong game one so that is very good to see if you are a Penguins fan that was worried about Malkin coming into the playoffs.

-The Penguins just got flat outplayed tonight. I talked about this when I was on TribLive radio today that sweeping a team in the playoffs is an extremely hard thing to do. This is a professional sport and while these guys are the eighth seed they are still some of the best players in the game. Winning four straight times against a team is very hard to do and today showed why. This doesn’t mean that we should all panic and worry but it should send a wakeup call to the Penguins that they just can’t throw their sticks out on the ice and expect teams to roll over.

-The Islanders aren’t a very good home team. During the regular season they were only 10-11-3 but the atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum should be rocking for the first Islanders playoff game since the 2007 season. I am not sure if it is going to phase the Penguins but they need to come out and play like they did in game one and for most of the first period and they should put themselves in good position to win the game on Sunday. The Penguins had home ice taken away from them with the loss today but they can steal it right back. As I have said before when you don’t want to give the less talented team a chance to hang around because if you do they are more than capable of taking advantage. They did tonight so don’t let them do it in the series.

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