Sunday, May 5, 2013
Penguins ECQF Game 3 Recap - Penguins 5, Islanders 4 (OT)
-Not many things better than overtime hockey. I was only able to catch the first period and parts of the other two periods and follow the rest on Twitter before listening to overtime on the radio on my way home but holy hell. A win is a win and nothing else much matters. The Penguins are up two games to one and they have played a pair of pretty bad hockey games in games two and three.
-The Penguins were largely outplayed in 5-on-5 hockey today but the good thing was that when they did get chances with the extra man they made the Islanders pay. They were 3-of-5 on the power play and scored the game winner in overtime off the stick of Chris Kunitz which was his second power play goal of the game.
-The defense was horribly bad. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't horrible but he again wasn't that great. There were some times where he was more than hung out to dry but I would put more of the blame on defense than MAF. It was a whole lot of things defensively and a lot of those were just bad. Really bad. A lot of people are going to bag on Fleury and say that he is the reason they lost but that isn't the case.
-Sidney Crosby is really good. Like ridiculously good. He still has some rust in his game but he looked even better today than he did in his first game back in game two. The pass he made to Pascal Dupuis for the Penguins third goal was filthy and the pass he made to Kunitz for the game winner. He is the best in the game and there really isn't anyone close. He misses a month with a broken jaw and steps on the ice and looks like he doesn't miss a beat.
-The Penguins just aren't getting shots. I am not saying that they should just wildly throw shots at the net because that isn't good either but the Penguins managed only three third period shots and 25 shots for the entire game. That needs to change. Like I said you need to get good scoring chances and that doesn't come by just throwing pucks on the net from the blue line but they need to create some more.
-The biggest thing I noticed was that when the Penguins were struggling it was because the Islanders were playing their game. While the Penguins are an extremely good offensive team they aren't a team that wants to get out and skate up and down the ice trading chances. That is something that the Islanders like to do and with their team speed if you get sucked into that game then they are going to have as good a chance as any of winning. The Islanders came out amped up and got a pair of goals quick and they were playing their way. The Penguins settled down halfway through the opening period and the result was a tie game and then the eventual lead. Later in the game the Penguins decided to just sit on their two goal lead and let the Islanders do what they want and the result was the Islanders going up and down the ice and tying the game. The Penguins have to set the tempo of the game and while at points they are going to want to go up and down they need to pick their spots and be able to play at the pace they want to.
-The Penguins also have to take care of the puck. They were pretty horrible in that aspect today. Only eight giveaways but the Islanders had 19 takeaways. 19. Can't do that and expect to win.
-Some Islanders fans are pretty up in arms about the officiating. Evidently you are allowed to grab a guy by his shoulders while he is trying to score and pull him down. I saw some saying that Crosby dove on the overtime call. Get over yourself. I also saw some saying that the NHL and the officials pretty much fix games for the Penguins. I guess I missed all those the last few years when the Penguins were on their deep playoff runs. /rolls eyes
-All told a win is a win. I saw some people talking like there are good wins and bad wins. That is half right. There is no such thing as a bad win. Especially in the playoffs. Every win gets you one step closer to a series win and when you can do that on the road that is a huge plus. Sure it was a pretty lackluster game for the Penguins but they still won. Do they want to play like this every night? No, I am sure they don't. That is back-to-back bad performances and from what I gather they were none too happy about how they played in the locker room after the game and that is a good thing. The win is good but there are still things to work on. That being said it is still a good win because all wins are good.