Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Penguins ECQF Game 4 Recap - Islanders 6, Penguins 4
-Woof. That was brutally bad. The Penguins were really bad in the last two games but today it was almost as if they wanted to up the ante and see how bad they could actually get. Despite playing some horrible hockey they were still in the game, only trailing by one, with mere minutes left but the Islanders were just too much.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was awful. While I never considered him to be an elite goaltender he has always been better than average in my eyes. Tonight he was about as bad as you could get. Sure the defense was overly horrible and the consistent defensive zone turnovers doesn't help but he gave up his fair share of soft goals tonight. If you have read me over the years you know I am as big a fan of Fleury's as any but today was a majority on him. He knew it to if you saw him on the bench as time was winding down. His head is somewhere else and that is not a good thing. I would not be shocked in the least to see Tomas Vokoun in the net on Thursday but to be honest I think I would still throw MAF out there. That is just me though.
-I thought with Brooks Orpik coming back that the defense would kind of get back together a little better than they did in game two and game three but they were brutally bad tonight. Kris Letang was nominated for the Norris Trophy today and he has looked really bad the past few games. Matt Niskanen and Mark Eaton were bad and while Douglas Murray has been pretty good but a puck that goes off his skate to the back of the net tied it up. It was that kind of night for the defense. They haven't been good and while MAF is going to take a lot of the heat the defense should get just as much.
-For much of the game Evgeni Malkin was the best player on the ice and his line was the best in the game. The third period was brutal for Malkin as he took an obvious penalty (that luckily got canceled out) and had just a brutal offensive zone turnover that led to the Islanders game winning goal. He was really good the entire game and he was the least of he Penguins many problems but when your top guys are good and they are still contributing to the loss then you know it's bad.
-The Penguins had 12 giveaways and the Islanders had 13 takeaways. It was way more than that. Those stats lead to the transition game that the Islanders are really good at and that is the reason they won. They are an outstanding club at creating offense off turnovers and that is exactly what they did tonight.
-I know everyone is going to talk about how bad the Penguins played tonight, and believe me they were bad, but at the same time we have to give a ton of credit to the Islanders. They got waxed in the first game of this series and rather than just folding they have come back and played like the better team for the rest of the series. They have made the adjustments and made the most of their opportunities and while they are making changes the Penguins seems bullish on that and it is killing them.
-If the Penguins went up 3-1 and won tonight I think they would have won this series on Thursday. Now the Islander have unreal momentum and they have just as good of a chance as winning this series as the Penguins do. Before the series everyone laughed at the Islanders but it turns out they might not be as bad as you think they are. The Penguins better figure it out Thursday or it could be their last home game.