Monday, May 20, 2013

Penguins ECSF Game 3 Recap - Senators 2, Penguins 1

[Quick recap today after the late night]

-Well, that was not really ideal. Overtime games can be pretty tense and despite the success that the Penguins have had in overtimes in the playoffs, and during the 2013 regular seasons, this shouldn't have been a huge problem but it ended up being one. First was getting to overtime as Ottawa scored a shorthanded game tying goal with around 30 seconds left and then won the game in the second overtime after Mark Eaton's broken stick really caused somewhat of a scramble. The Penguins went from a 3-0 series lead and practically winning this series to the series being 2-1 in favor of the Penguins and having another game in Ottawa. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

-All told, the loss aside, this was the best hockey game to watch in the playoffs so far for the Penguins, and maybe the league. There weren't a ton of goals scored but both the Penguins and Senators played a really good hockey game and both goaltenders were locked in. There were some mistakes and power plays but it didn't nearly take away from the viewing pleasure of the game. While I want the Penguins to win every game I know that is not possible. Going into game three I actually expected the Penguins to lose and while I expected the win with just minutes left in the game I can walk away saying that was an outstanding game to watch on TV.

-Tomas Vokoun was really good. This was his best game of the playoffs so far and the Penguins needed it. He gave up the goal in the second overtime but when your offense only puts one in the back of the net you probably played a pretty good game in order to even get to a second overtime. He made 46 saves and generally was great. Really good to see.

-On the other side before the series I talked about how Craig Anderson needed to steal a few games for Ottawa to have a chance and he stole the first of those last night. He was pretty average/bad in games one and two but he was on the top of his game in game three. Ottawa needed him to be great and he was better than great.

-Despite a lot of people railing on Malkin for the end of the regulation play on the tying goal but he was probably the best player on the ice on the night. He did everything but score a goal and it is realy nice to see him stepping up as he has been really great in this series thusfar. People continually rip Malkin for no reason. I really don't understand it.

-The Ottawa penalty kill is playing like it has in the regular season. The Penguins were on the power play six times, including a full minute of 5-on-3, and didn't find the back of the net one time. The power play wasn't exactly bad it was just Ottawa, and Anderson, did a great job of limited the Penguins and giving themselves a chance to win the game.

-The big talk of the game is the final minute. Erik Karlsson took a penalty with the Senators down one with just over a minute and a half left and that should have just about done it. Instead the Penguins kind of sat back and took their foot off the gas and Daniel Alfredsson darted through the defense from the blue line right behind Malkin and got a pass that went by Kris Letang to beat Vokoun. A lot of people are railing Dan Bylsma for having Malkin on the ice when you are essentially killing a penalty but at the same time he is one of your best players and if he is on the ice he needs to make the play. THe Penguins should have probably pushed the play a little more and played keep away but if you want that then Malkin has to be on the ice as his puck possession was on another level last night. I had somewhat of a problem with Malkin being on the ice at the time last night but as I thought about it I realy don't have as much problem with it. Ideally you might want to have Pascal Dupuis on the ice if you want to play a certain way but there is a possibility that they weren't able to get him on the ice. I really have no idea. People are going to talk about this series of events as to why the Penguins lost but that would be wrong. There were 59 other regulation minuts where they could have added one more goal to make this a moot point and they didn't. That is just as big of a problem.

-The Penguins played a really good hockey game. Maybe the best of the post season so far. It sucks they lost but the goaltender got hot and stole his team a game. It was the first time this postseason the Penguins have scored less than three goals so I expect a better offensive performance on Wednesday.

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