The Penguins just aren’t clicking
Well the Eastern Conference Finals have been very intriguing so far, but what was supposed to be an easy series win for the Penguins, has turned into a real series.
Currently the Ottawa Senators lead the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1, but that number is very misleading. Last night the Ottawa Senators exploded with five goals to beat the Penguins 5-1. That’s right. The boring Ottawa Senators put up five goals, including a four-goal burst in the first period.
This has been brewing for a long time. The Penguins are finally stumped with the Senators’ style of hockey. A few of the goals came off unlucky bounces, or strange plays, but that is absolutely no excuse for the way the Penguins played or responded (didn’t) respond last night. The lone goal came from a power play goal by Sidney Crosby, but it wasn’t anywhere close to enough to get the Penguins out of a five-goal hole.
It’s easy to say that bad goaltending, or injuries are what led to the huge lead, but there is another big problem with the way the Penguins played. The Penguins love to play a run and gun style of offense, and trade chance for chance with teams, but they can’t do that in this series. The Senators are buttoned up so tight that the Penguins can’t create those chances they are accustomed to experiencing. The Senators, however walked right in last night with minimal resistance, and were given high danger chances on multiple occasions.
It seemed like they had it figured out in Game 2, where the Penguins suffocated the Senators with their relentless attack. The Senators had barely any real zone time, and the Penguins looked like themselves in the third period of the game. It only resulted in one goal, but that’s because of an otherworldly goaltending performance by Craig Anderson.
In Game 3, the Penguins did have a few good chances, but once again failed to capitalize on most of them. The good news is that it’s only one game and it’s still early in the series, but this is not what the Penguins need right now.
For the Senators, they couldn’t have asked for a better start. They have shown that the Penguins are human, and can be taken beaten with hard work. The Senators are not going to change a single thing about their game. It has worked, and will continue to work again.
For the Penguins, something needs to be done. Line combinations should be changed. A goalie switch. A different approach. Anything! They need to stop trying to drag the puck in when the neutral zone is clogged up. They need to be responsible defensively. They need to not leave their goaltender out there to dry. They have one day to make some sort of change, but it needs to happen fast, because a 3-1 hole is a tough climb.
They’ve done it before, and they have been here before.
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