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No Offense, Penguins. You May Have a Problem!

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Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Senior Analyst

And that problem is a sudden lack of offense in game 1 against the Bruins. The Pittsburgh offense leads the playoffs with 44 goals scored and 13 on the power play. But they were completely shut down in the 3-0 loss to the Bruins in Saturday's Game 1.

The Penguins have allowed 2.58 goals per game during the postseason, the most of the four conference finalists. So much for defense. If Crosby and Malkin can't find a way to score, the Penguins will be in trouble in this series

Ian Davis
Ian Davis
Analyst

The only way that the Penguins can win this series is if they score goals at the rate that they did in their final two games against the Senators. In my opinion, Boston is going to win this series with ease. They are very hot right now and that is one of the most significant factors that a team can have going for them in the playoffs.

Michael Walker

I agree @Ian Davis, With Crosby and Malkin in an offensive slump and a weak defense, The Pens don't have a chance.

@Andrew Mack you're absolutely right

Ricky
Ricky
Columnist

The Penguins had the greater amount of chances early in the game, but I think Rask (with the help of his goalposts) got in their head. They missed the net a lot for such a great offensive team. I agree with @Ian Davis that this could be over sooner than expected if Crosby/Malkin are slumping and not playing hard in the defensive end. But what what frustrate me the most as a Penguins fan is the amount of crap Crosby/Malkin and the Penguins showed last night. Whether it was Crosby bumping into rask at the end of the 2nd, the cheap slash on Seguin in the third, whining to the refs during and after the game, or Malkin dropping the gloves with Bergeron WHILE PENGUINS WERE ON THE POWERPLAY !!!!!! What in the hell are these punks thinking???? They are arguably the best 2 players in the world and they are wasting their talents on all the dirty/punkish play. Leave that to the scumbag Matt Cooke and go score some goals. Why is Sid even thinking about engaging with Chara? Does Sid realize that one punch to the jaw will end his season?

Scott Whittum
Scott Whittum
Editor

The Penguins are not as tough as the Bruins and it will continue to show throughout this series. If Sidney Crosby even thinks about starting anything with Zdeno Chara , he can look forward to probably receiving a nice hard concussion that will leave out for a long period of time. If the Bruins can stay focused on the task at hand of imposing their will physically and not taking too many dumb penalties this series will be over quicker than expected.

Michael Walker

@Ricky , I agree with your in depth and straight forward assessment of how that game went so quickly down the tubes. Kudos to you, Buddy!

Dan Lifshatz
Dan Lifshatz
Columnist

It was just embarrassing to see how Crosby, Malkin, and Cooke acted in that game. They all played like 5 year olds, and complained and whined to refs. If this is the how the game is gonna be played, the Penguins are going to be in for a long series. They just remind me like Vancouver from 2011....a bunch of whining babies

Andrew Mack
Andrew Mack
Senior Columnist

The Penguins are certainly not finished after just one game, especially when they hit a bunch of posts and had some great opportunities. Rask played phenomenally. The most shocking thing was how the Bruins were able to frustrate Crosby, Malkin, etc. so easily. The Penguins don't seem to have any mental toughness. I'll stick with my original series prediction: Bruins in 6.

Ally Harris
Ally Harris
Analyst

The score of game one absolutely did not reflect the game. Rask was the reason that the Bruins won that game; the Penguins had so many chances, particularly in the first two periods. The Penguins don't have to change anything significant for game two, they just have to stay level-headed and make sure they don't get frustrated like they clearly did on Saturday night.
And as for Malkin being in a slump? He was absolutely flying in game one. The goals will come.

Josh Mahoney
Josh Mahoney
Editor

@Andrew Mack you're absolutely right. It sounds like a lot of people on this thread are overlooking the fact that the Penguins missed about three goals by a fraction of an inch, including one that skipped over Rask's pad and down his leg before barely missing going in my millimeters at the end of the first. If they go into the first tied 1-1 that's a different hockey game we see played out.

@Ricky @Scott Whittum you're both absolutely right about the physicality of the series. Boston knows that's their chance at winning is getting Pitt to try and play their game. I remember thinking as I was watching the first period that Pitt was doing a good job of playing like that at first but you could see it start to catch up with them. Then you get the interference on Sid and I think that's when it started to show that they can't maintain the type of physical pace the Bruins can. Those little punk moves that Ricky referred to are just more examples of them trying to play a style of game that they don't really understand.

If the Bruins can continue to impose their style of play this won't be a long series, but Pitt is a good team and we will see adjustments in tonight's game.

Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Senior Analyst

@Ally Harris, you know I only started following the NHL this year and the Penguins are my favorite team. I may be a little frustrated also in my first reply. I know that you, @Andrew Mack and @Josh Mahoney are right, this was a very winnable game. Maybe I'll go have a Rolling Rock!

Ricky
Ricky
Columnist

Great points @Ally Harris, game one was much closer than the score indicated. The Penguins do not need to panic, but do need to cut it out with the crap. They showed they are a tough team and can hit just as hard with the Bruins. They just lost their composure in game one and thus, got dominated in the third (I gave the Penguins a slight advantage over the B's in periods 1 & 2, even though it was 1-0). Malkin was by far the best player for the Penguins, and that is why it was so stupid of him to feel the need to prove his toughness by taking on Bergeron; he should have been on the ice for the powerplay to start the 3rd and try to even the score. The Penguins just got unlucky with the posts and have ran into a hot goaltender. Now, will they stick with it offensively and get to rask, or get frustrated if Rask continues to neutralize them? This series in a no way over, and the Penguins should still consider themselves favorites. I still see this game going 6 or 7 games and all the Bruins fans (I am a huge B's fan) saying that this is going to be over in 5 need to relax and understand the Penguins are still capable of winning this sereis. Going to be a great game tonight !

BJ
BJ
Columnist

This is the NHL-the most unpredictable of the 4 Major sports. No way is this series close from being over. Hockey series outcomes are normally decided by the play of the "hottest" goalie and the defense that is in front of them. The article mentioning that the Pens were giving up the most goals/game of the conference finalists is misleading. They are including Fleury's performance in the first 4 games of the playoffs. Since Vokoun has taken over--the Pens are 6-2,he has 1.98 goals against avg & a .937 save percentage--compare that with the Bruins Rask--9-4 2.06 & .933 and U see the Pens net-protector has been slightly better. Add that too the fact that the 2 best players in the world reside in Pittsburgh and they have a plethora of other high scoring wings and an underrated defense. The Pens had more than their share of scoring chances--that just missed--in Game 1. The Pens offensive attack can hit you in waves and to expect Rask to shut them down/out like that again is ridiculous. the Pens just need to take advantage and bury their scoring chances. Stay Disciplined--don't get pulled into that shenanigans like they did at the end of pd 2 and win more than 33% of their faceoffs...No Panic in the 'Burgh!! As a Pittsburgh native and PENS fan I'm not the least bit worried....1 win doesn't guarantee anything--Bruins fans should know better than get too far ahead of themselves--Remember 2010 and the collapse vs the Flyers when Bruins had 3-0 lead only to lose 4 straight--.I agree that Crosby and Malkin need to stay out of the fighting..wouldn't want anything stupid to happen to them---BUT part of me loves it--for years we have watched star hockey players run from physical confrontations--BUT the PENS stars won't be punked!!!

Andrew Mack

Now the Penguins are in trouble! What a pathetic showing in game 2. No heart.

Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Senior Analyst

What in the world is happening to the Pens? Boston comes in to Pittsburgh and dominates game 2. The Pens looked slow (which they're not) or tired. They had been averaging 4 goals a game in the playoffs. I am a Penguins fan, period. Can one of you guys break it down to me in a neutral fashion what is going on?

Ian Davis
Ian Davis
Analyst

In my opinion, last night really showed how the Bruins are a more solid team all around at this current time of the playoffs. They were able to break the puck out with ease from their zone, play a physical game, rely on great goaltending, and get quality shots in the offensive zone. Besides dealing with the problems of shaky goaltending from Vokoun, the Penguins' stars have not shown up in this series. The Penguins rely on their stars like Malkin and Crosby for their offense, and they have both been kept off the scoreboard in the first two games of this series. I think this series will be over in no more than 5 games.

Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Senior Analyst

Where is the Pens defense? They beat the Bruins 3 times during the season, 3 - 2, 2 - 1, 3 - 2. They didn't suddenly forget how to play. Maybe they need to go back to the style of play that brought them here. They are not a physical team, but they are talented.

Michael Walker

So now here the Pens are in game 3 and they have remembered how to play defense. The score is 1 - 1 with 6:03 to go in overtime. Can a playoff game end in a tie? Can someone help me out here?

BJ
BJ
Columnist

Hats off to the Bruins. Never in a million years could I have ever imagined my Pens scoring a grand total of just 2 goals in four games. Rask was off the charts and the Boston D did a very impressive job. Almost unimaginable that Crosby,Malkin & Letang could all be held scoreless in the series..Pens had only been shutout 2 times in their past 147 games---and RASK shuts us out twice in 4 games..We never led at any point in the Series....Still in SHOCK!!! We got our butts kicked. Congrats Bruins fans!!!

Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Senior Analyst

@BJ, that pretty much covers what happened. And what a class act for the way you put it. I can't see the Blackhawks stopping the Bruins either. They appear to be peaking at the perfect time. As you said, no one shuts down Crosby, Malkin and Letang for an entire game, much less a series.