May 25, 2008

Pens-Red Wings Game One Thoughts

Unchartered waters

They were on the road for the first game in a series for the first time and now, they trail in a series for the first time in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh has faced little adversity so far in the post-season and as they sit in front of their final hurdle, their backs are firmly against the wall. They were outplayed, out shot, and out hustled tonight, something they are surely not used to. The Red Wings defense shut down the offensive juggernaut that the Penguins brought into Joe Louis Arena. It was a frustrating night for a team that somehow managed to post 19 shots on Chris Osgood.

It is just one game and to me, it's a good loss. Pittsburgh's been so dominant in the playoffs and have yet to have that "worried" feeling in their gut. They needed a good ass kicking. The 4-0 loss might be a well-needed wakeup call for the team and make them realize that winning the Stanley Cup isn't as easy as the first three rounds made it seem to be. Michel Therrien and his coaching staff now realize what they're up against. Detroit is a complete team on both sides of the ice. They need to figure out a way to get quality chances on Osgood and breakdown the Red Wing defense.

The good that the Pens can take from the loss is that Detroit's first two goals came off of boneheaded mistakes. Jarkko Ruutu's failed clearance to get a line change and the mixup in the back between an unexpectant Evgeni Malkin led to both of Mikael Samuelsson's goals. Dan Cleary's short-handed tally late in the third was the result of a friendly home-ice bounce off the boards. Those were bad goals that could have been avoided. Hopefully, Pittsburgh will now realize any minor mistake will be deadly and whatever chances they get (0-5 on the power-play) they must cash in on, otherwise Motown will be celebrating a fourth Stanley Cup title in eleven years.

Ballhype: hype it up!


PghWriter1979 said...

Eh, I think the coaching staff already realized who they were playing, as did the team. They just seemed to wilt after that first goal by Detroit - and perhaps panicked because they were behind the 'great' Wings in the Cup Finals. Beyond that, they didn't play a patient game, they didn't stick to their system (which would have at least kept them within a goal, if not produced one or two of their own).

Fleury was horribly average, and went down far too early on that first Samuelson goal. And I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Rutuu finds himself in the press box for game 2 - not a smart performance from him.

Stevens8204 said...

Discipline is didn't exist really at all in Game 1

Hip said...

@1979 - Roberts in for Ruutu. No way I make Hall sit after winning every fricking faceoff he seemingly took.

PghWriter1979 said...

Absolutely, Hip - Hall is a demon in the face-off circle, and they need all the help they can get there. I hear Laraque might sit for game 2, though with Rutuu staying in... or so the Post-Gazette says. Interesting choice.

Hip said...

Yeah, I just saw BGL is getting the bench too. I know he can't skate with these boys, but I feel badly - he's played within himself this postseason and gotten the job done. Ruutu was the punk out there being stupid last night. But I'm sure HCMT has had a heart to heart with Ruuts and he's back on track. And we all know JR can get it done too.

The more I think about the new line combos, the more I like them.

PghWriter1979 said...

Yeah, looks like the Pens are going for some speed to prevent Detroit from setting up that lock in the neutral zone - so BGL has to take a seat, sadly. You're right, he has played his game, and done it well.

As for the lines, I like Malone with Sid and Hossa; gives them a physical presence in front of the net to counter Holmstrom. I also like Talbot on that second line - good to see an 'energy' guy there to mix it up a bit and take pressure off of Malkin.