Posts Tagged ‘playoffs’

Lights Out at the Igloo

Photo courtesy of macwagen

It’s over.

I’m calm enough now to actually write about it; I was a hyperactive wreck last night for about an hour after the game finished.

So after the dust has settled, a new day begins in Pittsburgh with the Pens failing to capture Lord Stanley’s Cup.

And you know what? That’s ok.

C’mon, raise your hands – who among you thought the Penguins were finished after Game 2? I’ll admit I was seriously concerned: no goals in nearly 135 minutes? A powerhouse, cloying defense that attracted the puck like a magnet pulls on iron?

Yeah, I think even the most diehard of us were freaked out. (more…)

Home Sweet Mellon

Photo courtesy of jomilo75

Sheesh, I go away on vacation for ten days and the ice caves in.

So we now find our once-indomitable Penguins in the odd position of being behind in this year’s playoff run. By two games.

And scoring no goals.

Someone check the Mellon Arena basement; did the right team show up in Detroit on Saturday and Monday?

I’ve watched the Finals with two hands planted firmly in front of my face. My nice big LCD screen looks weird when framed by my fingers, letmetellyou.

But take heart, fans – all is not lost.

It’s only two games. With two quick, solid wins here at home, the Penguins will be right back in it. Remember, Detroit went up 2-0 on Nashville in the first round with complete dominance of the Predators. And then promptly lost the next two in Nashville; the “inevitable sweep” predicted by analysts died a quick death.

And don’t forget Dallas; Detroit had them on the ropes 3-0 when the real Stars finally arrived and took two games before giving up in Game Six.

There’s two big keys to tonight’s game:

1.) SCORE GOALS. Not much to say here.

2.) Dump-n-chase the puck. It’s clear Detroit’s booooooring trap style is just too stifling (and proves this is only New Jersey in different uniforms) to keep carrying the puck in. Dump it deep off the boards and follow through and they’ll generate the possession and scoring chances they need to take the win.

Honestly, once the ‘stigma’ of Osgood’s invincibility is broken, the dam will bust and we’ll see a scoring rampage from our key players.

So don’t lose faith, Penguin fans. It ain’t over until the final horn sounds.

Watch for Penguins, courtesy of jomilo75

One Stomping Good Night (x2)

Photo courtesy of daveynin

Two down, two to go as the Penguins made my weekend that much cheerier, despite all the rain. Hammering the Flyers – in more ways than one – was one of many highlights to a great Mother’s Day weekend.

As I’d predicted earlier last week, the Pens relied not only on Malkin (Game 1 – 2 goals) and Crosby (Game 2 – 2 points) but also their other offensive threats to elevate Penguins play; players who bear “marquee” names such as Talbot, Staal, Dupuis, Roberts, Kennedy…heck, the list pretty much includes the whole team. It may not have the rhinestone name glitter of the Red Wings’ roster, but just like our hometown, the Pens are all blue-collar, get-it-done players. And that’s what matters in this series.

(Congrats, by the way, to the Penguins for the impressive seven straight playoff wins at home!)

You know the Penguins making an impact when my own wife knows who Maxime Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, and Pascal Dupuis are. That’s saying a lot for the team-spirited play the Penguins have been exhibiting since Game 1, Round 1. The Flyers have quite the challenge ahead of them – keeping Malkin and Crosby down isn’t going to cut it, as they’ve shown in the past two games. And now that they’re missing Timonen and possibly Coburn…

If the Pens can keep up their physical play as well as scoring when Hatcher keeps going to the box, the ‘burgh boys may well sneak one (if not both!) game out of the Wachovia Center in Philly. The Penguins are only halfway there, but at least they can see the end of the series.

The Flyers need a telescope and a way to curve time.

It’s not over yet, fans. But it’s getting close. Is it Tuesday yet?

Roberts for Prez 08, courtesy of daveynin

No Heart in "Filth"adelphia

Photo courtesy of jeletsgoflyers

Yep, that’s right. The “City of Brotherly Love” is anything but, when it comes to NHL hockey. One of the longest anti-social rivalries between teams in the modern NHL, this series is going to have it all: goals, goaltending, grit, fights and fan-smack.

Considering the Flyer’s ‘theme’ for this year has been “Vengeance,” paraded around town with gigantic bilboards of Riley Cote and his raised fists, it appears to all that the Broad Street Bullies never really left.

So Friday at 7:30 we’ve got Game One of the Intrastate Beatdown. Let’s look more in-depth at what the Flyers are going to have to face – and what the Pens have to look forward to, after the jump. (more…)

Lotsa Hossa

Photo courtesy of jcardinal18

All Hossa doubters can now be quiet.

After Hossa’s 2 goals yesterday afternoon, he’s put any and all doubt about his playoff contribution ability to rest; the clincher was the OT goal scored that sealed the Penguins victory on Sunday as well as finishing off the Rangers in the semi-final round.

Next up? The reviled Philadelphia Flyers. First game is on Friday at the Mellon Arena, time TBD (but most likely a 7 or 7:30 pm start).

Now, here’s a question for you Pens fans – especially those who’ve been watching NBC’s coverage of the games. Are you or are you not annoyed with Eddie Olczyk’s apparent anti-Penguins bias during commentary? His shameless pulling for the Rangers highly annoyed me, especially during yesterday’s broadcast. I’ve always respected him as a great Pens blue-liner and then commentator on the radio (before he took the coaching job) but after he was fired, it’s like he has this chip on his shoulder…

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like he’s just bitter because Therrian has turned the team around so quickly. Agree? Disagree?

Meantimes, it’s Flyer-stomping time. I’ll get a match-up breakdown later in the week, along with my prediction.

hossa, original photo courtesy of jcardinal18

Pens Report: Jagr, Rangers…DENIED!

Photo courtesy of Dan4th

They entered enemy territory.

They suffered over 40 hits.

They saw over a five minute stretch of penalties, including nearly a minute of two five-on-threes.

They saw Jagr in prime early-90s form.

And yet…they scored 5 goals. Went 2-3 on the power play. Faced 39 shots, including a furious shot-clogged second period. Nine Penguins had at least a point tallied in the game. Malkin netted two power play goals; fitting in many ways, since news came earlier yesterday that he was one of the three finalists for the Hart trophy.

Once again, the Penguins come out on top.

If you saw the game last night, you know the feeling all of us are having today. If you didn’t, watch the highlights, because honestly, words can’t do it justice.

I’ll admit, Jagr looked great – it was like watching him back in ’92, tearing up opponents and being a menace to the opposing netminder. But the Penguins defense held up; Jagr only netted one goal on the evening despite putting out nearly 25% of the Ranger’s shots on goal. (And I’ll give him credit, his wraparound was a beautiful goal. Almost brought a tear to my eye…) But in the end, Fleury was a wall when needed, and that made the difference.

Game Four on Thursday, 7 p.m. Let’s finish this, Penguins!

080228 Marc-Andre Fleury, courtesy of Dan4th

Penguins Report: New York Beatdown

Photo courtesy of Sgt. Pepperedjane

Thank you, Penguins!

Thank you, Pens fans!

The last three days have been fantastic for me and my Penguins-crazed family in more ways than one.

Shall I count them?

Two wins over the hated Rangers, a furious and awesome comeback in Game One, a stonewalling shutout by Fleury in Game Two, and an Avery beatdown to segue into the next two games in New York. (The best view of the fight is at 1:15 in the video clip.)

What more could a Pens fan ask for?

Being at the game.

Well, ok, so I didn’t get that far.

Still, in watching the game from the comfort of my living room, surround sound on full blast, it felt like I was right there amongst the crowd at the Mellon Arena yesterday afternoon. The energy was electric, the noise awesome, and the outcome outstanding.

And I was thrilled to see my prediction come true. In the waning seconds of Game Two, Sean Avery did his usual annoying play and roughly tapped Fleury on the back as he moved to the front of the crease. As play wound down, Fleury did as any goalie would do defending his turf and slapped Avery in the back of the legs. Avery turned and tried to spear Fleury and was met with the fury of Hal Gill’s fists as they came flying out of his gloves. The shining moment? As Avery hit the boards, Laraque had skated over and grabbed him just as Gill led with a right.

Make note, New York: don’t mess with the Penguins.

The hockey world sat up and took notice after last night’s shutdown of the New York trapping game. The Pens didn’t just defend against it, they practically broke it. Transitions in the center were plentiful, the energy was 100% from start to finish, and the press into the Ranger’s zone was relentless. In this game, the Penguins proved that Ottawa wasn’t a fluke.

These guys want the Cup. And you know what? Every game they play, I think the reality is that much closer.

Now the quest to find a good location to watch Game Three on Tuesday. If any of you have suggestions to pass onto your fellow fans, please do so below. Until then, keep them towels waving!

It’s Towel Time!, courtesy of Sgt. Pepperedjane

Steel City v Big Apple

Photo courtesy of SouthCentral

Ok, Penguins Nation, it’s been decided.

After Joffrey Lupul’s game winner in OT last night over here in Washington, the stage has finally been set for a standard playoff rematch for our beloved Penguins. Next up? The New York Rangers.

You may commence booing and hissing. I’ll wait, since I’ll join you.

Ok. Feel better?

So, are we looking at another Ottawa-style rollover? Probably not. This’ll be a hard-fought series, in my opinion, but won’t go to seven games. And I’m confident – like all of you, no doubt – that our Penguins shall triumph over the Blue Shirts of Broadway.

So let’s look at the nitty-gritty, shall we?

(more…)

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