For the first time this postseason, the Penguins find themselves trailing in a series. This is the same postseason that they have played the team with the 4th best record in the league (and 3rd in the East) and the team with the best record in the league, so that’s pretty damn remarkable.
Hockey is a fickle beast at times. It’s also a liar sometimes, because we were all told the Pens would coast through this round.
And while they’re trailing to a team that got here by virtue of playing the 7th best team and 5th best team in the Eastern Conference, reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.
[Spoiler Alert: Sometimes your favorite team is going to fall behind in any given series.]
At face value, last night was nothing more than the Pens playing like they just got diagnosed with chlamydia and had to call up everyone they’ve ever slept with. If you dig a little bit for some deeper meaning, you won’t find it.
Get the belt, Dad.
And he’s right. From top to bottom, the entire team played like shit. It started in the crease and permeated throughout the rest of the lineup. That’s not to say that this loss was on Fleury, but he was markedly not good. The defense in front of him made things a lot worse, too. Mix it all together with an offense that has only managed one goal in each of the 3 games this series and you get shitseeds. You know what you get when you plant shitseeds?
But be not afraid, Penguins fans, because the last time this team got smoked this bad, they replied with a statement game a few nights later. However, it does turn Game 4 into as much of a must-win as you get this early in a series on Friday night.
Though they were without Jultz, Hornqvist, and Rust all through injury, Daley and Streit returned to the lineup, meaning 7 D were dressed. Also meant double shifting Crosby and Malkin, which should’ve been fine and good.
What’s not fine and good is when a road playoff game ends 48 seconds after the opening puck drop. It came from a broken play off a faceoff in which Olli Maatta couldn’t tie up Burrow’s stick and prevent him from making a play on the puck. The winds of shit were in the air as Hoffman worked it back down low to Burrows behind the net to circle and feed Turris for the shot that ricocheted off the end wall. Not entirely sure what Fleury was reading there, but it was probably something out of Bobby Ryan’s library as he pulled himself off the post and couldn’t get back before Hoffman banked it home to win the game. 1-0
As expected by literally everyone on the internet, Ottawa started to sit back and hold on for the remaining 59 minutes and 12 seconds, which was about as surprising as a Trump toilet tweet. The Pens started bringing it and pouring it on, attempting 9 shots in about 3 minutes of play, but instead of getting the equalizer, the Senators sealed the deal. Brassard reacted first to a deflected dump in the neutral zone, smoked by Ruhwedel and circled the wagon to work it back down to Bobby Ryan. He got some help from Methot dropping deep into the zone and it ended with Methot throwing the puck at the cage, off Fleury’s make, off Cole, off Fleury again, and across the goal line. 2-0
Cole’s rough game continued about two minutes later, this time on a shift with Mark Streit. Cole had his clearance flagged down and kept in for Ryan, Brassard, and MacArthur to embarrass the hell out of Streit for the Brassard tap in. 3-0
And while you were too busy trying to come up with a clever tweet about Streit playing himself “Streit out of the lineup” or some shit like that, Zack Smith was too busy throat-fucking the Pens, throwing a shot high off the glass, torching Dumoulin, and beating a lost Fleury with a backhand wraparound. 4-0
Cannot and should not ever give up a backhand wraparound goal Get real. Three goals in 2:18 + 4 goals on 9 shots = the end of Fleury’s night. By god, that’s Matt Murray’s music.
The game was over, but it didn’t stop the Pens from continuing to like they took a bunch of ether and tried to play ice hockey.
The game was over, but Anderson’s shutout bid was still on. And after both teams traded off powerplay chances to start the third, Hoffman found himself in the box for tripping Malkin and being a General Dickhead. It took the Pens to being down 5-0 and going approximately 0-for-826 on the peep this round to finally register a PPG. Elite pass from Phil and better deflection from 87. 5-1
Last night brings that to 13-2. Montreal 2010 though…
- One positive takeaway is that Murray looked sharp and showed no lingering effects of the lower body injury in making 20 saves. Still, it makes for easy articles, posts, and discussions as far as who should start Game 4. We would all have to agree that you start the goalie that gives you the best chance to win. Is that Murray or is that Fleury? I know I, for one, have already build my house on Camp Murray.
- Another kind of positive was that the Sens had 6 unblocked shots in the high danger areas. They scored on five of them. Seems unsustainable if you ask me.
- The final positive takeaway was nicely put by Meesh.
Game 4 Friday night. Even things up then. Go Pens.