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The Sports Daily > The Pensblog
Playoff Gameday: Eastern Conference Finals Game 4

PITTSBURGH VS OTTAWA

CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE – OTTAWA, CA

8:00 PM EST. NBCSN

SENATORS LEAD THE SERIES 2-1

I had two thoughts immediately after game 3. The first was, I am going to eat this late-night chili dog out of pure sadness and despair, and the second was the Pens are going to win this god damn series.

The series, to this point, has been weird and ultra reactionary. First the Pens couldn’t solve the trap, then they could, now they can’t again, we’re mired in a goalie controversy somehow, and Erik Karlsson is apparently adorable for being a dick. Everything is weird right now.

I keep referring back to it and G mentioned it in the recap but this feels so much like last season’s ECF. Pens coming off an emotionally draining series, expecting an easier time and finding themselves in the thick of a firefight. The biggest difference right now is that at least last season they were healthy. The series may very well hinge on the health of Rust, Hornqvist and Schultz and how quickly they can re-acclimate to the series. You either have the horses or you don’t and Mark Streit ain’t the one.

There are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic right now though. Stop, Where are you going. Why are you walking away I’m serious. Hey stop. No seriously, just fucking listen.

Like Bill West pointed out on twitter, it’s not often you see the gray/actual result this far left or right of the middle. The Senators were the beneficiaries of an incredible amount of puck luck in game 3.  G had this chart at the end of the recap that showed more data to attribute to that.

Basically the Sens had 6 high quality chances and buried 5 of them. This is what we call unsustainable. Shit evens out.

Craig Anderson is a career .916 goalie. In this series Craig Anderson is a .964 goalie. Plenty of good team’s playoff runs have been derailed by a hot goalie. Plenty of teams steal a couple games with a hot goalie and still ended up losing the series. Small sample sizes are the devil but I still like the Pens chances.

Luckily you can only lose game 3 once. Today is a new day and a new game. Let’s Ride.

Lines: The health of Rust, Schultz and Hornqvist means a whole lot right now. Rust and Hornqvist skated before practice, with some reporters mentioning that Hornqvist especially looked like he was really laboring. Schultz didn’t skate at all yesterday, but Sullivan said that was a part of, “his plan.”

Might be 7D again, and I really don’t give a shit who starts in goal.

Stalberg back for Ottawa. No clue what’s up with Chris Wideman.

Pittsburgh:

Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary

Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel

Hagelin-Bonino-Wilson

Cullen-Rowney

Dumoulin-Hainsey

Maatta-Daley

Cole-Ruhwedel

Streit

Fleury/Murray

Ottawa:

MacArthur-Turris-Hoffman

Dzingel-Brassard-Burrows

Ryan-Pageau-Stone

Pyatt-Smith-Stalberg

Methot-Karlsson

Phaneuf-Ceci

Harpur-Wideman

Anderson-Condom

After all the reasons listed above the one thing I keep coming back to is that I still believe in this team – that’s there’s so many reasons to still believe in this team. Being a fan means being misguided and irrational from time to time, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening right now.

The Pens have answered every challenge put in front of them since Mike Sullivan took the bench last year. Until this team is dead and buried and down by 4 games, not 1, or 2, or 3, I’m gonna ride with them.

Every time this has shit the bed they have found a way to unshit the bed the next time out. Game 5 vs Columbus, Game 7 vs Washington, Games 6 & 7 vs Tampa last year, and the list goes on. There’s no reason to think this team won’t do it again tonight because they’ve proven that’s what they do.

With a win tonight it becomes a best of 3 hockey and the Pens will have home ice. Take it one shift, one goal, one period at a time.

Unshit the bed Penguins.

Do It

One thought on “Playoff Gameday: Eastern Conference Finals Game 4

  1. How in the hell are we at game 4 of the ECF and for some reason Sullivan decides that he better pull Fleury because he had a bad 3 minutes full of bad bounces and make Matt Murray the starter, YET Conner “can’t do anything right to save my life” Sheary is still in the lineup and Daniel Fucking Sprong is sitting in the press box. Unbelievable.

    Like

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