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The Sports Daily > The Pensblog
Playoff Gameday: Round 1 Game 5

PITTSBURGH VS COLUMBUS

PPG PAINTS ARENA – PITTSBURGH, PA

7:00 PM EST. NHL NETWORK/ROOT SPORTS

PENS LEAD THE SERIES 3-1

Welp, the Pens finally lost a playoff game.

Make no mistake, when people go on about the NHL playoffs they’re mostly right. The intensity, the pace, the stakes, the screaming at the TV, the nail biting,  the couch punching, all that shit is real. Which is why when your team loses a 5-4 game, on the road, while leading the series 3-0, things can seem, superficially, a lot worse than they actually are.

 The Pens losing game 4 is basically the equivalent to some lady who went out on a date one time with Bill O’Reilly saying he was a real gentleman. There’s always gonna be outliers.

Elimination games come for us all – try and enjoy the ride. Tonight the Pens are back in Pittsburgh with a chance to close out on home ice like they did 3 times last year. The Jackets emotional wad has been blown. Time to finish this thing.

LINES: No real news or changes for either team. Tortarella played his 3rd line more than his 1st in game 4 because he’s smart and stuff. The BJs still have to dress Kyle Quincey in 2017 for some reason.

Pittsburgh:

Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary

Rust-Malkin-Kessel

Wilson-Bonino-Hornqvist

Rowney-Cullen-Kuhnhackl

Dumoulin-Hainsey

Cole-Schultz

Maatta-Daley

Fleury-Jarry 

Cbus:

Atkinson-Dubinsky-Foligno

Saad-Wennberg-Jenner

Calvert-Karlsson-Anderson

Sedlak-Gagner-Bjorkstrand

Johnson-Savard

Jones-Quincey

Nutivaara-Carlsson

Bob-Korpisalo

Some random thoughts and observations heading into tonight:

Columbus is so trash even Taco Bell has no respect for it

I give it 2 months before Boone Jenner survives solely off of these

This is pretty much true. Getting goals from Jack Johnson, Josh Anderson, William Karlsson, Markus Nutivaara, and Boone Jenner certainly seems like an unsustainable proposition.

However, regression to the mean is a thing. After stopping 97% of shots in Pittsburgh, Fleury only managed to save 87% during the two games in Columbus, making his .923 save percentage for the playoffs a little misleading. Not every goal was just his fault certainly, but it would be nice to cut out the ones that make me want to huff those fine PPG Paints.

Tom Kuhnhackl goals give me life. I was worried about the 4th line coming into this series but they’ve been mostly fine, which is about all you need your 4th line to be.

Crosby was sorta bad in game 4 and that usually doesn’t happen two games in a row.

Sounds like in Wednesday’s practice there was a lot of talk about getting off to a better start. That’s probably a thing worth talking about!

It’s an old cliche but a true one – the first goal tonight is going to be huge. The Pens have to be better at the jump and plant that seed of doubt into Columbus head. The bright side is that Sullivan certainly knows how to adjust and get the team going in the right direction. In light of recent news, this is even more reason to be thankful he’s around.

Wow, what a magical run. Congrats Ron.

The longer this series drags out the fewer days the Pens have to get rested and ready to dig in for the long haul. After the shenanigans Tuesday night, there was surely a stern line drawn by Mike Sullivan in regards to how the team is expected to play. Yes, the Pens need to match the desperation the BJs brought to game 4, and yes the goaltending was shaky, and yes the Pens are missing two middle six forwards, their top defenseman and their goaltender, but they’re the better team in this series and game 4 might even be the best evidence of that. Because through all the bullshit that went down, it was still only 5-4.

Time to add some more misery to this miserable franchise.

PENS IN 5

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