This one is a bit late, but hey better late then never! Sorry about the typos. I'm posting this before I go to work and don't have a chance to edit. In this edition we learn where Jason sites in the New Igloo and his quick review of an East Syracuse sports bar......
Well, to start off with I think this was the best played game of the series by both teams. It looks like they are settling in and starting to figure each other out a bit. The keys to winning has been scoring the first goal, having a lead going into the third and then frustrating the opposing team. The Lightning played their best 2nd period of the series, but still struggled to get into a flow offensively. Too many one rush and done attacks (which reminds me of the old arcade game Rush n’ Attack, but I digress).
Stamkos and Hedman look like they haven’t ramped up to the playoff intensity. It looks like they are playing at regular season speed out there. Marty St Louis continues to be the MVP for this team and continues to show why the number 26 will be the first number retired by the organization. Lecavalier had another strong game, he’s doing what Malone hasn’t been able to do. Which is get in front of the net and cause some chaos.
I think we’ll see our first roster changes in game four as Mr. Downie and Mr. Kunitz could be enjoying some beach…er bench time courtesy of the NHL. Downie was way too amped up in the first period and left his feet to hit Lovejoy. Kunitz, well that was as blatant an elbow as you can have.
The Lightning took a while to settle down and by the time they did, the damage was done. I think they were the better team after they were down 2-0, but by then the Pens were content to go into “New Jersey Devils” mode and wait back to shut down their attack. They should be a little more even in Game 4, but it’s a shame they wasted the opportunity to keep home ice advantage in the series.
Other than the first goal I thought Roloson had his best game – the stop on Neal was highway robbery. Fleury was strong when he had to be, but the Pens did another phenomenal job of blocking shots at the point. The faceoff stats were pretty much even (36/35 in favor of the Pens) but I thought Pittsburgh won the more important draws (i.e. offensive zone face-offs). For instance Jordan Staal was at 44% overall, but 60% in the Lightning zone.
Well Game 3 took me away from my home away from home, section 205, row F seat 1 and to the fine establishment of Tully's in Williamsville, NY (outside of Buffalo). First of all, it was cool to watch the Pens-Bolts and the Sabers-Flyers game at the same time. second, if you find yourself in Western NY, get the Tully's tenders. They rock.
As for Game 3, it is always good to get the first goal, but it was a goal Rolsson should have stopped. Chris Conner set a small screen in front of the Tampa netminder as Max Talbot shot the puck, but it was a shot he should have stopped in his sleep. The 2nd goal, less thana minute later, was a great individual play by Mike Rupp. He faked Victor Hedmen out of his jock at the blue line, then threw a great backhand pass over to Aaron Asham for an easy goal. He first thought, "That was Mike Rupp??"
After the 2nd goal, Lightning coach Guy Boucher called a timeout and for the rest of the game I thout the Lightning were the better team. Chief, I agree with you that the Pens sat back and tried to win the game by scoring only 2 goals. Welcome to the new style of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey. Get a lead and hold on for dear life. I guess it is a good strategy when your goalie plays as well as Marc Andre Fluery. The man stood on his head all game and is the reason Tampa scored 2 goals and not 6.
The Penguins power play continues to amaze me that they are so inept and their penalty killing does not have an answer to stop the Tampa man advantage. The Lightning enter the zone with ease and they look like a team that expects to convert on the man advantage. Martin St. Louis may be the most under-appreciated player in the NHL. The man just flat out produces. I do have to mention and agree that Rolsson played great after the first goal...what a stop on Chris Conner late in the game. Should be the play of the night.
If you saw the game you saw the hits thrown Chris Kunitz and Steve Downie. Kunitz hit against Ggane resembled the Matt Cooke hit and Downie tried to jump over the boards to hit Ben Lovejoy. Ithi Downie gets a game and Kunitz gets 3. If this happens, it is a bigger loss to the Pens. They need Kunitz in the lineup and to produce. Downie is a productive player but the Bolts have enough firepower to get thru a few games without him.
Penguins 3 stars
Marc Andre Fluery - He had another great game and kept the Lightning at bay as tried to ge the go ahead goal.
Mike Rupp- On a team that doesn't have much offensively, you need a guy to step up and make a grat play and he definately did
Max Talbot - Tyler Kennedy deserved consideration, but Talbot got the big first goal and more importantly was out there against the Tampa big buns as they tried to tie the game. I haven't seen Talbot play this well since the 2009 playoffs.
Pens players that need to step it up
Paul Martin - has passed poorly all series, has missed checks, and looks lost on the 2nd PP unit.
Chris Kunitz - the only thing he did was throw an elbow at Simon Gagne....ladies and gents, welcomeMike Comrie to the Pens lineup.
James Neal - he created some opportunities but he needs to finish one chance
Alex Kovalev- if he wasn't crushed into Rolsson, i wouldn't have known that he played
Tully’s appreciates the fine words, I’m sure.
Well the ban-hammer has come down and both Downie and Kunitz will be sitting for one game per the NHL. Possible replacements? I’m thinking the Lightning roll with 7 defensemen with Randy Jones suiting up and maybe a Mr. Hilary Duff himself gets 5 minutes of ice time. Bigger loss for the Pens I think simply because the Bolts have more depth to play from.
I’m developing a strong dislike for Aaron Asham, by the way. Only the Lightning should have gritty, 4th line grinders that chip in the occasional goal. That’s the way the playoffs go, the team that wins a series is usually the one getting secondary scoring from the grinders. Just for knowledge’s sake – Dominic Moore had 20 minutes of ice time in the game.
St Louis has 52 points in 48 career playoff games including 7 game winning goals in the playoffs. The Lightning as an organization only have 27 playoff wins. So he is definitely a producer when it counts.
Three starts for the Lightning last night
Dwayne Rolosson – his stops on Conner and Neal kept the Bolts within striking distance.
Vincent Lecavalier – Showing he’s the captain for a reason
Marty St Louis – Mr. Lightning adds to his legend
Steven Stamkos – He picked up an assist, but still has been ineffective at best. He has to show that he can make the leap to the next level to be considered a true star in the league
Victor Hedman – He looks like his confidence is shot right now.
Steve Downie – Two bad penalties (even if one was negated by the goal) and now he costs his team by getting suspended.
I look for Game 4 to be a carbon copy of Game 3. The Lightning pushing the action with the Pens countering. The Bolts figure out how to beat Fleury at even strength and on the power play for a 4-2 win.
How about the announcement that Game 5 will start at noon on Saturday? Enjoy a nice latte with your hockey, bub!
Tully's is the best bar in the Buffalo suburbs that really caters to hockey fans. chiefer if you make your way up here, we'll go and watch some pucks.
My thoughts on tonight are that Eric Tangradi, not Mike Comrie, will be in the lineup tonight. Tangradi has played 1 games since his concussion back in February and looked decent against Atlanta in the season finale. Comrie has played a few games late in the season and wasn't noticeable. Mr. Hilary Duff's only goal this year was an empty netter. Tangradi will give them some size and toughness and has a big upside. Considering the Pens top line is now their 4th line, I expect Tangradi to play on the wing with Staal and Kennedy.
I have a good feeling about tonight. The Pens will get a power play goal. I know i am going out on a limb but I think they will get 1 and possible 2 goals on the man advantage. Fluery will face over 40 shots and the Pens will win 4-3 heading back to Pittsburgh. I don't base this prediction on knowledge but just a hunch that the Pens will find their groove on the PP.