TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. The Detroit Red Wings, an underdog like the Penguins in their first round series, were able to do something the Penguins weren’t able to do;
Steal Game 1 when they got excellent goaltending and were badly outplayed. You have to take advantage of those type of situations to have any chance. Just like Fleury last night, how many more games is Petr Mrazek going to play like that in the series?
The Red Wings were outshot 46-14 in a 3-2 win over the Lightning and were 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. A fluke win but it still counts as being up 1-0 in the series.
The first night of NHL playoff action on Wednesday saw the impact of role players standout, last night was star players stepping up for their respective teams.
For Detroit they got a two goal game from Pavel Datsyuk and for Anaheim Corey Perry netted two goals in their 4-2 win over the Jets, including the game winner. Detroit and Anaheim saw their first line players lead the way. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined for seven points.
The more you look at the Penguins – Rangers game, that was a squandered opportunity by the Penguins with their star players coming up small. In a game they were out-played and out-chanced, the Penguins still got key breaks on the night with strong goaltending, a goal from the 4th line, excellent work on the PK to keep the game close and they still managed just one goal.
2. Pavel Datsyuk
turns 37 in July. Can anyone picture Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby still playing at Datsyuk’s level when they are his age? I sure can’t. Datsyuk had 32 points in his last 29 regular season games and is still a premier two-way centerman who can dominate a series and to go with that, he’s rarely healthy as he has a bad knee. The stats don’t back it up but some coaches and players would vouch that he was the best player in the game during his prime years (Crosby’s early years) and still was up until the last couple seasons.
3. Trends over several months that happened in the regular season are almost always going to continue in the playoffs. Struggles to score, low quality scoring chances/shot attempts and penalties all continued for the Penguins in Game 1.
That’s why it’s so difficult to buy into the argument from the advance stats crowd that the Penguins puck possession ability will make this a tougher series than expected.
Those three bad trends are going to continue.
If anything the Penguins need to start taking more chances and gamble more with stretch passes instead of the conservative break the zone out as a team strategy and create a zone entry with a defenseman joining the rush on the outside.
4. Sidney Crosby played just 3:42 in the first period as the Penguins had four minor penalties in a 10:41 span. Beau Bennett played more than Crosby in the first period.
Even with the penalties, as a coaching staff it’s inexcusable not to get Crosby on the ice more, even if it means using him on the penalty kill. He’s not Alexander Semin out there.
5. The Penguins have three true top-6 forwards, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin
, and Patric Hornqvist. Malkin is ailing with a bad back and needs help, but the Penguins coaching staff has been against playing Malkin and Crosby together 5 v 5 and don’t look for it to happen anytime soon.
At even strength or 6 v 5, Crosby and Malkin played less than two minutes together in Game 1, almost all of that time came when the Penguins pulled the goalie.
An intriguing option is to load up a top line of Malkin – Crosby – Hornqvist, hope they can catch fire and win you a couple games.
Instead the game plan of trying to play a tight, low scoring game and get a couple lucky bounces will continue to be the strategy from here on out.