Penguins – Blue Jackets Series Fallout


Penguins – Blue Jackets Series Fallout “We just played one of the top teams in the league. I believe our best hockey is ahead of us.” — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan “A very good team we played, and we had no fear. I’m proud of our club. That didn’t feel like a 4-1 series. But they win it.” — Jackets coach John Tortorella GAME 5 The Pittsburgh Penguins are off to Round 2 with a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets, doing quick work in the first round for the second consecutive year. Games 3 and 4 had a ton of ebbs and flows and Game 5 also lived up to that reputation. Pittsburgh after building a 3-0 lead, saw the game turned into just a 3-2 lead but when an official waved off a Blue Jackets game tying goal and called Alex Wenneberg for interfering goaltender Marc Andre Fleury,Read More »

Penguins – Blue Jackets: Telling signs series could extend beyond Game 5?


PIT-CBJ GAME 4 FALLOUT “I don’t think we played the game the right way. You’ve got to stay on the right side of people. You’ve got to have some depth to your attack. You’ve got to reload on the 50-50 battles. If you don’t pay attention to those details, you’re going to give up odd-man rushes or high quality chances. We weren’t committed like our team usually is. I know we’re better. I know we will be better. We certainly weren’t good enough tonight” — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. The Columbus Blue Jackets forced a Game 5 with a 5-4 win on Tuesday night and while the Penguins have been the far better team in the series, Pittsburgh is a lucky break from a Brandon Dubinsky shot going off Marc Andre Fleury’s head in Game 3 from this series being tied 2-2 right now. Are there any signs that thisRead More »

NHL Playoffs: Capitals running into a bad matchup?


NHL Playoffs: Leafs giving Caps similar problems that the Penguins do Are the Washington Capitals living up to their reputation of being playoff chokers? Or are they just running into a bad matchup? A week from now regarding the Capitals we’re either going to be talking about the Capitals getting pushed in Round 1 potentially being a positive for them moving forward or discussing a shocking Round 2 matchup between the Penguins and Leafs. Whether the Leafs can finish the job remains to be seen but the Leafs were badly overlooked in this series, many predicted a sweep, just from the standpoint the Capitals are the President Trophy winners and Toronto’s best players are a bunch of kids. Last post-season the Capitals struggled against a Penguins team built with skill and speed. What does Toronto have? The Leads are certainly not the Penguins but like Pittsburgh they have more speedRead More »

Game 3 Fallout: Superior High-End Talent wins out again


Penguins take 3-0 series lead behind their biggest strength GAME 3 STORYLINE The Columbus Blue Jackets scored 10 seconds into game…….. scored 3 goals on their first six shots……..and finally solved Marc Andre Fleury who was giving up juicy rebounds all night. Yet, what played out again in Game 3 was the Penguins superior high-end talent winning out. The Penguins and Blue Jackets were close in regular season points and Columbus finished with the fourth most points in the NHL. But, the discrepancy in high-end talent between the Penguins and Blue Jackets is just on another level and that’s even with the Penguins missing Kris Letang and their No. 1 goaltender. It’s the story of the series and why Pittsburgh has a 3-0 series lead. A lot of headlines Monday morning will be talking about the Penguins resilency, their leadership and so on…… It’s talent and having the right coachRead More »

Game 2: Breaking down why the Penguins having control of the series


Game 2: Few Signs this series will change Some say a series doesn’t begin until the home team loses. That’s about the only thing the Columbus Blue Jackets have going for them into Game 3. Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win in Game 2 had to be a demoralizing loss for the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets did a lot of things they wanted to do and still came out with just one goal. “I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “I’m proud of our club. The way they’ve handled themselves. The way they’ve done all the things we’re asking them to do.” Columbus put 40 shots on goal, won the possession game again (60-48, 5v5), were +5 in scoring chances, and an improvement from Game 1, Columbus in the first half of game 2 were able to attack off the rushRead More »

Game 2 Adjustments: All eyes on Columbus breaking Pens 5-man Collapse


Game 2 Look Ahead: Blue Jackets’s ability to make it a tough night for Fleury Marc Andre Fleury has not made consecutive starts since January 8, more than three months ago. Tonight he makes his second straight playoff start with Matt Murray on the shelf and regardless of whether Fleury shuts the Blue Jackets out or give up five goals tonight, he’ll be making a third straight start Sunday in Game 3. The Penguins while mum on a timeline for Matt Murray, are certain Murray’s going to miss at least the next two games, but could be an option to play late in the series, sources say. This has a chance of being Marc Andre Fleury’s series from the obvious that Matt Murray’s injured or if Fleury gets red-hot and runs off some consecutive wins, the Penguins could opt to wait things out with Murray even if he’s ready play aRead More »

Game 1: Examining the ‘Eye Test’ vs the ‘Numbers’ from Pens – Jackets


Game 1: Eye Test vs the Numbers 1. The Columbus Blue Jackets had a 48-34 edge in 5 v 5 shot attempts in Game 1 and over last two games (1 regular season/1 playoff game) between the Penguins and Blue Jackets, Columbus has out-attempted Pittsburgh 108 to 64 at even strength. Yet, Pittsburgh has outscored Columbus 5-1 over that span during 5 v 5 play. Wednesday night was a classic case talked about before the series where if the Penguins get out-attempted, it’s not going to be a big deal. In Game 1, Pittsburgh had the high danger scoring chances edge, 6-3, in 5 v 5 play and in all situations Pittsburgh had a 9-4 edge. Pittsburgh allowed just 3 high danger chances at even strength. What a testament to their defensive team play. From the forwards to the defensemen, to Marc Andre Fleury, everybody did their job. This wasRead More »

Game 1: Pens show 2016 Cup run type prowess in one critical area


Penguins 3 – Blue Jackets 1 (Penguins lead series, 1-0) GAME 1 BREAKDOWN The Pittsburgh Penguins playoff opening 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets had a lot of similarities emerge that were pivotal to the Penguins success last post-season in winning the Stanley Cup. The way the second and third periods went, it felt like an extension of the 2016 playoffs. The Penguins after being out-shot 16-3 in the first period, did what the Penguins often do in turning the switch immediately when the puck dropped for the second period. Pittsburgh scored twice in the first 3:45 of the period on goals from Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel. Both goals were ones where Rust, Kessel each beat Sergei Bobrovsky with 1-on-1 shots. No screens, no bounces, just Rust and Kessel beating Bob with a better shot. Then the Penguins go up 3-0 with a goal from Nick Bonino whoRead More »

Scouting Penguins – Blue Jackets


Scouting Penguins – Blue Jackets For those who weigh playoff projections from advanced stats as the biggest barometer in predicting how each playoff series will go, last year when the Penguins entered the post-season all of the underlying numbers/models pegged the Penguins as the Stanley Cup favorite and they were a case where the advanced stats crowd had their day in the sun with the Penguins hoisting Lord Stanley in June. Now it’s a bit of a reversal for the Penguins. The eye test says they are one of the top Stanley Cup favorites, while the numbers tell a different story. Injuries are certainly a factor but the Penguins numbers are nowhere near the levels they were going into last post-season. While finishing with the second best record in the NHL, in 2015-2016 the Penguins ranked 1st in Corsi % going into the playoffs. This season they rank 2nd inRead More »