Blog Entry

Patience pays off for Pens

Posted on: May 4, 2010 10:49 pm
The Pittsburgh Penguins really shouldn’t be having as much trouble as they are with the Montreal Canadiens.

Not when it comes to winning anyway. Staying focused against a team that tries to bore you to death is probably more of a challenge, and it’s been evident at times in this series even though the Penguins hold a 2-1 lead after winning Game 3 by a 2-0 score. Pittsburgh was thoroughly frustrated by Montreal’s trap when it lost the second game at home, and struggled with it again tonight, but the Penguins stayed patient and ultimately let the Canadiens hang themselves.

And it’s probably a good lesson for the defending Stanley Cup champions as they move forward in this series. Pittsburgh has the better talent, but it will still have to fight its way through the Canadiens throwback game to advance.

Montreal has gotten this far essentially by making like the New Jersey Devils of the mid-90s which can be an effective if not particularly exciting way to play. The problem for Montreal though is that game works best when the Canadiens get a lead and can play shutdown because they are really good at it. They’ve done an exceptional job throughout the playoffs clearing their zone and getting pucks deep enough to make other teams like Pittsburgh go 200 feet.  They disrupt teams enough to keep them off balance, and when they can’t, goalie Jaroslav Halak has done the rest for Montreal.

But Halak can’t win when his team doesn’t score and no matter how much the Canadiens prevented the Penguins from getting any flow, and he had to feel a sense of impending doom in a game when his team couldn’t convert its own best chances.  Montreal’s top sniper Mike Cammalleri had a couple of excellent ones, but Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty sharp on this night despite facing only 18 shots.

So was Halak for that matter. Pittsburgh only beat him once on 24 shots to take a 2-1 lead in the series, but it came early in the third period on the Penguins third power play of the game. And with Montreal’s two best penalty killing defensemen Hal Gill and Josh Georges in the box.

Evgeni Malkin scored the winner from the point near the end of the man advantage, the first time the Penguins had come through since the opener when they scored on four power plays to win. That seemed more of a blip because the Canadiens penalty killers had dominated Washington in the opening round and they were perfect again in Game 2, but when you give Pittsburgh enough chances, it’s like playing with fire.

Especially when the Penguins are learning to be content waiting for them.
Category: NHL

Since: May 6, 2010
Posted on: May 6, 2010 10:37 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

To Super Mario  As a Steeler fan and a admirer of state of Pennsylvania, you my friend have no clue and a lack of knowledge for the game of hockey. People like you give the state a bad reputation. Pittsburg always had great hockey talent, from lemieux, jagr,and crybaby crosby...he is so talented he doesn't need help from the zebras, but he keeps crying about it every single game. As for you comment about Montreal being a bunch of clowns with no talent doesn't say much for a team that looses to them even with the sixth man on the ice ( the zebras ) you know they need pitt. to win to get maximum revenue from the playoffs, now that the clowns have beaten the best team in hockey( Washington )...i hope you get some brains when you reach twelve years of age...judging from your comments i give you 10 or maybe eleven years should join your buddy Goldstein and take up lacrosse, it's easy for him to report and you to comprehand........i still admire the state of Pennsylvania but i'm starting to wonder about their sports teams.

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: May 6, 2010 9:51 am

Patience pays off for Pens

Mercury - You just lost the rest of your credibility.

YOU weren't complaining about the officiating, but you quote someone else who complained.  Please.

Also - Are you really comparing the defending Stanley Cup Champions (and a team that has won the Eastern Conference two consecutive years) to a team that hasn't made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1993?  As a fan of the sport overall, I have tons of admiration and respect for the Canadiens, but the current version of the Habs does not compare favorably to the Pens.  Nor is it close.

Lastly - Crosby's shot count.  What is your obsession with that?  He's not one-dimensional like Ovechkin.  He's a playmaker.  He had 1 shot in game 1 and the Pens scored 6 on your guys.  He had 1 shot in Game 3 and we won that, too.  If Montreal measures their success by Sid's shots - good luck to you.  As a side note, you might also want to try winning faceoffs from him every once in a while.

I have no rose-colored glasses, nor did I ever deny that Fleury played well in Game 3.  I'm not sure what the point of your last sentence was.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: May 6, 2010 1:05 am

Patience pays off for Pens

Right Mario 66 , what credibility is that,  I said I wasn't going to complain about the officiating, simple quoted coach Jacques Demers.
 Now credibility chek : Mario 66 says Montreal has no talent, and trap hockey requires no talent, and gee they won't let the rest of the world see how absolutely magnificient all Pittsburgh Penguins players are. Super Mario likes to brag about finishing what was it fourth in the regular season, some 25 points behind the Washington Capitals, whom that talentless Montreal Canadiens beat in the last deries.
 Your analogies are ridiculous Super Mario, and yes holding Crosby to 1 shot on net is a good team effort. Period. This is what teams are supposed to do against superstars no matter what ranked team he plays on.
 Take off those rose colored glasses , Fleury stole this game as much as anything else.

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: May 5, 2010 7:16 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

I used to like eric davis when he was with the reds back in the day,,,,,,,But come on Rick kehoe highlights????? What about #66 Lemieux--#68 Jagr???,,,,We have had plenty of talent in pittsburgh over the years. And yeah 6--SUPER BOWLS!!!!!  You my friend are a HATER-----

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: May 5, 2010 6:05 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

Quit Whining about Crosby----Montreal Fans are classless/gutless human beings for Chanting Crosby Sucks--This Guy won the Gold for your country some some respect. As for crosby having only 1 shot,He wins faceoffs,draws penaltys (The game winner from malkin),He does it all around~~~Cant say the same for OVIE-......Where are the calls at also, look call a fair game is there an American team BIAS???

Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2010 5:17 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

Which no talent clowns are you referring to?
Insult MABergeron who wouldn't?  Maxim Lapierre, Claude Lemieux without any scoring. But who else fits your description. Be happy Mario wanted to be paid or else Sid would be in Minnesota and you would be watching Rick Kehoe highlights.

This Habs team works hard, plays hard and don't give up; sounds like Big Ben at a sweet-16.

Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2010 5:13 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

You guys are right; Evgeni shoving Moore to the ice in the 1st game (in front of the bench) after he was bodychecked a great non-call but then again why call anything on the superstars.
Bring back Pierre Larouche

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2010 4:35 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

Yossarian - As a fellow Steelers fan, I assume you love defense as much as the rest of us do.  However, there's a difference between real defense and a bunch of no-talent clowns out there clutching and grabbing.  Imagine if in the NFL playoffs, they suddenly stopped calling pass interference and defensive holding.  It doesn't improve the quality of the game or make it any fairer.  It just makes it awful to watch and inconsistent with what the rules were all year.

None of us want to see NBA-like offense or 7-5 hockey games.  BUT we do like to see the game played by the rules.  To do otherwise makes a mockery of what the Stanley Cup means.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2010 4:32 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

I would suggest that you watch the entire playoff run of the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks.  The "trap" or whatever term of defensive first clutch and grab hockey one may choose to use has been alive and well in the playoffs since the lockout.  Officiating has gotten a little tighter during the regular season, but it has shown no ability to carry that over to the postseason.  

Until the interference calls are made consistently (virtually every NHL team is guilty of running it in their defensive end along the boards on dump-ins) this kind of hockey is here to stay.

Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: May 5, 2010 1:19 pm

Patience pays off for Pens

The whole point of the "trap" is to try and slow down the pace and offense of the game.  Teams that trap are typically defensive minded teams, and they institute that plan so that they can more consistently compete with teams that have better offenses.  Montreal has executed the game plan well, but one of the problems with the trap is that there is typically a lot of holding, interference, clutching and grabbing. 

After the lockout, the trap faded a good bit because officiating was cracking down on all the interference to open the game up.  Since that time, the league has been reverting back to the old ways and this year/series just highlights the reversion to pre-lockout hockey, where teams can interfere, hold, and slow the game down.  Whether it is for the better, or worse, is up to debate.  It is nice to see a wide-open game with lots of offense (like the NBA), but on the other hand a tough defensive game with less goals and where scoring means much more (like a Big East College basketball game) also has its merits. 

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