Recap: Conference Semis #4: When the Levee Breaks

 

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Remember when everyone said there was no chemistry between Iginla-Malkin-Neal? Remember when everyone said that the Pens were going to get Halak-ed again? Remember when the “Pesky Sens” won Game 3 and everyone knew what was going to happen next? Remember it all. Because that makes yesterday’s game feel so much sweeter.

Contrary to what everyone on the Twitter-verse is saying, this series isn’t over. The Pens still need to come home and continue that effort on home ice tomorrow night. Although it is pretty bad when a so-called “class act” leader, face of the franchise Daniel Alfredsson doesn’t believe in his team anymore.

Pretty certain that he, Gonch, and Chris Phillips are going to carpool to League offices in Toronto to file their retirement papers all together.

A couple more thoughts:

  • Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray were both nearly invisible on the ice. And that’s a good thing. Neither are especially young and neither are fleet of foot, when you notice them that means they’re more than likely out of position. Neither were. They both played about 16 minutes, and seemingly a lot of it came on the penalty kill. Good stuff.
  • Vokoun made what was far and away his worst start of the playoffs yet still managed 30 saves and a .909 S%. Simply put, he made the plays that he needed to make.
  • James Neal finally looks like he’s figuring out how to play in the playoffs, and that’s scary indeed. Even if he hadn’t scored two goals yesterday he would have stuck out as one of the best Pens on the ice last night.
  • Jokinen and Bennett are doing perfectly fine work. It’s almost impossible to grasp how versatile Jokinen is, he literally played in every situation, even strength in a checking role, even strength in a scoring role, on the PK, and on the PP, and although you can tell he’s not 100% he helped in all of those situations. Bennett is just so electrifying, you can’t not watch him. No doubt, when Morrow is healthy again he’ll be back, but it’s just so nice to know that Beau will be around for years to come.
  • You can teach better team defense. One thing you can’t teach is scoring. Occasionally the team didn’t look great in the defensive zone (ahem, the second goal) but they also played well in a good defensive posture after the floodgates opened in the other end. Could the Pens have scored more against Lehner? Probably yes, they got one past him on four shots. But that wasn’t the nature of the beast. They needed to make sure they didn’t sacrifice defense for offense and they walked that line beautifully.

(Not that you weren’t already) but wear black on Friday. We have a burial to attend.

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