Gameday Eastern Conference Finals #3: @ Boston BruinsPosted: 05/06/2013
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ Boston Bruins
TD Garden, 8:00 PM, NBC Sports, CBC, RDS, 105.9 the X
Nothing for us to say here. The Penguins are either going to do what they need to to make this series or they won’t. There isn’t a single thing any professional media member or amateur hack like myself can say that will actually change what happens tonight. With that said, all we can do is comment on the decisions that the Penguins have made, will make, or at the very least should make.
Tomas Vokoun will be the Penguins’ starting goaltender tonight. And tonight is the only sure thing about Tomas Vokoun starting in a Penguins uniform. We’re not here to debate Marc-Andre Fleury’s future with the Penguins, right now we believe that this team needs to win one game, and Tomas Vokoun gives the Penguins the best chance to do that. If MAF were really back on his game he wouldn’t have given up the back-breaking and easily avoidable 4th goal with 8 seconds left in the period just as his team seemed on the verge of clawing back to consciousness. If Vokoun had done anything to relinquish the starter’s job we might be a little upset about things, but this is how the two still stack up despite Vokoun’s 6 goals in 4 periods this series:
I’ve been fond of this expression, at least when Vokoun let in goals it was because of a horrible team effort, unfortunately when MAF let in goals it was a result of bad goaltending.
The Penguins ought to make some lineup changes as well. Bylsma pretty much alluded to the fact that he wanted to explore what changes were possible, but nobody has a confident feeling as to what those changes will be.
This will sound annoying and very bandwagon-ish but our vote goes to Simon Despres and Beau Bennett. With Chris Kunitz and Brenden Morrow (among others) clearly playing at a low level due to injuries it seems foolish to not play Bennett. He has an uncapped potential and would easily be better than those guys playing at 60% or less. Despres makes sense for reasons we’ve expressed before, and just because Matt Niskanen needs a day off. He’s rapidly plunged down my personal preference list and if not for Kris Letang trying to out-suck him there would be a lot more burning eyes on his game. At a certain point you have to take a risk to find a spark. If the opportunity cost is Niskanen for a possible future Norris Trophy-potential type defensemen that sounds like a good deal to me.
If you haven’t heard a million times already, there is a very good precedent for a team coming back from 0-2 in the final round before the Cup. In 1991 the Penguins overcame an 0-2 deficit against the Boston Bruins enroute to their first Stanley Cup. And the most recent team to overcome an 0-2 deficit on their way to winning the Stanley Cup was the 2009 edition Pittsburgh Penguins (in fact they did it twice in both the ECSF and the SCF).
For a crystal clear explanation of why the Penguins have struggled so bad check out this monster telestrator from Jesse Marshall.
For a frustrating piece on how the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to take the Bruins to 7 games in the Conference Quarterfinals check out this solid piece from Rick at the Pensblog.
All we can say about those factoids is this:
Stop the stupid. Save sanity. The race to one starts tonight. Go Pens.