Monday, May 20, 2013

Wrong guys, wrong time

How does that happen? How on earth does that happen? The Penguins led 1-0 and had a power play. How in the world does Ottawa’s talisman get open for a shorthanded goal with 29 seconds left in regulation?
The only thing more upsetting: Those anti-smoking ads that show smokers in various stages of distress. Smoking’s bad. We get it. Don’t gross me out.
I’m not sure why the Penguins’ power-play guys were out there. The Penguins didn’t need another goal. What was Evgeni Malkin thinking? Malkin was watching the puck, and Daniel Alfredsson got behind him for a tap-in.
That’s Malkin. He played a tremendous game, but undid his excellence with an inexcusable gaffe. Milan Michalek made a great pass. Alfredsson’s finish was exquisite. But how does that happen?
Better defensive players should have been on the ice. When the Senators pulled the goalie, it was five-on-five, and the Penguins were using too many high-octane offensive players. Kris Letang and Paul Martin got clustered. It’s a stink sandwich. Everyone takes a bite, not just Malkin.
The Senators scored in overtime. You knew they would. A series that should be locked down is up for grabs with Game 4 at Ottawa Wednesday. Three games-to-none would have been series over. Now Ottawa is very much alive.
The Penguins delivered a message in the first 59 minutes, and throughout OT. The game went against the grain of their playoff year. The Penguins had scored four or more goals in seven of their eight previous games, but were perfectly content and adept playing a typical, low-scoring, tight playoff game.
The Penguins’ goal came from the bottom-six forwards. Matt Cooke absorbed a hit, helped create a turnover, and fed Tyler Kennedy for a nifty finish. That’s Cooke’s first playoff point, but no Penguin has done better getting to his game.
The game, and series, seemed wrapped up.
Then a moment of madness ripped things asunder.
It’s the kind of loss that’s very difficult to forget. But the Penguins must. Last night tested their mental. The Penguins flunked. Wednesday tests their mettle.
Tomas Vokoun has passed every test thrown his way: 46 saves, and he did not wilt in the harsh glare of double overtime. He’s the No. 1 goalie. No debate.

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