When the biggest ovation from the home crowd comes when there is a goalie switch, you know the team played poorly — very poorly.
When a team drops the first game of the series, you expect to see that team's best game in Game Two. Instead, the Penguins may have played their worst game of the entire season. The Bruins didn't just beat the Penguins in Game Two. They shredded them in every aspect. The Bruins dominated and are clearly white-hot at the right time.
Kris Letang is playing like he's trying to impress Jesus. He followed up Game One's shitty performance with a world-class shit drop. The blue line as a whole has been pretty bad.
In these first two games, though, the Penguins have scored only one goal. Well, there's your problem. Evgeni Malkin has been the only spark in an anemic offense, and he has like two shots. Game Two was probably the worst game of Crosby's life. Chris Kunitz looks hurt, and it looks like Jarome Iginla doesn't even know what's going on. Just feels like the Pens had way too much time to game-plan specifically for the Bruins.
Tomas Vokoun wasn't to blame for those first three goals, but Bylsma was hoping a goalie switch would ignite the team. And it did. Sutter answered the bell and brought everyone back into the game. That was short-lived because Marc-Andre Fleury gave up a horrible goal 25 seconds later. That's a shot Vokoun has been stopping all day, every day. Holy God you can't give up that goal. That was basically the game right there.
And now the Pens are in the hole 0-2, staring down two games in Boston starting Wednesday night. But not all hope is lost. The Pens could've easily won Game One, and you can pretty much write off Game Two as your typical playoff meltdown (Pens hadn't one yet, so they were due). The turnovers have been killing the Pens, whether it comes in the neutral zone or in the dozens of free turnovers they give the Bruins when their stretch-pass-and-chip strategy fails miserably.
So guess what. Cut down on the turnovers. Whatever it takes. The Bruins aren't even causing them. We are morons, and even we can see this, so hopefully Bylsma and company do, as well. Just like we saw in the Islanders series, the Pens are gonna simplify their game and get back to the basic tenets of hockey. You're gonna see the Pens' D-men slowing the game down every chance they get. Coupled with playing some good old-fashioned road playoff hockey, the Pens should be able to claw back into this series. Everyone paying attention to hockey knew going in that this was gonna be a tight series. Instead, the Pens are playing like they're entitled. They fall behind, and then the train goes off the rails.
But the Pens will take both in Boston.
For now, we're gonna look back at this game:
It isn't often you see games decided in the first period. This was one of those games.
The first line had good jump for 20 seconds. Then Brad Marchand took it away.
For whatever reason, Kris Letang pinched 20 seconds into the game. Crosby was left at the point, and he turned it over. Marchand was off to the races and beat Vokoun. 1-0.
What's wrong with this picture?
The start of a long period for Kris Letang. Trying to do way too much.
Buttholes got really tight. The Pens probably got a little tight, too, since they only had one shot through the first 8 minutes. Vokoun had to weather a storm from the Bruins' fourth line, and the Pens got out of it. After a line change, Orpik was headed to the box for an elbow.
The Pens escaped that power play, but Kris Letang happened again. He cleared a puck right up the middle, which maybe was a pass to Brooks Orpik for some reason. Krug snared it down and threw one back at the net. Horton put home the rebound. 2-0.
Letang's travels weren't done.
Then came the other issue the Pens are dealing with. The Bruins defenders are routinely beating the Pens' forecheck, and the Bruins' forwards have faith in their defense to get it up to them, which is why we see things like this:
Within maybe 3 seconds of Rask stopping a James Neal shot, all three Pens forwards are within a stick's reach of Chara. He easily gets it out, and the Bruins are on a 3-on-2 faster than Pip farting on a snare drum.
Letang challenged Horton on the play, and that didn't work out. He chipped it to Lucic, who had gained a full head of steam through the neutral zone and beat Murray to the net.
Lucic with a drop-pass to Horton while Letang grabs an Avocado sub…
One-timer to Krejci…
Letang was on the ice for all three goals. In came Fleury.
It was supposed to energize the Pens, and Sutter played into the script by scoring to make it 3-1.
What a boost. Man. It brought everyone back to life. Huge late-period goal by Brandon Sutter. The deficit was down to 2, and the scene was perfect for Marc-Andre Fleury to reclaim his net in stopping the Bruins the rest of the way while the Pens mounted a comeback.
25 seconds later, the game was over when Brad Marchand came into the zone and beat Fleury on a basic, run-of-the-mill shot. An added wrinkle to the play was Marchand and Cooke jawing at the opposite blue line before the goal, and to the victor went the spoils.
(No clue who to credit for this GIF)
But still. Holy shit. H O L Y S H I T.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and we 100% agreed with Bylsma's decision to swap goalies as a means to wake everyone up. But you have to wonder where this game goes if Vokoun stays in, makes that routine save (which he's done throughout these playoffs, let alone all season), and the Pens head into the intermission only down 2 goals. But then you run into the butterfly effect when wondering whether or not Brandon Sutter's goal was a result of the Fleury switch, so whatever.
Either way, come on, man.
SECOND PERIOD AND THIRD PERIOD
Pens got through the first half of the second period without giving up a goal, and then they got a power play. The boo birds came out. Bad times.
Pens didn't really threaten offensively for the rest of the game, as the game became a vicious cycle of Pens dump-ins, Bruins retrievals, Bruins dump-ins, and Bruins line changes.
go to hell