Game 7’s are always big. But the Game 7 in Pittsburgh Tuesday night will be just a little bit bigger.
Dan Bylsma’s Penguins coaching career is on the line
What does it say about the locker room that the owner of the team has to come down every playoff round and jiggle everyone’s balls?
If you’ve ever wanted to see a bench boss coach for his life, Tuesday night is the night for you. Arguments for and against Bylsma are like assholes; everyone has one and everyone is one. But if the Penguins blow their second 3-1 series lead in four years, Bylsma is toast. Getting to your game, stick on puck, etc. will all end if he can’t prepare his team for Game 7. The Penguins’ playoff flameouts have been well-documented, and this one would take the cake.
At the same time, the Pens are one win away from being in the Conference Finals for the second straight year and four wins away from the Cup Finals. It’s a fine line, and it’s hard to know exactly where that line is. Can you imagine the Hawks, Habs, or Bruins having consecutive shit playoff games like the Pens have had this series? The Pens are expected to be in that elite group, so that’s probably your line right there.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s reputations on the line
They were spectacular in Games 1-4, but the Rangers seem to have found an answer. The answer is the same old formula other teams use: get the lead, hope Crosby/Malkin don’t score on their first couple shots, then watch them act like children. Malkin’s laid low in that regard, but the jammed-up Crosby is beginning to show up. Dominic Moore has already gotten the best of him, to the point where Crosby slashed his sac.
Bottom line: Will Crosby and Malkin show up when the chips are down Tuesday night? Are they big-game players? Can they still compete with the gold-standard 1-2 duo of Toews and Kane? It seems lazy and ordinary to call out Malkin and Crosby, but they got to show up Tuesday night somehow.
But at the same time, Malkin and Crosby can come out, score 2 goals each on the way to a 5-1 Pens win, and all is well until it happens again. It’s a fine line.
It’s truly unbelievable that this is all being discussed — just as unbelievable as this series even seeing a 7th game.
What happened in Game 6
The Rangers came out like it was a playoff game, and the Penguins didn’t. It’s great that Chris Kunitz wants to fight the whole world by the end of the second period, but how about coming out like that? And why is it that every time the Penguins lose a playoff game, they start acting like complete assholes? Lose the game and shut up.
Rangers came out really wanting the first goal. Like their lives depended on it. Less than 4 minutes in, they got it. It was Marty St. Louis. Emotional goal on Mother’s Day. 1-0.
What a story St. Louis is. CBC showed a scene in the Rangers locker room from after Game 5 where MSL was given the “Broadway Hat” and put a piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle on the Rangers’ wall.
The Pens were on their heels but finally got their legs under them. But then disaster struck again three minutes later. Hagelin broke up a pass and chased down a puck to give the Rangers a 2-on-1. Scuderi played it to a T if that T means letting Hagelin get an easy shot on net. That said, all Hagelin had left was a weak backhander. And MAF couldn’t make the stop. It would be the eventual game-winner, and it was a brutal goal to give up. 2-0.
Dan Bylsma said this about Scuderi on Saturday to the Post-Gazette:
“Rob’s, I think, probably played some of his best hockey for us in these playoffs this year,” Bylsma said.
If that is Rob Scuderi’s best hockey, the Penguins are fucked. More importantly, Dan Bylsma is delusional. Scuderi played 16 minutes in Game Six, and he was terrible. He has no question become a scapegoat, and he deserves to be one. But it doesn’t help that Bylsma keeps giving him the nod. That’s the same coach who referred to Simon Despres as a top four D-man last off-season, right? That happened, didn’t it?
Crosby and Malkin were the Pens’ only offense for the whole game pretty much 5-v-5. MAF had to make a save on Kreider on a PK after he got behind the D.
The Pens got their own PP a little later after a scrum, and we saw the 4 forwards back on the ice. Usually you’re anticipating a Pens’ goal, but the 4 forwards mean you’re anticipating a backbreaking shorthanded goal. Pens didn’t get bit on that one, or on any PP for that matter.
The hockey gods threw the Pens a bone when a Sutter shot from the boards hit 3 Rangers on its way past Lundqvist. 2-1.
Big Difference: After letting up the weak second goal, Fleury got back at it and kept the Pens in the hunt.
The MSG crowd was completely dead to start the second, but the Pens couldn’t take advantage. The Pens got caught with too many men for the second straight game.
The Rangers give up unlimited shorthanded chances
The Rangers’ power play is the absolute worst. They use four forwards for some reason, and they seem intent on letting the Penguins get as many breakaways as they can.
Goc had a breakaway and thought he had scored.
Kreider came the other way with a step and kamikazed into MAF for some reason.
Kreider played the entire second period like a rabid dog. He went off.
After some 4-on-4, the Pens got a short power play, but it failed. Then after that, Bennett took a penalty on Marty St .Louis. So of course the Rangers let the Penguins have a breakaway. This time it was Fredo Gibbons. Gibbons had Lundqvist beat, but somehow The King stopped it. Gibbons couldn’t believe it.
Lundqvist has to get rubbed down after making basic saves
It has to be so annoying to be the Rangers trainer. Lundqvist needed a rub-down for no reason in the second.
Biggest moment of the second
Zuccarello tripped Scuderi, and the Penguins had a huge chance to tie the game. They went with 4 forwards on the PP. But they could not convert. They are now 1-for-18 in this series on the power play, which is pretty much unbelievable.
After that, the Rangers did they same thing they did in Game 5: got the third goal. Brassard worked his ass off and scored a dirty goal. 3-1.
Here’s the end of the second period for you:
After the Crosby slew foot on Girardi, he deserved everything he had coming to him. It’s fun to defend Sidney Crosby when he’s scoring goals and staying away from this shit, but when he’s whacking dudes in the sac and kicking their legs out from under them, you just have to keep your mouth shut.
The “Joe Vitale shouldn’t be in the NHL” clip of the game
That happened in the second, but we’re showing it here since nothing of importance happened in the third, other than the Penguins throwing their toys at the wall because they want cookies. James Neal probably pulled a gun on Dominic Moore at the end of the game.
- See you in Hell
- The Dan Bylsma defense bureau scrambling this morning.
- Rick Nash still hasn’t scored a goal in this series.
- Brian Gibbons was the Penguins best player, when the Penguins were shorthanded.