Sunday, April 20, 2014

RECAP. Out To Dry. Pens LOSE; Tied 1-1

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Short recap.  It's Easter so the number of people reading this will be far less than the number of times the Pens left Marc Andre Fleury out to dry last night.  Especially on the power play.  The Pens had  2-0 series lead in their hands and let it get away.  Barf.

Pens next game is tomorrow in Columbus at 7.

Go Pens

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Playoff Preview

This is a day late but we know you all wanna know what the 3 of us have to think about this years playoffs so here is our annual NHL playoff preview and predictions.


For starters, I wanna say that we really like the new playoff format. Some of the matchups that we get in the first round could be really good and the series could go either way. Playing to get out of your division should have teams battle tested by the time they get to the Conference Finals and also the Stanley Cup Finals. I think we could be in for a real treat this summer with how the playoffs are gonna play out.

We're going to start out West with our preview and we're gonna go as far west as we can with the Pacific Division Semifinals.







The Pacific Division 1-4 matchup is Anaheim and Dallas. Dallas was the 2nd wild card winner and get to play through their old division rivals to get to the Western Semis (Dallas is now in the Central if you've been living under a rock). Anaheim was the #1 overall seed in the West by recording 116 points. One easy reason to root for the Ducks is Teemu. How amazing would it be to watch Teemu go out on top. Goaltending is going to be key to this series as any other and there is a question mark on Anaheim with their goalie situation. The easy pick for the Ducks would be Jonas Hiller but Pittsburgh native John Gibson has taken Southern California by storm by recording a 3-0-0 record with a 1.33 GAA and .954 Save Percentage to close out the season in his first 3 career games. For Dallas, Kari Lehtonen has been there before and knows what it takes to win in the playoffs, as this series could seem a little lopsided in Anaheim's favor, Lehtonen could easily steal the show. It's also time to see what Bruce Boudreau can do in the playoffs with a team that actually buys into his system. These teams are pretty much even on the Powerplay (both clicking around 16%) and Anaheim has a slight edge on the PK (82.2% to 81.4%). Anaheim was the top scoring team in the league this year (3.21 Goals per game) and they were the 9th best in goals allowed (2.48). Dallas scored 2.82 goals per game and allowed 2.72. This series is probably closer than most people think and Dallas does have a few guys who have been there before (Seguin, Gonchar, Whitney, etc.) Dallas won the regular season series 2-1-0. This series begins Wednesday at 10:00 pm on NBCSN.

Our Predictions:

Andrew :  Ducks in 6
Brandon : Ducks in 5
Haylie : Ducks in 5


 
The Pacific 2-3 matchup could be the most intense series in the First Round. These two teams hate each other and we can't wait to watch these games. Expect some long overtime game between these two. These two met in the Western Semis last year and the Kings won in 7. In that series, whoever was the home team won every game. If that formula continues this season, look for the Sharks to win it. Los Angeles was the best defensive team in the league this year allowing a mere 2.05 goals per game but they were 26th in scoring with only 2.42 goals per game. San Jose was 7th in the league in scoring at 2.92 and they were the 5th best defensive team at 2.35 allowed. This is a classic goalie matchup with Niemi and Quick and should be extremely chippy. As far as special teams go, San Jose holds the edge on the Powerplay (17.2% to 15.1%) and also hold the PK advantage (84.9% to 83.1%). Don't read too much into the numbers between these two though because as we all know, when two rivals play, anything can happen. Los Angeles won the regular season series 3-1-1. This series begins on Thursday at 10:30 PM on NBCSN.

Our Predictions:

Andrew : Kings in 7
Brandon : Sharks in 6
Haylie : Sharks in 7

Central Division Semifinals

 


One of the best stories of the season was Patrick Roy taking the Avs from 15th in the West last year and the 1st overall pick to 2nd in the West and the #1 seed in the Central Division this year. Minnesota makes another appearance in the playoffs from the bottom of the Western Conference. We're really excited to see Patrick Roy back in the playoffs as well as some of the talent the Avalanche have. This would be Semyon Varlamov's first playoff appearance since getting stunned by Montreal in 2010. For Minnesota, Ilya Bryzgalov has been rolling of late with the Wild and helped them seal the first wild card with a little bit of time left in the regular season. When it comes to scoring though, Colorado scored 2.99 goals per game while Minnesota scored 2.43 per game. Minnesota was the 7th best defensive team in the league allowing just 2.42 per game while Colorado allowed 2.63 per game. We look forward to the first thing that goes against the Avs just to see how Patrick Roy reacts. As far as special teams, Colorado clicked on the Powerplay at 19.8% while Minnesota clicked at 17.9%. Colorado PK was 80.7% while Minnesota was 78.8%. Look for the Superstars of the Avalanche to make a difference in this series. Colorado won the regular season series 4-0-1. This series begins Thursday at 9:30 on CNBC.

Our Predictions:

Andrew : Avs in 6
Brandon : Avs in 5
Haylie : Avs in 6


 


If you thought San Jose-Los Angeles is gonna be fun, then so is this series. These two teams absolutely despise each other and it stems as far down to the coaches. There is a lot of pressure on the Blues this year as they went all in to get Ryan Miller (of all people). We still think the Blackhawks have the advantage in net with Corey Crawford but the key to this series is two things. 1. Which St. Louis team shows up? and 2. Will Chicago be healthy? Patrick Kane will be back but Jonathan Toews is still a question mark. These two teams are about as even as it gets when it comes to goal scoring. Chicago scored 3.18 per game while St. Louis was just behind them at 2.92. As far as allowing goals, St. Louis gave up 2.29 while Chicago allowed 2.58. Powerplay was even also, St. Louis clicked 19.8% while Chicago clicked 19.5% of the time. The biggest difference and possibly key to the series is Penalty Kill. St. Louis killed 85.7% of the penalties they took while Chicago only killed 81.4%. This series is probably as close as a tossup as any series that might take place throughout these playoffs and I don't think you could say either team has a big advantage. St. Louis won the regular season series 3-2-0. This series begins Thursday at 8:00 on NBCSN

Our Predictions:

Andrew : Blackhawks in 7
Brandon : Blackhawks in 7
Haylie: Blackhawks in 6

Now we make our way into the Eastern Conference. As we all know, the East wasn't as tough as the West was this year but these matchups still could be as exciting. We're gonna start with the Atlantic Division Semifinals.

 




This actually is a really intriguing matchup for a 1-4 matchup. Detroit made the playoffs for the 23rd straight year and the first year they were in the Eastern Conference. Boston reeled off 15 of 16 in March and have only won 2 games since that streak. The one thing that really hurts Detroit is that they will be without Henrik Zetterberg, who is still recovering from back surgery, which took place shortly after Sochi. The rise of Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar help make the Wings miss Zetterberg just a little bit less. Boston scored 3.15 goals per game this year while Detroit scored 2.65. Boston also allowed jus 2.08 goals per game this year while Detroit allowed 2.70. Both goalies are very capable of taking this series and taking their team to the Atlantic Finals. Boston scored on 21.7% of Powerplays while Detroit scored on 17.7% of them and Boston killed 83.6% of penalties while Detroit killed 83.0% of them. This series on paper looks like Boston has a decent advantage but don't ever count a Mike Babcock coached team out. Detroit has been in this situation before and they turn to into a different team once the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo gets painted onto the ice behind the blue lines. Detroit's speed could really give Boston fits and this series is going to be really entertaining. Detroit won the Regular Season series 3-1-0. This series starts Friday at 7:30 on NBCSN.

Our Predictions:

Andrew : Red Wings in 7
Brandon : Red Space Wings in 7
Haylie : Red Wings in 7


 




The other matchup in the Atlantic Division is Tampa Bay and Montreal. Montreal is the only Canadian team to make the playoffs this season and Tampa Bay is the only former Southeast Division team to make the playoffs. One of the biggest questions coming into this series is Will Ben Bishop be good to go for Game 1 since he was shut down for the final 3 games of the season. Both of these teams made big trades at the trade deadline so we'll see which trade helps them get past Round 1. This is one of the best goalie matchups in Round 1 if Bishop plays with Carey Price coming off Gold in Sochi. Montreal should have a lot of pressure on them since a Canada based team hasn't won a Cup since the first George Bush administration (Brian Mulroney as Canadian Prime Minister for our Canadian readers). This is the first playoff appearance for the Lightning since losing to Boston in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Tampa Bay holds the advantage in scoring (2.83 to 2.55). Montreal holds the slight advantage in goals allowed (2.45 to 2.55). As far as special teams go, Tampa Bay's powerplay was better (18.5% to 17.2%) while Montreal's PK was much better (85.1% to 80.7%). This is the classic case of a good Powerplay vs a good Penalty Killing team. Tampa Bay won the season series 3-0-1. This series kicks off Wednesday at 7:00 on CNBC.

Our Predictions :

Andrew : Lightning in 6
Brandon : Lightning in 7
Haylie : Lightning in 6


Metropolitan Division Semifinals

 


The Penguins won the Metropolitan Division by leading the divsion for all but 1 day throughout the regular season. Columbus makes their second appearance to the playoffs in franchise history (swept 4-0 by Detroit in 2008-09). Columbus will be without Nathan Horton for the entire series and might also not have RJ Umberger. As far as goaltending goes, Marc-Andre Fleury is the winningest playoff goalie in the playoffs with 54 wins as Sergei Bobrovsky has never won a playoff game. As far as we're concerned, this series has the feel like 2006-07 did when the Penguins matched up with a far more experienced Ottawa Senators team. We are very happy for the Blue Jackets and their franchise and we are looking forward to this series turning this into what it should be, a rivalry between two very close teams (geographically speaking). As far as on the ice, the Penguins scored 2.95 goals per game this year while the Jackets scored 2.76. As far as goals allowed, the Penguins allowed 2.49 while the Jackets allowed 2.61. The diversity between these teams is in Special Teams. The Penguins lead the league in Powerplay by clicking at 23.4% while Columbus clicked at 19.3% and the Penguins killed 85.0% of penalties while the Jackets killed 82.1%. We completely expect Brandon Dubinsky to be a giant dick while Fedor Tyutin is bound to make a really stupid hit at some point to give the Penguins a giant penalty. The Penguins won the season series 5-0-0. The series kicks off as you all know on Wednesday at 7:30 on NBCSN and ROOT.

Our Predictions:

Andrew : Penguins in 5
Brandon : Pens in 5
Haylie : Pens in 5

 




This series is also gonna be fun, for the simple fact that these two might beat each other up to the point of no return. We do give the Flyers credit for making the playoffs after the hideous start that they had. Claude Giroux really did shape into form after he didnt score a goal for what seemed like two years. As far as the Rangers, the Queen got them back into the playoffs even though this isn't as good as a Rangers team as we're used to seeing. As far as this series goes, the Rangers are the Flyers kryptonite, especially at MSG. The Rangers have won something like 8 straight against Philly in New York. New York has the advantage defensively and goaltending but the Flyers definitely have the better offensive team. Offensively this year, the Flyers scored 2.84 goals per game while the Rangers scored 2.61. The Rangers allowed just 2.32 goals per game while the Flyers allowed 2.77. As far as special teams go, Philly's powerplay clicked at 19.7% while the Rangers clicked at 18.2%. The Rangers had the 3rd best Penalty Kill at 85.3% while the Flyers were 7th at 84.8%. We aren't really sure what to expect what will happen throughout this series, but we think this should be a close series. The two teams split the season series 2-2-0 with each win taking place at home. This series begins Thursday at 7:00 pm on CNBC.

Our Predictions:

Andrew : NY Rangers in 6
Brandon : Rangers in 6
Haylie : Rangers in 6



To cap off our playoff preview, we decided to add something new this year. We are gonna predict each round from our first round predictions to see who each of us have winning. We will come out with a new preview for each round with the actual matchups and our predictions in those matchups.

Andrew :

Western Conference Semis
Ducks over Kings in 7
Blackhawks over Avalanche in 6

Eastern Conference Semis
Lightning over Red Wings in 7
Penguins over Rangers in 6

Western Conference Finals
Ducks over Blackhawks in 7

Eastern Conference Finals
Penguins over Lightning in 7

Stanley Cup Finals
Penguins over Ducks in 6

Brandon :

Western Conference Semis
Ducks over Sharks in 7
Blackhawks over Avs in 7

Eastern Conference Semis
Pens over Rangers in 6
Lightning over Red Space Wings in 7

Western Conference Finals
Ducks over Blackhawks in 7

Eastern Conference Finals
Pens over Lightning in 6

Stanley Cup Finals
Pens over Ducks in 7



Haylie :

Western Conference Semis
Ducks over Sharks in 6
Avs over Blackhawks in 7

Eastern Conference Semis
Penguins over Rangers in 6
Red Wings over Lightning in 7

Western Conference Finals
Ducks over Avs in 6

Eastern Conference Finals
Penguins over Red Wings in 6

Stanley Cup Finals
Penguins over Ducks in 7



Sit back and relax, grow your beards and enjoy the best hockey tournament of all time. This year is gonna be incredible.


#BecauseItsTheCup


Go Pens.






RECAP. Better Lucky? Pens WIN; Up 1-0

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 pics and video via Andrew

There is nothing like the Stanley Cup playoffs.  It's a whole nother animal compared to the regular season.  You have to be at your best.  The Pens weren't their best last night but they still managed to pull out a win.  Most of the game Columbus looked better than the Pens did but the Pens turned it on when they had to.  Marc Andre Fleury coming up big in spots helped too.


This game could have easily been 1-0 or even 2-0 Pens early.  Unlimited chances on Bobrovsky.  But they either TKed it or Bob made the big saves.  Columbus wasn't backing down though.  The Pens would push and Columbus would push back.  And Columbus ended up striking first.  Paul Martin got absolutely undressed and the puck made its way to Jack Johnson, he's good friends with Best In The World if you haven't heard.  Johnson made a nice move on Fleury in close to make it 1-nil Jackets.  I honestly liked that the Jackets scored 1st and fairly early.  It would show us how the Pens and MAF would respond.  Fleury responded the way we expected him to.  Made the next save and a few big saves after to keep the Pens in it.  And they responded with a goal of their own.  The Pens dumped the puck in and Bobrovsky gave it away.  The puck came to Jussi Jokinen in the slot who beat Bobrovsky to tie the game at 1.  Then Rob Scuderi got called for one of the most asinine interference calls ever.  And of course the Blue Jackets cashed in.  Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik were out to lunch and no one decided to cover former Penguin Mark Letestu.  He buried one to make it 2-1 Jackets.  Fleury came up big again.  There was a faceoff in the Pens zone and the Jackets won it cleanly and got a quick shot off.  Fleury made a huge save to keep the score at 2-1.  The Pens would get a power play late in the period that would carry over to the 2nd. 


The 2nd period started with the Pens on the power play and well, that didn't start out pretty good.  A puck bound of Kris Letang's stick at the blue line giving the Blue Jackets a break away.  Really don't remember who it was but the scored to make it 3-1.  If your butt hole wasn't clenched a little bit you're a liar.  But the Pens answered.  The second power play unit came on and made things happen.  Matt Niskanen launched a bomb from the point and Beau Bennett tipped it by Bobrovsky to make it 3-2.  Not even a minute later the Pens got another power play.  And once again cashed in.  Matt Niskanen ripped a wrist shot by Bobrovsky to tie the game at 3.  Brand new hockey game.  This is where those big saves Fleury made in the 1st period huge.  Instead of possibly being 4 or 5 to 3 Columbus it was a tie game.  Brandon Sutter had a chance to make it 4-3 Pens on a breakaway but he was hooked/tripped and nothing was called.  One of the most embarrassing non calls ever.  Wes Mcauley is a joke.  Back to that Marc Andre Fleury making big saves thing.  Columbus had another breakaway later in the 2nd.  No idea who had that one either but whoever it was Marc Andre Fleury stoned them to keep the game at 3-3.


Honestly don't remember much about the 3rd period.  Seemed like both teams were playing not to lose or make mistakes.  Almost halfway through the period though the Jackets made the biggest mistake of the game.  The turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Beau Bennett went in with Brandon Sutter 2 on 1.  Bennett moved the puck to Sutter who ripped it past Bobrovsky to make it 4-3 Pens. People at the big screen liked it. 
via Big Bob from the Freak Show.  Kid in the light blue jersey is really into it.

The Pens got a power play about 2 minutes later with a chance to put the game away.  But that was negated when James Wisniekski skated into Kris Letang and Letang got called for interference.  The Pens were able to kill the penalty and the clock.


1. Brandon Sutter
2. Matt Niskanen
3. Jack Johnson

Stuff:
  • Very solid effort from the Pens after they were down 3-1.  Hopefully they carry that into Saturday.
  • Other than vomiting all over themselves in the 1st period Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik were solid.  Niskanen/Maatta and Letang/Scuderi were solid all night.
  • Very solid performance from Marc Andre Fleury.  He kept the Pens in it and gave them a chance to win.
  • Ever since returning from injury Beau Bennett has been really good.  Goal and an assist for him tonight.
  • Speaking of really good, Brandon Sutter was good last night.
  • Evgeni Malkin returned from injury as well.
  • Brandon Dubinsky is a joke.  He got away with a blatant slew foot on Best In The World.  Hopefully someone puts him into the 6th row on Saturday.
The next game between these two teams is Saturday at 7.

Go Pens


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gameday: Game 1. Jackets at Penguins

Consol Energy Center. 7:30. NBCSN. Root. 105.9 The X.

Series Tied 0-0


Here we go. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is tonight. For starters, the Penguins are holding a Gold Out as well as the Big Screen will be back up in the Parking Lot across the street. This is only the second apperance in the playoffs for the Blue Jackets franchise as they were swept in 2008-09 by Detroit. One big note is that Evgeni Malkin is back in the lineup after missing three weeks with a foot injury. Nathan Horton and RJ Umberger (From Plum in case you had no idea) will not play for Columbus. If you can't get up for this game as a fan, you should probably sell your tickets, fan card, merchandise, whatever because this is what you play 82 games for. We're excited, jammed, ready to roll.


Lines (from Daily Faceoff)
Jenner - Johansen - Comeau
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Mackenzie - Anisimov - Skille
Tropp - Letestu - Boll

Tyutin - Wisniewski
Johnson - Prout
Murray - Savard

Bobrovsky

Kunitz - Crosby - Bennett
Jokinen - Malkin - Neal
Glass - Sutter - Stempniak
Gibbons - Adams - Pyatt

Letang - Scuderi
Orpik - Martin
Maatta - Niskanen

Fleury

Notes
  • Fleury has most playoff wins of all playoff goalies (54)



Do It.

Go Pens.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

RECAP. When Is Your Tee Time Ottawa? Pens LOSE

Tomorrow the Pens prepare for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The Ottawa Senators are hitting up some golf course in Canada somewhere.  That's all that matters here.  

Pens next game is Wednesday at 7:30 against the Blue Jackets.

Go Pens

Gameday: Pens vs Sens.

Consol Energy Center. 7:30. Root.

Game 82 of what was actually a pretty remarkable season by the Penguins. Looking back on it, it was one of the better seasons that they've had in recent memory. This game is meaningless for both teams as Ottawa will be on the golf course tomorrow and the Penguins start prepping for Columbus tomorrow. Zatkoff is in net as he should be and pretty sure the rest of the lineup is a Game Time Decision. We could care less about this game because we're ready for this upcoming Columbus series.

If you want a playoff preview, it will probably come in the next few days but here are the playoff matchups for Round 1.

Pacific

1. Anaheim vs 4. Dallas
2. San Jose vs 3. Los Angeles

Central

1. Colorado vs 4. Minnesota
2. St. Louis vs 3. Chicago

(A cup contender is going down in Round 1 in 2 of those series) Sign us up for these matchups.

Metropolitan

1. Pittsburgh vs 4. Columbus
2. NY Rangers vs 3. Philadelphia

Atlantic

1. Boston vs 4. Detroit
2. Montreal vs 3. Tampa Bay

Sign us up for these also. Detroit is probably the worst matchup that Boston could get in the first round.

Buckle Up Baby because its about to get bumpy.

Notes:
- Not posting lines because I dont care
- Game 1 vs Columbus will be Wednesday at 7:30, likely on NBCSN with Anaheim and Dallas to follow.
- Rest of Round 1 schedule to be released later today.


Go Pens.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

RECAP. Whatever. Pens LOSE; face Columbus in Round 1

This is the extent of the recap you'll get for the next 2 days.  Once playoffs start maybe we'll try again.  Pens lost.  Could care less honestly.  Columbus won so it's Pens  vs Blue Jackets in the 1st round.  No clue when yet.  We'll probably find out some time on Monday.

Pens next game is in like 42 seconds against Ottawa

Go Pens