Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A look back. Final Thoughts on Pens/Blue Jackets

So now that the Pens/Blue Jackets series is finally over, and 46 years have been taken off of all of our lives, we can take a look back at the series that was.  This was probably one the best series we've ever watched to be 150% honest.  Now some people may say that's crazy but in our opinion that was one of the best playoff series' we've ever seen.  5 out of the 6 games ended with a score of 4-3.  In the first 4 games a team came back from being down 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, and 3-0 to win.  You just don't see things like that.  We also want to give mad props to the Blue Jackets.  They held their own in this series and didn't back down at all.  They went toe to toe with a giant and gave them a battle for the ages.  Nothing but respect for that franchise.....other than Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, and Blake Comeau.  Screw them.  The rest of that team is ok though.  The Jackets look like they are heading in the right direction and could be pretty good for a long time.  But in this series that wasn't the case.  Even though they looked shaky at times the Pens ultimately pulled out the series win.  It for damn sure wasn't the prettiest of series but a win is a win especially at this time of the year.  Below we are going to give our 3, highly educated, professional, hot take opinions on why the Pens ultimately won this series and Columbus didn't.

3. The Bottom Six.  For as big a fuss that was made over the Pens bottom 6 all season they are a big reason the Pens are moving on the the 2nd round.  Evgeni Malkin didn't score until game 6.  Sidney Crosby still has 0 goals.  The Bottome 6 chipped in all series long and carried the load from the Pens.  Crosby and Malkin had 6 and 7 points respectively but Matt Ni$kanen and Paul Martin are currently leading the team in points.  Not Sidney Crosby.  Not Evgeni Malkin.  Not James Neal.  Not Chris Kunitz.  4 guys you would expect.  But Matt Niskanen and Paul Martin.  The Pens got goals from Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter, Jethrow Gibbons, Lee Stempniak.  The Bottom 6 did an unbelievable job this series.

2. Brandon Sutter.  Last year in the playoffs Brandon Sutter was invisible.  This wasn't a great regular season for him.  Until the trade deadline.  Unlimited rumors linking him in a possible trade for Ryan Kesler.  The trade ultimately didn't happen and Sutter took off.  He played his best hockey as a Penguin after the trade deadline.  He also had an unbelievable series.  Killed penalties, was 50% from the face off dot, chipped in 3 goals and 2 assists, and as much as we despise +/-, he was a +6 this series.  The only Penguin better is Paul Martin with a +7.  So a big time stick tap to Brandon Sutter.

1. Marc Andre Fleury.  What to say about Marc Andre Fleury.  He is definitely the number 1 reason that the Pens are moving on to round 2.  His stats aren't amazing with 18 goals against, a 2.81 goals against average, and a .908 save percentage.  BUT.  When the score was tied or within one MAF's save percentage was like .948 or something ridiculous like that.  18 goals against is very misleading.  It really doesn't show how well Marc Andre Fleury actuallu played in this series.  Columbus scored their goals but the goals they scored were nothing like the ones Fleury gave up last playoffs.  Marc Andre Fleury deserves unlimited credit for the Pens still being in the playoffs.

3. James Wisniewski.  James Wisniewski was nothing short of atrocious this series.  He only tallied 2 assists and was also a -7.  Worst among Jackets defensemen.  Not only that he helped give the Pens unlimited chances when he was on the ice including two turnovers that lead to breakaway goals by Tony Gibbons and Brandon Sutter.  Like Andrew texted me something someone said, James Wisniewski has a series that is gonna make the Flyers trade for him this off season.

2.  Sergeri Bobrovsky.  Bobrovsky finished the playoffs with 20 goals against, a 3.17 goals against (yikes) and a .908 save percentage.  Only reason he has a save percentage above a 9 is he faced more shots than MAF.  If Bob faces like 5-10 less shots then he has a sub 9 save percentage.  Bob wasn't pretty good this series.  Every game this series he let up at least 3 goals.  Not good at all.  

And the final, and most important reason why Columbus lost:

1:  The 5th Line Isn't Real.  Trolololololololololololololol.

And now we leave you with the best stunned pic from this series:

Lulz.  Hopefully Brandon Dubinsky enjoyed his tee time today.  Dick.

Go Pens

RECAP. Handshake City. Pens WIN. Win Series 4-2.



This game was different than the rest of the series, yet in the same way, it felt the same. The Penguins continued their effort from Game 5 for 50 minutes in this game and it felt like it was over, but Columbus didn't ever go away. Stick tap to that franchise, except Brandon Dubinsky, fuck that guy. Sure the Penguins could've played better, but its a race to 4 and the Penguins got to 4 first and they move on to the Metropolitan Division Finals. Brandon Sutter and Joe Vitale left this game early, Sutter was on the bench at the end and was on the ice for handshakes, Vitale never returned. Pens get a few days off to await the result of the NY Rangers-Flyers series.

The beginning of this game felt a lot like the 2nd and 3rd periods of Game 5. The Penguins were flying with the puck. After the first set of shifts, Byslma went back to 14-87-71 and it worked. Sid took the entire city of Columbus with him with the puck and ended up getting the puck to Kunitz who made an unreal pass to Geno for his first goal of the series. Bob was sitting so far back in his net. 1-0 Pens. Then a few moments later, the Penguins got a Power play. On the power play, the passing was incredible. Niskanen and Sid made a few good passes and Sid fed Geno in the high slot who glitched one bar down on Bob to make it 2-0 Pens. Some reason, the Jackets never called a timeout. The rest of the period was basically all Pittsburgh. Columbus went 10:04 without a shot until they received a late power play, but the Penguins killed it like it was nothing.

The Columbus power play carried over into the 2nd and just as the Stempniak minor was expiring, Brandon Sutter basically took the puck right off of James Wisniewski who made a horrible play on the puck. Sutter and Stempniak came in on a 2 on 0 with Bob, Sutter did his patented move to the backhand roof job and made it 3-0 Pens just 34 seconds into the 2nd. At that point, you felt like the Penguins were gonna run away with it and it continued. Later in the period, somehow Evgeni Malkin and James Neal got a 2 on 1. Jack Johnson played it horrendously and Geno came into the slot and shot it near post on Bob. Hat trick for 71 and 4-0 Penguins. 

At that point, you could've heard a pin drop and you felt like you were at a funeral and the final nail was put into the coffin. The Penguins went into intermission up 4-0.

As the 3rd went on, Columbus took a couple really stupid penalties that you knew were just out of frustration but they killed it off. At the tail end of the second one, some jobber for the Jackets took the puck behind Fleury and kind of held Letang's stick, he was careful so that he didn't take a penalty and whoever it was fed Fedor Tyutin who sniped MAF perfectly to make it 4-1. At that point you felt, whatever and knew CBJ had to score some bullshit Shorthanded goal because thats how the series has gone. Then a couple minutes later, Paul Martin took a penalty and on that power play, someone shot one with Brandon Chodeinsky screening Fleury. The puck either hit Dubinsky or MAF didn't see it clearly and it trickled by. No clue but 4-2 and you started to worry a little as there was like 6:00 left at that time. Then right off the draw, Matt Calvert caught someone flat footed and almost scored but Fleury made a huge save. A few minutes later, the Pens left Nick Foligno wide open in the slot who redirected a perfect pass past Fleury to make it 4-3. You really started to worry at that point. The Blue Jackets kept coming but the Penguins answered every time from there on. Kris Letang made 3-4 big blocks and Fleury was good. Game.

1. Evgeni Malkin
2. Fedor Tyutin
3. Matt Niskanen
Honorary star to Marc-Andre Fleury. Pens don't win this series without him

  • Evgeni Malkin finished the series with 3 goals and 4 assists.
  • Sidney Crosby had 7 assists, so despite not scoring any goals, was still > 1 point per game.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury had a .908 save percentage in this series, but when it was 5 on 5, he had a .948 save percentage. That is unreal. He's doing exactly what a goaltender has to do in the playoffs, give your team a chance to win.
  • Kris Letang has gotten better as the series went on, made some big plays down the stretch.
  • Robert Bortuzzo's impact didn't go unnoticed, despite the semi meltdown in the last 10 minutes, the Penguins played two of their most disciplined games with him in the lineup.
  • Dan Bylsma deserves a little bit of credit after Game 4, he made some line adjustments that worked and kind of got CBJ off their game, he also found something in their forecheck and the Penguins got the puck out of their own zone with ease in Games 5 and 6.

Next Game: TBA vs NY Rangers or Philly at CEC

That series is currently NYR 3-2. Game 6 for them is tomorrow night.

Go Pens.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Gameday. Game 6. Pens at Jacke

Nationwide Arena. 7 pm. Root. NBCSN. 105.9 The X

Coming off of one of the most complete efforts the Penguins have had since Nam, they pushed CBJ to the brink and to the verge of elimination. This series had an eery feel to the one against the NYI last season in the first round and a Game 6 victory would only cement that comparison. The Penguins are coming off of a 51 shot, 3 goal performance but the story of the game may have been the defensive effort. They held the Blue Jackets to a 46 Corsi, which means the Blue Jackets attempted 5 less shots than the Penguins got on net. We also believe that Dan Bylsma listens to Mark Madden because pretty much every adjustment that the Penguins have made this series, Mark Madden has talked about the day before on the radio. One of the best and most important adjustments that Bylsma has made so far was putting Sid and Geno together for most of Game 5 and despite neither of them getting into the goal column, they were effective for the majority of the game. The storyline of Game 6 will be, will CBJ fight back like they have all series and force a Game 7 or did the Penguins finally flex their muscles and its too much for the Jackets. We will find out around 9:40 EST on Monday, but what we are sure of is the Nationwide Arena crowd wont go down without a fight. Game 5 might have been Marc-Andre Fleury's biggest game of his Penguin career outside of Game 6 and 7 of the 09 Cup Finals and we expect the same kind of effort from him in Game 6 of this series.


Kunitz - Crosby - Malkin
Jokinen - Sutter - Neal
Bennett - Goc - Stempniak
Glass - Vitale - Adams

Letang - Martin
Maatta - Niskanen
 Bortuzzo - Scuderi


Jenner - Johansen - Skille
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Umberger - Anisimov - Comeau
MacKenzie - Letestu - Tropp

Murray - Wisniewski
Tyutin - Johnson
Nikitin - Savard



  • Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in the longest scoring drought of playoff career, but their Corsi has been good this series. Gotta think one or both score soon.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury looks as good as he did in 2008-09 if not better, his save % right now is second best of his playoff career (2007-08 was .933).

Do It.

Go Pens.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

RECAP. Give em the D. Pens WIN; Lead 3-2



Yes.  That 3-1 score is correct.  You don't need your eyes checked.  A team actually got a 3-1 lead and kept it.  It helped that the 3rd goal came with like a minute left.  Fully expected the Pens to find a way to blow that somehow.  MAF wasn't gonna let it happen though.

The 1st period was pretty much a gong show for the Pens.  They looked completely uninterested at times minus a certain couple of people.  MAF was a big reason it stayed scoreless for a while.  The the sphincters of about 25,000 people inside and out side tightened.  The Blue Jackets got a power play.  They worked the puck deep and someone tried a NHL 14 cross crease pass but it was broken up.  The puck sat in front of Fleury and he covered it.  No whistle, no whistle, no whistle.  The puck finally squirted free and some jobber put it home.  1-nil Blue Jackets.  Fleury had the puck covered for about 12 seconds but you apparently have to cover it for 13 last night.  No clue how there wasn't a whistle.  Near the end of the period the Pens finally started putting some pressure on the Jackets and got some scoring chances.  Robert Bortuzzo, who was in the line up for Brooks Orpik, put like 3 shots on goal.  One of them got deflected and almost found its way behind Bob.  Pens went into intermission still down 1.

The Pens didn't carry over their momentum to the 2nd period.  Blue Jackets had unlimited chances early.  Kris Letang single handedly broke up a 2 on 1.  MAF was standing tall.  The Pens went to the power play and the game turned around.  Best In The World finally made an appearance and dished a puck to Kunitz in front.  He tried to redirect it home but it was saved.  The rebound sat right there and Kunitz knocked it home to tie the game at 1.  The Pens dominated the period from there on out.  The were in the Jackets throat.  But the couldn't get a 2nd goal behind Bobrovsky.  The Pens had 21 shots in the second period.  21.  That is what we want to see every period.  Bobrovsky has been shaky all series.  Make him have to make saves.  The game went to the 3rd tied at 1.

The Pens kept up their momentum going into the 3rd period.  The were all over the Blue Jackets.  Really don't even remember many good scoring chances to Columbus in the 3rd period.  The Pens had a few though.  Sidney Crosby actually looked like Sidney Crosby for a little bit.  He made a couple nice plays and got some shots on goal but no dice.  Beau Bennett launched a bomb of a one timer but Bob said no.  The Pens were pressuring.  They were all over the Jackets.  It looked like the Jackets were gonna get a good chance but Kris Letang made some unreal defensive play to break that up.  Then the Pens finally broke through.  Lee Stempniak dangled pretty much the entire Blue Jackets organization and got a shot on goal.   Bobrovsky saved it but couldn't find the rebound.  Jussi Jokinen was in the right place at the right time to bang home the rebound to make it 2-1 Pens.  The Yes Movement went crazy inside and outside.

Then the Pens just shut it down.  The suffocated the Blue Jackets and gave them nothing.  The Jackets pulled Bobrovsky.  Best In The World had a chance to bury it.  He hit the damn post.  But the Pens were eventually able to ice it when Kris Letang hit the empty net.  The Blue Jackets got butt hurt and tried to start shit after the final horn.  Lol byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

1. Chris Kunitz
2. Marc Andre Fleury
3. Sergei Bobrovsky

  • What a performance from Marc Andre Fleury.  Absolutely incredible.
  • Big time stick tap the the Pens defense.  Each and every one of them were amazing last night.  Big props to Robert Bortuzzo who stepped in for an injured Brook Orpik.  Also big props to Kris Letang who showed why the Pens paid him.
  • Still don't know what to say about Sidney Crosby.  He showed some flashes of himself but for most of the game he looked like he was on another planet.  Bad passes, not hustling, not shooting.  Later in the game he did some things but still.  If the Pens want to make it past this round him and Malkin need to start scoring.
  • Pens lines were a mess last night.  The only real consistent line was 14-87-71.  Who at times looked good.  Everyone and their brother took a shift between 36 and 18.  
  • Pens had something like 52 shots last night.  If they shoot that much they are gonna win more often then not.
Next game is Monday at 7.

Go Pens

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RECAP. Vomit All Over Yourself. Pens LOSE; Tied 2-2


The Pens had a lead.  A big lead.  It was 3-0.  The Pens should have put the Jackets away.  They had the chance.  But then it was 3-1.  Then it was 3-2.  Then Columbus had an empty net.  Then the puck bounced.  And was then it was in the back of the Pens net.  3-3.  Then it went to overtime.  The Pens passed the puck.  Then they passed it some more.  Then they passed it some more.  Columbus shot and scored.  4-3 win in overtime.  So blame Fleury right?  He did have the puck bounce over his stick.  He did have let up the goal in over time.  No.  Don't blame Fleury.  This loss was in no way shape or form his fault.  Blame the shit heads in front of him that stopped playing after the first period.  In the 1st period the Pens had 11 shots.  The had 14 the rest of the game.  14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is absolutely pathetic.  Columbus had 46 shots on goal by the way.  While we are blaming shit heads, some blame can be given to the biggest shit head behind the bench Dan Bylsma.  After the 1st period with the Pens up 3 he didn't have the team ready for the Blue Jackets pressure.  He didn't get his team back into the game when it was apparent their heads weren't in it.  He did absolutely nothing to change the tide of that game once again.  Typical Dan Bylsma.  But hey "Get to our game" and "grind bitches down" right!!!???!1/1/!?!!?!?!!  There is no reason Columbus should have been able to come back, score 4 unanswered goals, and win.  Absolutely inexcusable.  But there is no accountability on this team so the Pens will probably not have practice tomorrow and have an optional skate on Friday.
Now obviously the Pens aren't in a horrible position.  The series is tied 2-2 with 2 of the remaining games in Pittsburgh.  BUT.  We may not get that far.  Hell.  We are lucky to even be talking about a game 5.  This series could be over and we could be talking about the Pens up coming off season.  The Pens could easily have and probably should have been swept out of this series right now.  But they aren't.  We are here talking about a game 5 and we all owe that to one man.  Marc Andre Fleury.  If he doesn't stand on his head in games 1 and 3 the Pens are probably dusting off their golf clubs right about now.  He has been the only person to consistently show up in all 4 games this series.  The best player in the fucking world doesn't even have a damn goal yet this series.  IF the Pens make it out of this series, Crosby better wake the hell up because there is no way in hell the Pens will beat the Flyers or Rangers if Crosby doesn't score.  Same goes for Evgeni Malkin.  Your two best players need to show up.  They aren't getting paid unlimited money to skate around the ice looking completely uninterested at times.  I mean for crying out fucking loud, CRAIG FREAKING ADAMS HAS A DAMN GOAL THIS SERIES.  That is more than Crosby and Malkin combined.  But hey.  Can't ever question the Pens right?  GO TEAM!!!!!!

So that is my rant of a recap.  Don't like it?  Suck my dick and go read Pens Initiative.

Next game Saturday at 7.  

Go Pens

Gameday: Game 4. Pens at Blue Jackets

Nationwide Arena. 7 pm. ROOT. NBCSN

PIT leads 2-1

Here we are, Game 4. What we have learned so far through three games is, don't take a 3-1 lead in the game because you're gonna blow the lead. The Penguins played their best hockey of the series so far in the last 40+ minutes of Game 3 and it eventually paid off dividends on the scoreboard. Brooks Orpik goal with 1.8 seconds left in the 2nd Period of Game 3 could eventually change the way the series was going. The Penguins will try to put the chokehold on Columbus' playoff lives in what is expected to be another raucous Columbus crowd. One thing that is for certain, these teams despise each other and a rivalry between the two cities is starting to brew. What we will know at likely 9:45 pm tomorrow night is that will Pittsburgh put Columbus on their last breath or will the Jackets make this a Best of 3 from here on out.


Kunitz - Crosby - Stempniak
Jokinen - Malkin - Neal
Glass - Sutter - Bennett
Megna - Vitale - Adams

Orpik - Martin
Maatta - Letang
Scuderi - Niskanen


Jenner - Johansen - Skille
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Umberger - Anisimov - Comeau
MacKenzie - Letestu - Foligno

Murray - Wisniewski
Prout - Johnson
Nikitin - Savard



  • Sidney Crosby Corsi so far in this series is 61.1% including 76.8% in Game 3. Have to think the goals are close
  • The Penguins line of 36-71-18 did not allow Columbus to register a shot on goal while they were on the ice.
  • Despite Marc-Andre Fleury having a high GAA and Save %, he has been the best player on the Penguins thus far this series, including basically giving them the chance to win Game 3.
  • Since 2006-07, the Penguins are 4-2 in Game 4 when leading a series 2-1.

Do It.

Go Pens.

Monday, April 21, 2014

RECAP. Take Em Any Way They Come. Pens WIN; Lead 2-1



Like I said in the gameday.  Game 3 is pivotal.  The Pens came out about as slow as ever.  They looked like crap.  But.  They turned it on when they had to and pulled a win out of their ass.  Another game the Pens probably shouldn't have won but did.  This series could easily be 3-0 Columbus right now but instead it's 2-1 Pens.  On to the recap written by Lauryn King.

About 1:30 into the game, Matt Niskanen chose the Alexander Ovechkin defensive method and Boone Jenner scores to make it 1-nil Jackets.  About a minute later, Matt Niskanen, again, chooses the Alexander Ovechkin defensive method and best in the world’s best friend picks up a rebound buries it home – 2-nil Jackets.  Apparently MAF should have used his Superman powers to stop both of those even though his defense left him out to dry. #BLAMEFLEURY #TRADEFLEURY #PENSSUCK.  Beau Bennett had a few solid chances, but passed up the shot for a stupid pass that led to a turnover.  Pens get 2390432098 chances on the Power Play and nothing happens.  Big shocker there.

Pens forget what hockey is and how to play it and Columbus gets 59348290348 chances but Fleury comes up big.  Pens get some chances in there.  A few dumb penalties by Matt Niskanen, Rob Scuderi, and James Neal (huge shocker with those last two right?) and horrendous penalty killing by everyone but Marc-Andre Fleury later, it’s still 2-0 Blue Jackets—praise the Lord because without MAF, it would easily be like 5-0 Lumbus.  With like 1.2 seconds left in the period, Brooks Orpik (yes you read that correctly) used a glitch and made it 2-1 Blue Jackets.

Pens come out playing strong getting some good chances at the beginning of the period.  Then they forgot how to play defense and had a small case of disconnected controller syndrome, leaving Atkinson wide open at Fleury’s blind side with a wide open net – 3-2  Blue Jackets.  Marc-Andre Fleury forgot to use his Superman powers to stop that, because there’s no way he could have got that one.  A few shifts later, Fleury has a nice poke check to save the 39848723974th possible goal of the night.  Paul Martin takes a shot from the point, Sutter deflects it, and the puck somehow ends up in the net – 3-2 Blue Jackets.  Not too long after, Stempniak has a beautiful wrister that beats Bobrovsky – 3-3 Game, or as Bob Errey says “It’s all Even Stevens, partner.”  Then an Olli Maatta shot from the point goes in, which may or may not have been deflected off of a Columbus player.  Either way, we’ll take it. – 4-3 Pens. Pens somehow managed to light a fire under their asses and are dominating this period, scoring 3 goals in 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Pens are flying and it’s a whole new hockey game.  Kris Letang takes a stupid penalty, although not really sure what for because I missed it, and the Penguins are back on the PK, which thankfully looks much better than the previous ones.  Columbus takes a million offsides calls and helps us to kill their powerplay.  Fleury makes a bunch of good saves. La te la da. No surprise there.  Fleury has been a rock all night. Without him this game is over. Geno get’s an almost breakaway and actually draws a penalty. Yes, I did say Geno drew a penalty. Pens are headed to the powerplay. Oh boy.  Powerplay over and Columbus throws the puck up ice just as their player is leaving the penalty box.  Orpik actually plays defense and ensures a goal will not happen.  Columbus pulls the goalie with 48 seconds to go.  Pens hold them off.

That game was a complete and utter dumpster fire. But who cares because PENS WIN!!!!!

1. Olli Maatta
2. Brandon Dubinsky
3. Paul Martin

  • Really can't say enough about Marc Andre Fleury.  He was sensational and kept the Pens in it.
  • Matt Niskanen.  Not his finest game.
  • Crosby and Malkin were invisible again.  
  • Like we said earlier.  This was another game the Pens probably shouldn't have won.  Whatever.  A win is a win in the playoffs.
Pens next game is Wednesday in Columbus at 7 p.m.

Go Pens

Gameday. Game 3. Pens at Blue Jackets

Nationwide Arena
7:00 p.m. ROOT.  105.9 The X.  NBCSN

The series heads to Columbus tied at 1 game a piece.  Game 3 is always a pivotal game especially in this series is tied at 1.  Should the Pens drop this game then they could be in deep trouble.  Should then win this game then they aren't out of the woods yet but the would at least be moving in the right direction.  If  the Pens lose this game the might as well stand in the middle of the forest from The Hunger Games and stare right at a cannon or 6.  (Pun intended)

Lines via The Pensblog

Chris Kunitz-Best In The World-Beau Bennett
Jussi Jokinen-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal
Tanner Glass-Brandon Sutter-Lee Stempniak
Taylor Pyatt/Jayson Megna-Joe Vitale-Craig Adams

Rob Scuderi-Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik-Paul Martin
Olli Maatta-Matt Niskanen

Marc Andre Fleury

Boone Jenner-Ryan Johansen-Jack Skille
Matt Calvert-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson\
R.J. Umberger-Artem Amnisimov-Blake Comeau
Derek MacKenzie-Mark Letestu-Corey Tropp

Ryan Murray-James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin*-Jack Johnson
Nikita Nikitin-David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

*Heard on Mark Madden today that Tyutin was out.  So we'll see what happens there.

No Brian Gibbons tonight.  Someone finally told there was a height requirement to play in the NHL.

Hopefully someone told 87 and 71 there is a game tonight.


Go Pens

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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



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.


Go Pens.