Down three games to zip in the first round?
Hey, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The problems of Penguins today, following their 4-1 loss to Islanders at Game 3 Sunday at the PPG Paints Arena, is one that has happened to several teams in every spring.
Sidney Crosby at Jake Guentzel scoreless ?
OK, they are human. "You need to find a way to score goals this time of year," says Crosby. "It's not easy, but you have to find one way." And in the case of Guentzel, he pushed for an injury that often restrained him.
Matt Murray went out twice after his team headed?
That's not perfect. "We just need to continue pushing," she said. "That's all we can do." But they are not in the tournament without him, and otherwise he is good.
Justin Schultz inexplicably pinching the second of New York's goals, even though the forward is changing on the fly?
He puts it, "Just a bad play."
Mike Sullivan again outmaneuevered, on and off the ice, by Barry Trotz [1
Four full shots at 5:16 time power play?  Twice a handful of Islanders, 16-8
got scorched every other rush by Tom Kuhnhackl
The Pittsburgh crowd displayed up by Most Long Island?
That list may continue, longer than these 10, and yes, I'm sure I can make a bonus slot for having a civic scapegoat Dominik Simon . But the most cold reality of almost ice-cold body work to date is that the list of individuals involved in Penguins who overachieved in their duties in this series may be condensed into … perhaps Erik Gudbranson [19459005
My God, who can not be hyperbole.
When any team I cover performs well, I'll take the ground and dig out to find out why. When that group is not performing well, I will also conduct behavior and encourage questions to the participants on both sides, I'll retrieve the statistics of the new and old models, and I will perfectly represented by a fair representation of what was damaged. And a subject that almost never arises, especially in the playoffs, is effort.
Not this time. This game will not end.
Because, because of its dullness, these people did not give a curse. Nowhere near enough is still a curse.
I can survive two losses in Long Island. They tried there. They fought. They blush. They hide for each other. They skated with enough willingness to pass up marbelized, slushy ice from front to finish.
Watch it. Seriously, just watch:
It was 50 freaking seconds of New York's fourth line Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, Penguins. That's right: It's three-to-five. Because Trotz never allows his defensemen to pinch. These are now back to the sequence that is almost even spotted. However, over 50 seconds, there is no solid double-team in Cizikas, Martin or Clutterbuck. Or a single seal to allow a teammate to wear a puck. Or a single smart slide to eliminate one of two options over.
Watch it another time. This time only black sweaters. Consider the clock. Consider the situation, down two goals in what is important elimination game, then watch what they are doing. The place climbed first and only time, the opponent was placed in the first uncomfortable position of the series, and allowed it to follow a half minutes later:
It's pointless across the board, and do not let the coach take off: Right after his fourth line he got a big goal and a rare lead, Sullivan sent to boards a Crosby line between Phil Kessel and Zach Aston-Reese . And if it feels that it is not familiar, that's because these three share the ice surface for all 3 minutes, 28 seconds all the time.
It's time to see what they can do.
Picture the effect that Jordan Eberle snipe was on the bench, as I raised Wilson:
Never imagine the impact of the Islander adding another 62 seconds later:
See what Brock Nelson and Kuhnhackl did in Crosby within the New York zone?
Hm. They helped him. Swooped like they meant it and flew in other ways.
See what Schultz did on that side, lungeing forward to try to poke Kuhnhackl even as Nelson and Josh Bailey whizzed by
Ugh. The line between effort and focus is blurred to a sport as hockey speed. The focus on was effort. And when the coach moves incessantly about when to pinch and when to backside, and that happens … that has not been tested yet.
I hate this one so very much, just because it's as ugly and dull as hockey gets. But then, that takes two. Penguins have clear and uncovered properties that appear from their zone. Brian Dumoulin still does not have many exit options, with Islanders stringing four in their blue lines, but there is another step or two that can be obtained, another second or two where someone can get tomorrow, another body or two that he can pull his way for a smarter chip behind the defense of New York.
Instead … it is that. Flat as Pamela pancake, and boomeranged back to the red center.
What, just let Aston-Reese exclude the right-wing loading, kind of duplicate look at Nick Bjugstad peeling type for Robin Lehner's predictable wrap around boards, but kind of doing
That effort, focus or some hockey hybrid of both.
Worse than any of the above, at least from my point of view, is this: How this group, most of them still a few years removed from successive cups, look for conscience to slog throughout this last game 15 minutes in such an extreme that even the overcaffeinated Islanders finally slow themselves, perhaps in pity?
It's a difference to two goals, because of the loud weeping, but preseason looks at all the rink points: There's no good skating stop. There are no sprays close to the crease. No shoves. No crispness. There is no hard drive in any rush through the neutral zone, at least I have not seen, until one with 3:52 remaining regulation.
As a veteran front office member followed for me then, "I do not believe it Nothing We did."
This is a playoff game. A critical one. And its outcome is defined, in large part, by a difference in effort. For this franchise, all this was achieved, by Mario Lemieux watching, in front of his own payer loyal, embarrassing.
Or at least it should be. But I did not see any kind in a locker room that seemed to have been denied.
I asked Kris Letang if the Penguins were flat: "No, I think we had our chances, we could get the lead. The goalie made a good movie- And it's hard to play hockey when you get down to a goal, or two when they're playing a style like this. "
at Kessel if the joint effort was there:" Yes, that's all we've got & We all want to win. We'll try to take the next and move on from there. "
The effort will be
It would seem to be a no-nonsense Monday night in November against Minnesota.
The same applies for Sullivan, who is ultimately responsible for the effort and focus of his team. He has always been advertising in the search for a mistake on either of those facets, but he felt that he crawled when asked if he could find the right purchase from his players: "Uh, I'm not sure I have an answer for with that, they care they want to win and they understand what's needed. So I'm not going to sit here and say they are not buying in Hockey is becoming a game of mistakes sometimes. better work by limiting some of the things we do. That's it. "
I did not get this group. I just do not.
They care. All of them. Sullivan like anyone. But there is something turned off in the Penguins from the opening of the night, and I can not help but start wondering if there is not only too much of a level of comfort, a pleasure for too long. All of them through the unique winter, they just flipped the move when they felt like it, and everything was amazing.
Well, the other teams are given a damn all along and it does not have to suddenly start manufacturing it.
In the morning, a few hours before the faceoff, Sullivan asked questions about the Penguins desperation level: "I'm not sure I want that word because it implies a certain level of lack of love. hope to relate to it, to avoid many words because I did not think the mindset we needed. "
What about today?
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