Penguins Collapse - Game 7 Imminent
In theory, the idea behind post-season hockey is that the officials will take a “let them play” approach to the game, putting an even bigger emphasis on special teams play during any given best-of-seven series.
When power-plays come, they are even more crucial in the post-season. The power-play can generate momentum and make or break a series in a massive way.
With the officiating in this series being more tight than is the norm for playoff hockey, the Penguins special team woes are in a spotlight the size of the moon itself.
Simply put, there is no hiding the fact that the power-play is 1 for 30 this series.
Meanwhile, in Houston, the Mike Yeo coached Aero’s sported the AHL’s 6th best power-play.
Remember when we thought this was all his fault?
In addition to repeatedly failing to generate any semblance of a scoring chance with the man-advantage, the Penguins allowed another Tampa power-play goal, further burying themselves in a mire that might be hard to weasel out of.
And it wasn’t even strictly an offensive dud last night, the Penguins defense was by and large invisible. Marc-Andre Fleury was there to bail them out a few times, but he cannot continue to face 2nd and 3rd opportunities like he did last night.
Mark Letestu peeled off of his man and irresponsibly went looking for an outlet pass that didn’t exist on Tampa’s second goal, leaving Domenic Moore wide open to simply waltz to the side of the cage uncontested.
The third goal against saw the normally staunch Zbynek Michalek get lost up ice as Steve Downie stood in front of the net with enough time to cook a steak and smoke a cigar before anyone in a white sweater approached him.
I understand the team is missing key components, but these issues are things that should have been ironed out months ago. The part of us that says, “I’m not surprised.” should be mum after these same Penguins had a 3-1 series lead just 4 days ago.
We all victimized Mike Yeo for heading up a putrid power-play last year, it’s time for Dan Bylsma to take the heat for this display.
These results are unacceptable, the turkey was on the table repeatedly last night, and the entire time the top man-advantage unit looked like they had no semblance of flow, direction, or drive.
The Penguins are content to allow the Lightning to box them out of the middle of the ice. Every problem the power-play has stems from this fact alone.
The Penguins have had next to zero opportunities in the slot or low circle areas. They stand still at the blueline and on the half wall staring at each other; waiting for someone to make a move one direction or the other. There is no movement, no flow, no direction. Just five guys playing patty-cake on the perimeter of the zone with no drive to get dirty whatsoever.
It doesn’t matter if you have a man screening the goaltender if the other 4 players are as far away from a scoring area as they can possibly get.
It really couldn’t be any easier for Tampa. It’s not hard to defend against a power-play that doesn’t skate, win battles, or test you in any way, shape, or form.
The Penguins that went up 3-1 in this series were a group of guys that won battles by laying the body into the Tampa defense, skating hard, and taking care of the front of the net.
There was a time where Tampa was grossly outmatched in this series. The physicality was too much to handle, the Penguins were bombarding Dwayne Roloson with shots, Tampa had no lanes to shoot and the Penguins were forcing turnovers.
I’m not sure what happened to that group of guys, but it’d be great if they could show up again on Wednesday night.