FF Telestrator: Game 6
Focus and disciplined play is something we spoke of quite a bit on this site over the course of the series. We close out our Penguins-related telestrations (we will still keep doing this for other teams) with a look at how the Penguins managed to dig themselves a hole in such an important game.
Let’s start with the Flyers first goal that came off the first shift of the game.
After jostling with the puck in the offensive zone, the play comes to the stick of Kris Letang. A lot was made of Sullivan’s errors on this play, but the entire sequence starts and ends right here.
Take a look at the clock. There’s about 21 seconds that have ticked away thus far. Given the fact that the teams went back and forth here, Letang’s goal as the puck comes to his stick should be to reverse play and get the puck deep.
Short shifts to start a major game like this aren’t uncommon. Each team had sparred to two equal chances. Let’s get a line change here and switch it up.
If this puck gets deep, the entire play is reversed, and the Flyers don’t come back the other way.
Jaromir Jagr prevents Letang from getting the puck deep. Not only that, he stick lifts him as Letang attempts to corral it and now Jagr will go on the offensive.
This is the first major error on this play. You cannot afford to turn the puck over at the offensive blueline.
Credit to Jaromir Jagr, not only did he prevent the dump in while the Penguins were offsides, but he pulled off a nifty little stick-lift to rob Letang of the puck in the neutral zone.
Now, the Penguins need to cover for their error and get this puck out of the zone.
It looks like the Penguins have quelled the error here, correct?
Letang did a great job of getting on Jagr’s back. Sullivan reciprocates the aforementioned stick lift with one of his own, a veteran play as it was.
But the meltdown’s just begun.
The puck comes to Sullivan and he plays it directly towards Claude Giroux. This might as well have been a drop pass from Jaromir Jagr.
Giroux is heading into the zone with speed. Jagr has taken two men, Sullivan and Letang.
Brooks Orpik is deep in the zone on an island. He is not anticipating this play coming directly at him. Also, he’s in an inadequate position to step up and control the gap on Giroux.
It becomes blatantly obvious at this point, given the situation, that Sullivan will need to step up and control the gap on Giroux.
One simple toe-drag has eliminated Sullivan from this play. Take a look at his posture. He’s in no position to make a play here.
What’s more, is that Orpik is now backing up directly into Fleury’s line of sight. He’s barely able to catch the move that Giroux has made to change the shooting angle off the second turnover of this shift.
Two turnovers have resulted in an early goal for the Flyers.
Think back to the beginning of this sequence, had the puck gotten deep, this situation would have never occurred.
Giroux lets loose a laser to the near post. Fleury cannot find the puck, making an already tough save even tougher.
Steve Sullivan is now completely removed from this play.
These types of mental breakdowns haunted the Penguins in virtually every game this series. The team’s lack of focus and preparation in the defensive zone made for a situation that was nearly impossible to come back from.
One final screen cap before we depart. This is in regards to Briere’s response goal to make it 4-1 Flyers and effectively close this game out.
This play started on a 3 on 3 rush. The Penguins eventually get numbers and have four players back in the play.
Look at the sight lines here before Briere scores this goal.
Every player in white has their back to Briere, and their sight line is either towards the puck carrier or towards the net itself. Voracek will drop this puck to Briere’s stick and he’ll fire a shot from the far side.
The puck is thrown on net. Who has Briere behind the play?
Tyler Kennedy has the far post, but he will eventually lose this battle to Briere in front of the net.
Overall, another poor defensive effort and mismanagement of the puck lead to a quick and easy transition for the Flyers.
This type of play was, ultimately, what cost the Penguins this series on a large scale.