Not a great result for the Penguins after their 7-0 dismantling of the Flyers. Philadelphia tied the series up with a 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh on Friday night. It was a game I would be comfortable with the Penguins playing again five more times this series and expect to win three of them. There were a few things I didn't like that the Penguins could polish up, but overall the game result was dictated by the goaltenders. Brian Elliott was great and Matt Murray was sub .800.
I could probably embed this tweet and end the blog
High danger chances were 7-2 in Pittsburgh's favor at 5v5. It was that kind of night. It's a great result for the Flyers, but if I'm in the Pittsburgh locker room I am not looking to change a lot. The Malkin line is doing work and Brian Elliott can't slip up at all with this kind of domination
The only change I would make for the Penguins is to stop running around chasing physicality. Swarm the Flyers on the forecheck and stay in your lanes. Chasing hits wastes precious seconds to get back and fill up passing lanes. This leads to broken zone exits and the ability to regroup and attack. I would specifically tell Patric Hornqvist to be careful. He was running around like James Neal at times last night. In the first period he barely missed with a UFC elbow to the head in the offensive corner. He connects and he probably gets suspended and that doesn't help anything. Punching people in the face in the third period and taking a penalty snuffed out any puncher's chance the Penguins had. The goal was great and much needed. It was immediately rendered null and void over emotion.
I don't have the time or the patience to break down all the decisions made by the referees last night. You can sum things up by saying that the players don't have a damn clue what the standard is from one five minute section of the game to the next. The first period non-boarding call on Provorov and the subsequent boarding call on Zach Aston-Reese sums this point up and not much else needs to be said. It happens in every playoff series. The number of penalties may be the same when you compare regular season vs playoffs, but the number of infractions let go is definitely higher in the playoffs. When they finally do call something you get the WTF syndrome. Rinse and repeat. It's moronic and it isn't going anywhere.
As far as the Giroux on Letang hit I think there are Steckelish elements to it. I think the contact was unavoidable and Giroux took advantage of it. The force of that hit was way harder than it needed to be
You brace and spin off if you really wanted to avoid. You don't Rob Blake it. I am guilty of plenty of "accidental" hits from my playing days when an opponent's teammate would push me in their direction, especially around the crease with goalies. If you have a player that is cerebral enough to put up 102 points making insanely skilled plays in a milliseconds notice you certainly have the ability to make decisions like the one Giroux did on Letang. People will believe what they want. There will be no hearing. I did not anticipate one.
I'm with Jamie, just do that again.
Thanks for reading!