Well let’s be serious, the Penguins have already become the brunt of jokes heading into tonight’s Game 3. While I’m very confident that the Bruins have the edge and will take the series, this team is still quite volatile, and packed with talent, and shouldn’t be considered an easy win. I just don’t like how all commentators poised the Bruins as the underdogs who definitely wouldn’t win, and now after two games they all change their tunes. I think its a little wishy-washy to flip-flop so quickly, and while I agree with their most recent speculation – I think the Penguins still have some fight left in them.
From a distance, the Pittsburgh Penguins look nearly unbeatable. Perhaps no other team in the NHL can match their collection of world-class talent with players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang, etc. (*cough* Miami Heat *Cough* *cough*) However, after watching the Penguins lose the first two games of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals at home to the Bruins (3-0 and 6-1, for anyone not watching), you start to see the numerous warts on Pittsburgh and the reasons why they lost in the first round the past two seasons.
Boston will never match Pittsburgh’s skill level, but that doesn’t matter since the B’s have bought into an outstanding system that allows everyone to play a specific role. If the Penguins stars aren’t scoring goals, what exactly is their role? Here’s a hint:
The Bruins have done a brilliant job exposing the Penguins main weaknesses in shaky defensemen, forwards who don’t want to play two ways, and goaltenders who are easily rattled. It only took two periods in Game 1 to see how much Crosby and Malkin were out of their element as the former bumped Tuukka Rask and the latter fought Patrice Bergeron in a misguided attempt to fire up his team.
The Pens have plenty of physical players, so they can employ that style to a point. But their numerous attempts to intimidate Boston have been muted for the most part.
The only statistic that the Penguins have a decided advantage in so far (as my counterpart, Matt, stated in his previous post) are hits: they’ve outhit the Bruins 71-38. Pittsburgh has been so focused on taking the body that their defensemen have taken themselves out of plays or even worse, coughed up the puck in key areas (they’ve had 20 give-aways this series to Boston’s 3), which has led to a bunch of goals for the B’s.
Everyone is waiting for Pittsburgh to change gears in Game 3 tonight (8, NBCSN) and to start racking up the goals – however I have my doubts that they can get it going full-speed.
The problem is that the Bruins aren’t the Islanders, and they aren’t the Senators. They have a game plan, a dependable roster, and they’re not intimidated one bit by the Penguins – and neither are Bruins fans. We’ve stared down much fiercer adversity many times as Boston sports-fans, and this is merely just another team worth stepping over. Here’s some key strategy for both teams:
One last thing to leave you with – I read something rather funny in the paper this morning:
The morning after the Bruin’s beat-up the Penguins, many members of the local and national media were aboard a flight heading back to Boston from Pittsburgh, and just prior to take off, the pilot (upon hearing a baby crying on-board) said over the loud speakers “Is that Sidney Crosby in the back of our plane?”
…Apparently, only the people from Boston found it funny.
I’ll just leave you with this wonderful tidbit:
A Bruin’s fan calls a Pittsburgh Penguin sportsbar. Your welcome.
Thanks for reading,
(AKA Third Quarter Prophet)