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January 17, 2019
Nothing To It But To Do It
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Yeah, I realize the Penguins looked terrible in Game Five, but would it have made you feel any better had they lost 2-1 in overtime? A loss is a loss. Actually, if youíre going to lose, you might as well completely implode and get it out of your system all at once. Hell, thereís nowhere to go but up.
And everyone whoís saying the series is over simply because Pavel Datsyuk returned needs to settle their ass down. Datsyuk had a nice hit on Malkin, and Iím sure he gave the Wings an emotional spark, but he was hardly overwhelming in Game Five.
Sure, he had two assists, but the first was on a goal that should have never gone in. Thanks, Flower. And the second came when he moved the puck to the point to set up Brian Rafalski for the always lethal wrist shot from the point. Ooh, what wizardry.
Yes, sir, Datsyuk is so incredible, he made the Penguins forget how to make a line change. And the Pens were so scared of the great Datsyuk, they couldnít possibly concentrate on stopping Niklas fín Kronwall from working his magic below the goal line on the power play. Kronwall? Really? Iím just surprised he didnít jump into Fleury.
Pittsburgh controlled the first 10 minutes of the game and was well on its way to victory until Fleury gave up the marshmallow to Cleary. Thatís a back-breaker. Then Kunitz gets called for the questionable goalie interference at the end of the frame, and that begins a nonstop parade to the penalty box, leading to five more minors in the second period.
The Penguins lost Game Five due to mediocre goaltending, timid penalty killing, and a shocking lack of discipline. It was the worst game theyíve played under Dan Bylsma, and arguably one of the most embarrassing efforts in franchise history. It was like watching that episode of ďWelcome Back, KotterĒ when they tried to make a spin-off for the Horshack family. It was just that painful.
But never fear, Penguin fans. Thereís still hope. Here are six things the Pens have going for them in Game Six.
1. Kid Crosby: Sid has a knack for scoring big goals in big games, and Game Six is the biggest of his career. Is it too late to have Ovechkin play for the Wings?
2. Geno Malkinís Parents: Mom and pop Malkin should be in attendance. Theyíre Genoís Pork BBQ Burrito.
3. Marc-Andre Fleury: Including the playoffs, Fleury has gone 6-1-1 after allowing five or more goals in a game this season. He rarely has two terrible outings in a row. You have to go all the way back toÖ well, I guess the first two games of the series. Hmm ha. Címon, Flower!
4. Special Teams: The Pens gave up three power-play goals in Game Five. That wonít happen again. And thereís no way they get whistled for nine penalties. I also have a hunch their power play might get more than a few chances.
5. Petr Sykora: Heís become a forgotten man, but itís time to get Sykora back in the lineup. He has to be chomping at the bit, and his fresh legs could prove valuable. Put him back on Malkinís wing and throw him out there on the top power-play unit. Heís the kind of guy who can change a game with one shot.
Drop Talbot down to the fourth line between Dupuis and Adams. Thatís where he belongs, and I mean that in a good way. Itís rather amazing theyíve reached Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals without dressing their best lineup. Itís now or never.
6. The Hockey Gods: I will lose all faith if Marian Hossa is allowed to hoist the Stanley Cup on Pittsburgh ice. It simply canít be allowed to happen. Please, for the love of Don Knotts, donít let it happen!