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Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning: First Round

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Old
04-10-2011, 09:08 AM
  #51
cassius
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It's gonna take a miracle (Kovalev / Neal starting to score.... and our PP starting to click).... but Pens in 7.

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04-10-2011, 09:17 AM
  #52
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The powerplay is starting to come together with Michalek on the point. I think if the Pens win this series it will be on his and Fleury's shoulders. Z is going to have to shut Stamkos down, but I feel he is up to the task.

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04-10-2011, 09:22 AM
  #53
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We need Fleury in a big way. If there are going to make any sort of a run...it has to be on the shoulders of MAF.

Cup = MAF as Conn Smyth winner and it ain't even remotely close, Crosby or no Crosby

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04-10-2011, 09:26 AM
  #54
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We're probably gonna need MAF to steal a couple for us, but for the most part I think we match up really well against these guys because of our strong D and goaltending. Tampa's ridiculously dangerous offensively as we already know, but their goaltending and D are anything but spectacular. Considering how weak they are at the back, I think our offense can still do enough damage even in spite of the fact that we don't have Sid and Geno.

My biggest fear though is with special teams play. Our PK is excellent, but so is their PP. Gotta stay disciplined and not give them too many PP chances. Of course, there's also the matter of our disgustingly bad PP. I've said it before, if we don't end up progressing very far in the post-season it's because of too many squandered chances on the PP. We aren't as dangerous without Sid and Geno when it comes to 5 on 5 play, so we need to be as opportunistic as possible on the man advantage.

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04-10-2011, 09:43 AM
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColePens View Post
Mini Analysis:


What I see so far is a solid 50/50 first round matchup between a #4 and a #5 seed. What makes this better is that it's strength vs. strength. We have Tampa's offense vs. Pittsburgh's defense. This is going to be a good series of imposing your will.Whatever team finds a way to impose theirs first will win the series.

For Tampa: Get good pressure on offense and rely on the 1-3-1 to keep the Pens from attacking the defense and finishing their hits. Pressure Fleury and try to get to the powerplay as much as possible. Make this series all about special teams. Score on the powerplay and make Pittsburgh try to catch up to you. Frustrate them with the 1-3-1 and trap them if you have the lead. They'll get frustrated into taking penalties. Case and point - last year vs. Montreal.

The main thing Tampa has to do is keep this series as far away from a grind it out style game. They don't want to be dumping/chasing and crashing the boards hard. They want the powerplay flowing and Pittsburgh playing catch up.



For Pittsburgh: Rely on solid team defense and protect Fleury. Do not take penalties... or you will pay. Make each game 2-1 or 3-2 and grind them down throughout a 7 game series. Do NOT fall behind. Tampa's offense will be able to run away with this series if the Pens don't come out from the very first puck drop and play 60+ minutes every game. Grind, grind, and grind some more. You have to wear the Bolts defense down over 2-3 games by forcing them back into their zone and punishing them physically. If we can get to them w/ physicality, they will turn the puck over to avoid hits. That will also cause their transition game to slow down and hinder their offense.


Neutral zone to offensive zone: We struggled w/o Sid and Geno breaking that 1-3-1. We usually dump/chase. They take it away by sticking a guy deep in their zone. We have to exploit that last guy being so deep by getting some stretch passes or some chip area passes jetsetting ourselves into their zone on the attack. Very north/south w/ emphasis on attack/finishing hits.

Shots/dirty rebound crap goals are important. That potent offense and powerplay cannot be taken lightly. IF Tampa grabs the lead, they can walk away with this series.



Final Thoughts: This might be the easiest series to dissect. Whatever team gets to their game will win. Our defense, goaltending, and physicality has to play a huge part. Their special teams and offense has to explode. I think that's what makes this series so fun and a great match-up for one another.
I think if Pittsburgh keeps the pp chances for each team at 3 or 4 a game they will be fine. Pens have the best PK in the league. I bet if someone figures out what the Pens PK % is with their top 4 D men in the lineup it's 90%+. The times they struggled the most was recently when Brooks and Martin were out of the lineup and early in the year when Brooks and Michalek were out.

As far as Tampas 1-3-1 goes...this might sound stupid, but I would seriously shoot the puck at that back D-man chest high and hard on dump ins. Make him try to catch it, duck out of the way, or have it hit him and make him have to recover to find it. Either way it slows him down and gives the forecheckers more time to get to him and the puck.

The Pens biggest problem is going to be scoring and probably faceoffs. I fully expect them to control the puck for most of the game. It will just be a matter of can they put it in the net or not.

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04-10-2011, 09:47 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by pensfansinvancouver View Post
Buddy u r soooorite. Downie will b a pest and try to get under the skin of Orpik & Letang. U can c it a mile away. Downie will try to be like Maxim Lapierre from the Habs last season....I wanted to jump thru my TV and punch him!!

But ya, we dont have the offense to beat these guys I think. As much as I hate to say it, Tampa in 6 or 7.
Yeah I think we're going to want to knock his hearing aids out. Kinda makes me wish that Ulfie was still around. He would find a way to put them on mute.

I think the Pens offense is a little under rated. I'm not sure anyone in the east matches up with TB's top 6 F's but the Pens can roll out a quality offense consisting of units of 5 every shift. The Pens offensive defenseman make up some ground lost. I think that transition play is something that will really favor the Pens and could be a key to the series. I don't like TB's mobility on D at all and I'm hoping the Pens can exploit that.

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04-10-2011, 11:40 AM
  #57
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Looking forward to it guys! We're pumped to be back in the playoffs and hope for a great series!!

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04-10-2011, 11:45 AM
  #58
cassius
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If we give Tampa too many opportunities on the powerplay, I think we lose this series sooner than later.

They just got SO many weapons on that powerplay - Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos. Easily one of the most offensively gifted PP's out there. They have the potential to rack up 2+ PP goals a game if we take bad penalties with regularity.

5 on 5 I think we matchup OK, but special teams is where there's a huge edge to Tampa.

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04-10-2011, 11:47 AM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassius View Post
If we give Tampa too many opportunities on the powerplay, I think we lose this series sooner than later.

They just got SO many weapons on that powerplay - Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos. Easily one of the most offensively gifted PP's out there. They have the potential to rack up 2+ PP goals a game if we take bad penalties with regularity.

5 on 5 I think we matchup OK, but special teams is where there's a huge edge to Tampa.
We definitely agree on this. It could be 5 games if we let them play their way. We have to stay out of the box and make it a grind it out series.

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04-10-2011, 12:19 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by PensPlz View Post
IF we get our playplay going, and not take penalties.. we can easily win this series. Otherwise... long off season.
We had 82 games to get it going...I highly doubt our playoff PP will be drastically different...unfortunately that may end up being our downfall.

Hopefully we can pull something off though.

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04-10-2011, 12:20 PM
  #61
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On the playoff board we are the decided underdogs. I get that impression from the national media too. I kind of like that position mentally going into the playoffs.

But some facts to chew on. If the Pens win today, they would have the second most points in the NHL despite missing Crosby and Malkin for half the year, despite missing huge chunks of their defense and offense for most of the year. They roll into the playoffs having won 70% of their last ten games. The team does not have Crosby and Malkin. May not have Crosby all playoffs. That is obviously a huge loss, but this team has been winning, low scoring winning no doubt, but still winning, a lot. I do not buy the shootout, OMG argument at all, as OT would just continue four on four in the playoffs (or does it go five on five there? I do not recall) and I have no dounbt that the Pens would win their share of four on four hockey games given how good they are on the PK.

It is not a bad mantle to wear and hopefully the players come into the playoffs feeling that they have something to prove.

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04-10-2011, 12:24 PM
  #62
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
On the playoff board we are the decided underdogs. I get that impression from the national media too. I kind of like that position mentally going into the playoffs.

But some facts to chew on. If the Pens win today, they would have the second most points in the NHL despite missing Crosby and Malkin for half the year, despite missing huge chunks of their defense and offense for most of the year. They roll into the playoffs having won 70% of their last ten games. The team does not have Crosyb and Malkin. May not have Crosby all playoffs. That is obviously a huge loss, but this team has been winning, low scoring winning no doubt, but still winning, a lot. I do not buy the shootout, OMG argument at all, as OT would just continue four on four in the playoffs (or does it go five on five there? I do not recall) and I have no dounbt that the Pens would win their share of four on four hockey games given how good they are on the PK.

It is not a bad mantle to wear and hopefully the players come into the playoffs feeling that they have something to prove.
Well they'd be tied for 3rd overall, 4th if you really must include tie breakers. With all the loser points, etc. excuse me if that's not earth shattering to me. They don't stack up to most of the teams that have a similar or better point total. You can not buy the shootout argument all you want, it's reality. They have to score more goals and score on the PP or they're going to lose. That's it.

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04-10-2011, 12:32 PM
  #63
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Depends what you mean by win it. They can win a few series with this style, and you only have to remember back to how frustrating the Devils could be to play in prior years. Especially for a team like TB that thrives on a wide open game and who could easily get frustrated. We did outscore them pretty handily in the season series (although that included one game in which we scored 9 goals) and held them to under 2 goals a game. Their overall record is not impressive? Reading some here and the media coverage you would think that the Pens snuck in as an 8th seed on the last day, were not winning recently at a 70% clip, or Crosby and Malkin went down together yesterday. How the team actually has been doing does matter.

I do not see the Pens winning a cup with this team, but progressing through 2 or 3 series? Sure. Again, why is no shootout such an 'Oh Noes' thing for you? So they go to overtime. The Pens style of play would work fine in overtime where the next goal wins it.

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Old
04-10-2011, 12:35 PM
  #64
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Originally Posted by SidTheKid8787 View Post
Yea alot of people are forgetting just how good defensively we can be. We've been grinding out 1 goal wins all season, it seems like.

This team is ready no matter who is in the lineup which has been proven all year long.

I'm just praying for goals. 5 on 5, PowerPlay, Shorthanded. I'll take em anyway i can get em.
I'd just like to point out the greatest avatar on the internet. Congrats, sir.

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04-10-2011, 12:39 PM
  #65
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I think the Pens will lose in 7. Hate being negative, but unless Fleury can steal 4 games on his own I think there are too many flaws in this team that will be exposed over a long series.

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04-10-2011, 12:40 PM
  #66
cassius
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Defensive play clamps down considerably in the playoffs and we only got a limited group of scoring threats. With this group of forwards, I'll be very happy making it beyond the first round. In my mind, here are our top goalscoers who we are expecting to lead the offense.

Tyler Kennedy - pointless in the playoffs last year. Smaller forward who doesn't match up well against Tampa's big defense.

Jordan Staal - An enigma when it comes to scoring. Either red hot or ice cold. Has played better towards the second half of the year, but playoffs are a completely different animal.

Chris Kunitz - Reliable source of offense and is one of the best forwards in the league who steps it in up the playoffs.

Alexei Kovalev - Usually steps it up in the playoffs, but has been very cold so far. Round peg trying to get shoved into a square hole. Doesn't fit with Dan Byslma's "skate like a maniac and ask questions later" grinder mentality.

James Neal - 1 goal and has looked awful offensively.

Honorable mention - Kris Letang - his play has done a complete 180 towards the end of the year. He hasn't looked good lately on either side of the puck. Gotta step it up.


Last edited by cassius: 04-10-2011 at 12:56 PM.
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04-10-2011, 12:40 PM
  #67
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
Depends what you mean by win it. They can win a few series with this style, and you only have to remember back to how frustrating the Devils could be to play in prior years. Especially for a team like TB that thrives on a wide open game and who could easily get frustrated. We did outscore them pretty handily in the season series (although that included one game in which we scored 9 goals) and held them to under 2 goals a game.

I do not see the Pens winning a cup with this team, but progressing through 2 or 3 series? Sure. Again, why is no shootout such an 'Oh Noes' thing for you? So they go to overtime. The Pens style of play would work fine in overtime where the next goal wins it.
It's not to say the Penguins would definitely lose every game if they extended OT and had no shootout. It's that most of your argument hinges on this nonsensical points system which skews things to the Nth degree. Much of your confidence is due to games they didn't actually win. They didn't lose them either, but the point still stands. Probably 40-50% of the games they've won in the recent past have actually been stalemates. It doesn't do anything to downplay their prowess, but it can't be used to prop them up either.

If you can't score goals you can't win, that's all I'm saying. If Fleury simply will not let anything in then yeah obviously that changes things. Other than that though you can grind teams all you want, but if you can't put the puck in it's all for naught. As Bylsma has proven time and time again, you can have 10 more shots than the other team and cycle around the perimeter all game but if you don't score and the other team does you still lost at the end of the day. The system works a lot of the time but no system is perfect and without flaw. In my opinion no system is better than another either, just different. Our system is to grind teams down. Tampa's is to outscore you, which isn't out of the realm of possibilities here. We've got the goalie and the defense. They've got the offense and special teams (5th PP, 8th PK). The thing that bothers me a little is that their goalie and defense aren't nearly as bad as people want to tell themselves. They're not great, but good enough to beat a team like this. We'll see.


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Old
04-10-2011, 12:45 PM
  #68
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Roloson is the X-factor

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04-10-2011, 12:45 PM
  #69
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Doesn't matter too much what the media and HF clowns say about this series; there really isn't a clear underdog and both teams are going to respect the other and go all-out. This is the playoffs and it's the first series; I think people are over-estimating the grind-em-down thing. Doing that will be tougher than people suspect because it's the first round and they'll be fresh / healthy going in. If it was a second or third round series I could see that argument making more sense. The only way it makes much sense is in terms of possibly wearing Stamkos down due to his lack of size and experience. Maybe Vinny too (I think he can be broken mentally). I don't think being physical on St. Louis will have much effect on him mentally. Never has in the past. He's a pro's pro.

Really it does boil down to MAF and the PK. If we stay disciplined and MAF plays like he has in the second half, we have a good shot of eeking out 4 wins despite low goal totals most likely. If MAF faces too many PP or isn't on his game, we don't have much chance IMO. We might push the series to the limit on gusto and grit, but we don't have the fire-power to close the deal if it's a special teams battle. Remember: having guys like TK and Rupp and Dupuis manufacture goals in the regular season is one thing. Having them do it in the playoffs when *they're* going to be hounded more and hit harder, and focused on more, is another thing. Reality check: it's great that the team earned the 4th seed after all that's happened this year, but we barely have a legitimate excuse for a 2nd line out there, let alone a 1st. Especially if Neal misses any time. All of our C are third line type C and only Kunitz and TK are decent wingers who are healthy and offensive-minded as of today.

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04-10-2011, 03:35 PM
  #70
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Gut take on it, nothing spectacular or new per se'

I like the way Tampa has played their last games; that doesn't bode well. But I also think we're going to see a very motivated and even excited Pens squad rising to the challenge of not having Sid or Geno (the exact opposite of the convenient excuse to book early tee-times kind of thing.)

The first two games are going to be crucial. Fleury's got to be huge. If the Pens can steal them both, it might just frustrate the bolts.

The Pens are character squad; they'll rise to the occasion. that said, I don't think the Pens will win a series that goes to seven games. My take on it is that if it will be a close kind of series with out much momentum in either direction (a seven game kind of scenario), it will favor the team with more assets (Bolts) -- unless Fleury is absolutely amazing.

So I think the Pens have got to catch some momentum and really crush the bolts ... disciplined physical play, with MAF playing well enough to give the team confidence, the PP actually scoring once and a while (asking a lot I know), and when the Bolts win it's not in dominating fashion.

So what the hell ... I'll just say that's going to happen.

Pens in 6.


Last edited by Crozbar: 04-10-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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04-10-2011, 03:40 PM
  #71
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It's okay guys, I played the series on NHL 11, I won 4-2 after 6.

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04-10-2011, 04:34 PM
  #72
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Roloson is the X-factor
This.

If he plays anywhere near Halak-like... the Pens are F'd.

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04-10-2011, 04:49 PM
  #73
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I think Pens in 7.

They are still an average team and by average I mean, roughly the same GF and GA. Looking at the two stretches of since Crosby went down and since Malkin went down, the Pens have been outscored. It is only on this recent 20 game stretch with their new acquisitions have they scored more than they have given up and only 3 goals margin. Pens are a pretty mediocre team with no room for error, it just makes them holding on to a playoff spot and a fairly high one more impressive.

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04-10-2011, 05:21 PM
  #74
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Recent play is the best indicator of who will do well and who will surprise in the playoffs. (Philly of last year the sole exception)

According to their last ten games records, here are the hottest teams in the east right now:

1. Buffalo
2. Pittsburgh!?!
3. Tampa Bay
4. Washington
5. Boston/New York
6. Montreal
7. Philadelphia

The Pens are a lot higher then many people realize, or perhaps further than they deserve. (Shoot out wins). Our series has the potential to be the best of round 1 because i think these two teams are roughly playing the same right now. Probably a 6-7 gamer IMO. Philly is going to be upset, and Washington will be tight series too.

Since i expect Sid to return at some point, i'm saying Penguins in 7. Caps squeek by the Rags in 7. Philly loses in 6. Boston over Montreal in 5.

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Old
04-10-2011, 07:20 PM
  #75
ColePens
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Anyone find out the schedule yet?

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