- The East isn't so bad that Pittsburgh is automatically going to get overrun in this series. However, the Penguins enter Game Two with plenty to prove. Coach Michel Therien called it the worst performance of the playoffs for his team. Given how they've looked to this point, it's hard to argue that statement. It's an arguable point, based on past history, that Game Two isn't a total must-win for Pittsburgh. But if it happens, it will open us up to a lot of criticism of the Eastern Conference.
- Is that criticism justified? Maybe. However, there are three Western Conference teams that didn't do much of anything against these Red Wings, either. Are we going to indict the West on not presenting us with competitive opponents for Detroit, either? I mean, they had three shots to produce one, and the East gets just one chance. People who are fans of Western Conference teams (full disclosure: I'm a Minnesota fan) will use a lopsided result in the Finals (if we get one) as an excuse to bash the East, even without any good reason. What we're going to forget is that the best challenge Detroit has gotten so far came from the Nashville Predators. Colorado and Dallas were never real serious threats.
- Evgeni Malkin needs to wake up. Fast. Detroit doesn't have any forward lines that are bad defensively. Get used to it and prepare to have to outwork them to succeed.
- Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't bad at all in Game One, but two of the goals he gave up were. I don't care what led to the wrap-around goal. A wrap-around should never lead to a goal, unless the goalie is interfered with, in which case the goal shouldn't count. The third goal (short-handed) was quite soft.
- Seven shots over the last two periods? I don't care who you're playing, Pittsburgh. That won't cut it.
- All in all, I expect a better performance out of the Penguins on Monday. I'm not sure it will be enough.
- I'm also not totally sold that a Game Two win is a must for the Pens. In the heat of the moment during our FanHouse Game One LiveBlog, I said it was. I'm no longer convinced. They have to play well, score a couple goals, take better care of the puck, and help Fleury out. If they can do those things, they can take some positive vibes back to Pittsburgh and make a series out of this.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
IS THE EAST THIS BAD?
A few thoughts on the Stanley Cup Finals, as we head into an important Game Two in Detroit...