Alright so Activity 1 did not go as prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They fell behind early, rallied to tie the recreation, then lost in time beyond regulation in a video game whole of missed options and mistakes.
At any time you get rid of a playoff sport — in particular the first playoff recreation — to a lessen-seeded crew to slide powering in a collection there is heading to be an ingredient of problem. That is especially accurate in a problem like this wherever it is only a most effective-of-5 series and when shedding indicates you technically skip the playoffs.
Clearly, there are some problems just after the initially recreation. But which worry must be we be most nervous about going into Match 2? I have some thoughts!
- The power play
I start this by declaring it IS entirely doable to win the Stanley Cup with a crappy electricity enjoy. Teams have accomplished it before and it is considerably from a essential element for a championship team. But holy crap, this unit was the one most important aspect in Saturday’s decline. Forget Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz. Overlook the 3rd line. Forget goaltending. It was this group. The electric power perform underachieved for most of the year (given its talent) and when it was lousy it was distressing to check out, bordering on incompetence. That is the unit we observed on Saturday. Not scoring on the 5-on-3 early in the third period was negative sufficient, but the energy performs that adopted that in the 3rd interval and additional time had been a disaster specified the problem and what was at stake. The dilemma is I am not positive they can take care of it at this level in the period, even with all of that talent. Degree of problem: Just underneath Panic
2. The third protection pairing
Glimpse, I do not want to soar on the pile listed here. But the bottom line is this: Weaknesses get exploited in playoff collection. This is a weak point, and it is a weakness that an opponent can get edge of when they play you every single match. I am not heading to pin Saturday’s loss on the Jack Johnson-Justin Schultz pairing, but they were the worst protection pairing the staff experienced in the course of the common season, and they were not superior on Saturday, even if they were being not absolutely at fault for both target they were being on the ice for. I am not wholly certain that either Chad Ruhwedel and/or Jusso Rikkola is an upgrade in excess of both participant, but I am eager to locate out at this issue. The Penguins have two really very good defense pairings, and then a 3rd a single that could render all of it meaningless in 15 minutes of ice-time. Stage of problem: Quite higher
I laughed off the concept of the Penguins staying concerned of Rate when some men and women ended up striving to drive that narrative a few of months ago, and I will however giggle it off now. They are not frightened of him, nor should they be. Price is not the MVP stage participant he was four or five yrs in the past when he was arguably a single of the league’s most impactful players. Obtaining stated that, he is continue to perfectly able of turning factors upside down if he receives on a roll for a pair of game titles. The way he performed in the initially 10 minutes on Saturday you bought the sense he was going to have it alongside one another in that activity and make issues tricky. He only has to do that two extra instances around the next four video games to make items definitely disheartening. It is not a warranty that he will do it, but he is quite able of it. Amount of concern: Pretty significant
4. The third line
My big issue with this group was the simple fact they had under no circumstances seriously performed together as a team and were seemingly just pieced together due to the fact there was nowhere else to set them somewhere else in the lineup. That is what they played like on Saturday. Contacting the group ineffective would be an understatement. Each of the Penguins’ past 3 Stanley Cup profitable teams had a dominant 3rd line that could be a major contributor offensively, an component that is a Ought to for a championship winning workforce. Your ideal players are not heading to rating targets each individual solitary match and you have to have a 3rd (and a fourth) line that can choose up that slack. In concept, all a few of Jared McCann, Patric Hornqvist, and Patrick Marleau need to be equipped to do that. The essential is hoping they can make that transpire while enjoying collectively as a cohesive device. The early returns on Saturday ended up not promising. Degree of worry: Moderate
5. The Penguins goaltending
This was in all probability my major issue at the commence of the playoffs, just simply because neither Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry experienced accomplished significantly down the extend operate of the typical time to protected the setting up job and give everybody self-assurance. It is not unfair to say they have been a single of the weak backlinks on the roster at that place. Quite capable of participating in effectively and profitable, but also extremely able of self destructing and being the cause the crew does not acquire. Truthfully, nevertheless, I have no complaints with the way Murray played on Saturday and see no motive to make a change at this issue. The worst target he allowed was the one particular to Nick Suzuki in the 2nd period of time, and although you would like to see your goalie make a big preserve in that situation it was a really excellent shot by Suzuki, and sometimes you do have to just idea your cap to the other guy and say, “you conquer me.” Maybe Jarry stops that shot. Perhaps he provides up a purpose on some other pictures that Murray stopped. Amount of worry: Average.
6. Conor Sheary on the major line
Sheary experienced a recreation to forget on Saturday with some skipped chances and a failed penalty shot with three minutes to engage in in regulation. It is a sport he would possibly like to overlook, and it will no dout start a dialogue about swapping him out for anyone else or shuffling lines. Not certain that is necessary at this stage. I would alternatively see a participant generate a likelihood and are unsuccessful to convert it then produce no chance. I also sense like considering that this trio of players (Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Sheary) has had success prior to it is worth offering them an additional opportunity. I do not want to crack up the Evgeni Malkin, Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust line, and I am not positive anybody on the third line fits. Degree of issue: Lower