Losing a 3-2 game...where we had a late lead...and then seemed to fall apart at the seams...is way too familiar when it comes to playng against the Canadiens.
And this time...we can't even blame it on Halak.
But after watching the Penguins through two games...I can't help but think there is something missing.
No...it's not Gonchar...he was there last year when the team looked the same way.
No...it's not Staal...although he is missing...and missed.
What I am talking about is the way the Penguins just can't seem to score goals the way they used to. Or protect leads the way they used to. Or dominate stretches of a game the way they used. Or for that matter, play a complete game from start to finish.
The forcheking system that they implement is supposed to wear the other team down. The relentless hitting and cycling is supposed to eventually cause the other team to crack.
But over the last 9 games...7 versus the Habs last year and the first 2 games of this year (record of 3-6) it seems that the Pens are the team that ends up cracking.
I know it's early in the season...but it's not too early to start dialing up the urgency meter.
Just ask the Canes how a slow start can turn into a disasterous one.
Tomorrow the Pens face a demon...the Devils.
There is a pun intended...but the demon part is true.
The Devils made the Pens look foolish last year. Even when other supposedly lesser teams could beat the Devils... when the Pens played them, it was mostly embarasssing.
Taking into account that the Devils got smeared by the Caps the other night...7-2...I think tomorrow's game is extremely dangerous for the Pens.
If they lose...and lose in the way that they did last year to the Devils...it could be the start to a season that ends with a lot of unhappy players and fans.
I am sure some of you might be thinking...
"Dude...it's the 3rd game of the season...get a grip!"
And if you are...then you might find it interesting that's precisely the advice I have for this year's team.
Update from 10/11/10: Interesting soundbyte from Hal Gill post game...he seemed to suggest that the Habs know the Pens are aggressive and they wait for that aggression to result in mistakes. Could it be that the agggressive style of play that Bylsma encourages is somtheing that the Pens just can't execute correctly anymore?
Last year I wrote about a "Plan B"...and being able to play and win games in different ways. I still firmly believe that. Unless you are the BEST team in the league, you CAN'T impose your will on every team, every night. There are times when you have to have a plan B. Surely, by now it HAS to be apparent to the Pens coaches that the Habs have figured out how to beat us when we play this way...right?
...and given the way the Devils seemed to expose our style last year...it might not be a bad idea to try a plan B today...right?
It's too early to write the style off...since the 3rd goal by MAF was definitely a shot that should have been stopped...but it is something we will certainly watch closely over the next few games.