The Penguins sit in the same position that they were in last year at this time during the first round of the National Hockey League’s playoffs. They are leading an Eastern Conference rival 3 games to 1 and looking to close them out in game 5.
The Birds missed that opportunity to shorten their series last year by losing game 5 to a hungry Philadelphia Flyers team and were well on their way to dropping game 6 as well… until the Max Talbot Shhh incident that is.
The Shhh incident put momentum squarely back in the corner of the Penguins and the rest, as they say, was history. The Penguins parlayed that first round comeback in game six into a long and fruitful run to Lord Stanley’s Cup.
What I sit pondering today is how the Penguins will react to game five this time around.
Most of the players are saying that they learned from last year and are better prepared for closing an opponent out thanks to the experiences of the past three seasons.
“This year is obviously a new year. You learn from it. That is the good thing about the experience we have gained in the last couple years where we have been playing a lot of playoff games,” Mr. Shhh, Max Talbot said yesterday. “If it was our first year then we might feel overconfident here wanting to end their season but we know they are going to come to play. We have learned from it. We can definitely say that we will be at our best and be ready to win this.”
Will the Penguins be able to follow through on Talbot’s words? Will experience be enough to keep them focused on the task at hand – finishing this series tonight?
For this team’s sake, I hope so, as rest is at a premium during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not only does it allow you to get your convalescing bodies back in the line-up, but it allows the aches and pains of those playing daily to heal up as well.
So, your morning question is this: Will the Penguins eliminate the Ottawa Senators tonight? What will be looked at as this year’s Shhh incident?
On to todays Around the Net, your morning/afternoon skate around the league.
First off today is that great piece on Bill Guerin penned by Dave Molinari over at the Post Gazette. I realize that some folks would like to see a little more out of Billy G, but at this point in his career he is really here to do some other things… and according to the words of his present and past teammates, he is doing them perfectly. Enjoy…
Here is a notebook by the “Expert” Ray Fittipaldo… we get updates on injuries to TK and Leopold, comments on Crosby as a leader… and more!
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun gives us this piece regarding Cory Clouston’s decision on who will be between the pipes tonight for the Sens. Some are calling for Pascal Leclaire to be in the net, but he didn’t exactly shine during his relief appearance in Game 4. As of last night, Clouston had not made an announcement.
(EDIT: PASCAL LECLAIRE IS SET TO GET THE START FOR THE SENS)
Here is the NHL.com recap for the Canucks/Kings game. It provides everything that you could want on last night’s game.
Here is the recap from the Bruins Sabres game… the B’s now lead the best of seven series 3 games to 1.
Here is the recap from the Caps/Habs game. Semyon Varlamov held the fort through two periods and then Washington’s talent took over, blowing the Habs away 6-3.
Gary Bettman addressed the media yesterday and talked about a variety of topics, including the controversial “no goal” call in game 3 of the Canucks/Kings series, a Winter Classic in California and more!
Lou Lamoriello is not happy about the results he is seeing from his team during their first round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers… he let everyone involved know just how angry he is about it by unleashing a tirade on coaches and staff and firing a jelly jar off of the wall.
The Oilers have released long time scout and assistant GM Kevin Prendergast after two decades of service to the team. Prendergast wasn’t a Steve Tambellini guy and that is believed to have had something to do with the termination.