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05 April 2009

Bad Weekend

Well, we are down to three games left and still haven't clinched a playoff spot. We had our opportunity and we blew it. We are supposed to be the team to beat. We are supposed to be this powerhouse that lesser teams can't keep up with. We must have forgotten our identity. We still haven't secured our dominance in any aspect of the game. We still have a lot to prove. We came into last night's game with a drive, but it wasn't nearly enough to beat the Hurricanes. We came into tonight's game with more of a drive and it, once again, just wasn't enough. We ran into two tough goaltenders back to back at the right part of the year...for them, that is. Is this how we are going to play once the playoffs hit? I am going to guarantee a big, fat no!

On Saturday night, I went out on a limb and actually wore my #66 Mario Lemieux sweater instead of my usual Pens sweatshirt. You can blame that loss on me. Tonight, I wore the sweatshirt and it didn't matter. It seemed like we came out to play in the first period, but forgot how to play once the second started. Grant it, I don't want to take full blame for the losses, considering I am just the livingroom fan, but I am a serious fan nonetheless and I am willing to take the heat. If anything, this gives me hope that Tuesday will roll around and we will be back on track to get on that all important roll going into the playoffs.

We have three games left, the first one is in Tampa Bay, then we come home Thursday against the New York Islanders, and the final game of the season is on the road in Montreal. We need all three after dropping two crucial games back to back. I know the first was in overtime, but it doesn't matter. We need the wins going into the playoffs. We need to have that seed in the opponents head that we aren't a team to be messed with. We aren't a team you look forward to playing. We aren't a team you can accomplish your team strategy against. We need to impose our offense at will. We need that secure feeling that the other team is going to hate matching up with us in the first round.

The Lightening plays us very hard typically. I mean, look at them, they are to the Penguins like the Arizona Cardinals are to the Steelers anymore. They are the Southern Penguins. Half their team is our old members, except for the leading superstars.

The Islanders are always a tough team to play against for some reason, another football reference, like the Browns are to the Steelers. It doesn't matter how bad of a record they have, they are able to take it up a notch against us.

The Canadians are a team, much like our own, trying to prove themselves. They have a harder problem though, they play in Canada. You know the hockey capital of the world? They always have a lot to prove to their fans, considering all the cups they have won...even though a majority of them were won when there were only 6 teams in the league.

Two things need to start happening on Tuesday to get us back to where we need to be: First, Malkin needs to start scoring, I mean seriously. I know he is leading the league, but he let Ovechkin catch up somewhat. Second, Sykora needs his 300th goal before the playoffs hit. Period. He needs to get back on track.

I think if we can roll through these next three games, we will roll into the first round. I would like to see us play an opponent that everyone else is afraid to play to get that edge in further series that we beat the tough team in the East first. I know some teams want to play the weaker teams, but I honestly would love to see a tough opponent first, it gives us steam going into the second round. Oh, and yes, I did pick the Pens to win the cup...as always!

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