On days I'm covering Pensburgh's recap, I keep track of key moments in a marble notebook while noting stats on my laptop. Usually I'm furiously writing notes on players who are putting in the extra effort or the ones who need to be relieved of their duties. In about two or three pages, I cover the entire game.
Tonight, my notes and stats tracking started and ended with the first minute of the game. Much like the Penguins did.
I'm usually a big proponent of saying, "Games aren't lost in the first minute." That usually goes for the first period, even the second. But as I watched Sidney Crosby, the greatest hockey talent on the planet, bobble the puck on the blue line and watch Brad Marchand snipe Tomas Vokoun on the Bruins' first shot of the game, I knew deep down this would be the theme of the evening. A carryover from Game 1 but much worse. In Game 1, the Pens played some semblance of the game of hockey. Game 2 was a Hawks routing of District 5.
Mike Colligan made an interesting comment on Twitter following the game:
After most #Pens losses, there's an agreed upon sense of what went wrong, got a lot of different answers from a lot of players tonight— Mike Colligan (@MikeColligan) June 4, 2013
Not sure if having the different answers is anything meaningful, but I think it speaks to exactly how bad the Pens played and where they are mentally: all over the place.
I feel like I need to make some mention of what happened after Marchand's goal so here are the few stats I thought were the most telling:
- Faceoffs: 51/49% in favor of the Bruins. Not bad, but it goes to show that being decent in faceoffs means nothing when you can't maintain possession of the puck.
- Hits: Bruins - 19. Pens - 37. Some people love pointing out hit totals like it's always a good thing. But the higher the number, the more time a team spent without the puck.
- Giveaways: I hate using the stats on the Event Summary because I don't think they're accurate in the slightest. Crediting the Pens with only 12 giveaways seems too kind.
I'm stopping there because this loss had nothing to do with stats. It had everything to do with a completely uninterested performance that followed Marchand's goal. If all it's going to take to deflate the Pens into minor league-esque play is an early goal, then they have no business showing up the remaining games.
No one wants to hear a rah-rah speech about how the 1991 Penguins managed to climb out of a 0-2 series deficit against the Bruins to advance to the Stanley Cup Final or that the Pens are a stacked team and can do anything with the roster they have. What's possible means nothing. The Pens need to show it. They can talk about how they need an attitude adjustment all day, but it means nothing until they do something about it.
At this point, with the Pens heading back to Boston in this seemingly never-ending hole, the Pens have to lay it all on the line for Games 3 and 4. I don't care to hear about how poorly Kris Letang played or why the offense looked so lost in the neutral zone. I want to see them fix the problems, right their minds, and play hockey.
They're losing time and room for mistakes.
As always, learn from this game and forget the rest. Most importantly, keep the faith. This isn't over until the Bruins win #4.