Anything catch your eye from the boxscore that Adam from the Pensblog tweeted?
The Penguins only registered 25 shots on goal on the night, and of them 10 came from defensemen. While throwing pucks on net is never a bad idea or one to be criticized, the forwards only generating 15 shots isn't going to get it done.
When it's playoff time the spotlight always goes to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and those two really need to come through if the Pens want to win. If they don't, they'll take heat, cost of doing business and they know it. It looked like both passed up shooting lanes on Pittsburgh's lone PP last night. Shoot more, score more.
The support players need to be better too though, to help the star centers. David Perron is basically only noticeable when he turns the puck over these days, which might be preferable to Chris Kunitz who looks like a shell of himself and isn't noticeable at all. Patric Hornqvist was OK, but just OK this time of year isn't enough.
Beware of bad math running rampant these days, particularly when it comes to buyout amounts.
Contrary to reports and opinions, the salary cap hit of a buyout is not simply 2/3 of the contract left over twice the length. War on Ice has a calculator that you can use to see actual cap hits going forward. Let's take a look at a couple of popular (at least among fans) buyout candidates:
The buyout amount the player receives IS 2/3 the contract for double the years left.
However the team cap hit (In the "New AAV" column) will fluctuate due to penalties and language in the CBA, which usually makes that 2nd year of the buyout a little more expensive.
At the end of the day, buying out an old vet will free up more space (with the penalty of a couple years of dead space) and probably should be something the Penguins explore and at least strongly consider.
Take out Brian Dumoulin and Taylor Chorney and put back Christian Ehrhoff and Derrick Pouliot and suddenly the Pens blueline is a LOT better at moving the puck.. It remains to be seen if the latter two are healthy enough to go in Game 2, but just based on puck moving ability, one would have to think that Pittsburgh would be able to play pucks better out of the zone with better players.
There's no such thing as moral victories in the NHL playoffs, just the team that gets to 4 wins in a series first. I think Pittsburgh showed a lot last night that they can hang with the Rangers, but that didn't get the win.
And it also showed a lot has to go right. Marc-Andre Fleury can't make any mistakes, because the guy at the other end isn't going to be making any. Beyond that, Fleury has to be razor sharp, which he was after allowing 2 goals early. However, allowing those 2 goals put the Pens in a hole. His rebounds, positioning, glove, everything has to be about flawless. He almost was.
Beyond MAF, the team has to be smart. Do you trust Steve Downie not to cross the line? Perhaps a better question - do you trust the referees not to send such a pain-in-their-ass Downie to the box on a borderline call? The Penguins should at least consider putting Scott Wilson in the lineup, possibly on the 4th line and bumping Nick Spaling up to Downie's spot with Brandon Sutter and Beau Bennett.
The Pens have no margin of error in this series, but as we alluded to last night- if they take 1 game in New York, they're setting up for a long series. If not, the pressure will be on to win both games at home, as the Pens had to do in 2009 against the Capitals and the Red Wings.