“Let’s play fast. Let’s play fearless, and let’s have a relentless attack. Let’s get Game 1.” – Mike Sullivan before game 1 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.
The Penguins must follow this advice of their faithful leader if they plan to repeat winning the greatest championship in sports.
The Pens did take care of business Wednesday night when the Blue Jackets came to town. Somewhat of a slow start though, preempted by the loss of Matt Murray to a fluke piece of slippery ice causing him to suffer a suspected groin injury. Luckily, a previous Stanley Cup champion goaltender was ready to fill the space between the pipes and answer the call.
Before my thoughts on the game itself, my thoughts on those jagoffs from Columbus:
John Tortorella – I have mixed feelings about the guy, but generally his name leaves a sour taste in my mouth. As a washed up college hockey player, I can’t get on board with a coach that wants to be the star of the show. With that being said, maybe in the world of Torts that is how he wants to keep pressure / attention from outside the rink on him to ‘protect’ his players. I can’t see that being the case with Torts most of the time though, considering his internet famous post-game media conferences.
- Jackets’ Young Talent – Hockey players always talk about birth years and that groups you into who you play against. For me, thinking about ’97’s playing in the show is mind boggling. Hopefully the Penguins can adapt to playing against guys who can’t even drink yet on roadies and use their experience to guide this ship.
- Goaltending – Get to Bob. You can not let a guy with his talent and resume get hot. If the Pens can keep him from being the best player on the ice, I don’t see it being an issue. Phil Kessel, a Stanley Cup Champion, proved that he is human Wednesday night among other Pens.
The road was not as smooth as the box score might elude to for the Penguins in game 1 though. After being outshot 16-4 in the first period, Sullivan sparked the fire that his players needed to set off a 3 goal second period. Goal tallies go to Rust, Kessel, and Bonino. Matt Calvert brought the Jackets to within two in the third, but the Penguins closed it out for a game one win.
Around the League:
- NYR Leads 1-0 vs. MTL (2-0 Game 1)
- BOS Leads 1-0 vs. OTT (2-1 Game 1)
- STL Leads 1-0 vs. MIN (2-1 Game 1)
- SJS Leads 1-0 vs. EDM (3-2 Game 1)
Games To Watch Tonight & My Picks:
TOR VS. WAS (Game 1) – Maybe just because I hate the Caps, but I think the Leafs steal one.
NSH VS. CHI (Game 1) – Hawks
CAL VS. ANA (Game 1) – “Quack”