Monday, April 18, 2011

Pens/ Bolts Game Three: Stealing the Thunder from the Lightning!

Pens up 2-1 in the series

by Jan Snyder

The folks at the St. Pete Times Forum tried hard to give their team the advantage in this first playoff game in Tampa. They handed out drums as patrons entered the building. The idea was to make as much noise as possible and knock the Pens off their game. Good thinking, except…

The Pens came out flying and noise or no noise, they stole the thunder! Max Talbot and Arron Asham each scored quick down and dirty goals in the first period. Those two goals essentially took the crowd and their drums out of the picture. Before the first period ended, Marty St. Louis scored the first of his two power play goals, just to make things a little interesting. I said before the series started that I’ve always liked St. Louis, but I’m starting to feel differently about him already!

I would have thought the building would be louder than it was, unless the TV broadcast was muffling some of the sound. You would think having their first playoff game would bring out more passion in the stands, but I didn’t notice it so much.

By the time the third period rolled around, St. Louis made it interesting yet again, bringing the score to a 2-2 tie, but on just the next shift, our own little tiger, Tyler Kennedy (Kennedy!) popped out of the pack and found the goal to put the Pens up for good.

Still no change on the status of the Pens power play – it’s just about on life support, now a dismal 0-15 in the three games. But it’s getting closer – we can feel it – it’s coming – just a few more tries…same can be said for James Neal’s attempts to score. Not quite there, but coming.

How about Kris Letang? After a less than stellar game last time, he sure made up for it in this one. Two assists, five shots, five hits – he seemed like he had a clone as everywhere you looked, there was another “58” hustling to the puck. Overall, the defense played a much stronger game and it showed on the scoreboard.

Fleury continued to be amazing, stopping Tampa’s big three several times. Only St. Louis seems to be able to beat him, scoring a goal for each of his root canals.

Nice to see Max Talbot get a hard-earned goal. His line was all energy tonight. Also nice to see Ben Lovejoy carry on an intelligent conversation after the game. When he got hit behind the goal, I was afraid we might have another concussion to deal with, but he seemed to be fine. We’ll see if Steve Downie is fined after the NHL review of that hit that saw him leave his feet.

So, the players now have another day at the beach to soak up power from the sun and breathe some life into the anemic power play to get it breathing on its own again. Then on Wednesday, back to business and getting another win in Tampa!


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