Pens Forget To Play 2nd Period, Lose Game 3

Remember yesterday’s game? Despite taking place merely a day ago, the Pens forgot everything they learned in game 2, and instead played like it was game 1 all over again. The Senators won 4-2, and take a 2 to 1 lead in the series.
Sergei Gonchar struggled mightily, and his -1 rating told only half of the story. He couldn’t take any passes, couldn’t hold the puck in the zone and was taking shots that were easily blocked by Ottawa. I think I pulled out a great deal of my hair watching Gonchar play like it was the 2005 season (yeah, despite having a great past season, it is easy to forget how big of a bust Sergei was in his first year with the Pens after signing a 5 year/$25 million contract).
The Power Play, which the Pens have lived on all season, has been rather shaky. It takes the Pens at least a minute to gain the zone, and finally set up some sort of cycle. In comparison, the Senators have had no trouble gaining the offensive zone, their passes are crisper and their Power Play cycle starts almost immediately. That spells disaster and a possible series loss for Pittsburgh.
However, Crosby added his 3rd goal in as many playoff games in his young career, and his tally reminded me of the fantastic goal he scored against Tampa Bay earlier in the season. After game 1 got out of hand, the Pens were able to score a few goals in the 3rd, which might have helped in game 2. After the game got out of hand tonight, Crosby was able to score, which could end up helping the Pens in game 4.
All in all, the Pens picked the wrong game to emulate tonight. Rather than building on the successes in game 2, the Pens reverted to game 1 status, which is something that doesn’t bode well for the remainder of the series. Before game 4 on Tuesday, Coach Therrien better fix the “Jekyll and Hyde” Pens, before the team is unfortunately eliminated from Cup-contention.

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