Pittsburgh Penguins' Flower Wilts in Tampa Bay Heat as Pens Fall 5-3
So far this season, a goaltender controversy has been brewing in Pittsburgh, as Marc-Andre Fleury, the starting goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-1) has not exactly lit the world on fire. He has a nice knack of giving up early goals which put the Penguins on their heels.
Tonight, for his second start in a row, he gave up a goal on the first shot he faced in the game.
Let me repeat that statement: Two games in a row have seen the Flower give up a goal on the first shot he faced.
Dude, that's pathetic.
Not only did he give up the goal but he looked completely lost on the play. His head just isn't in the game and for that reason, I am unveiling a new award you might see from time to time in my columns going forward.
The "Silver Scissors" award, which will go to a player that just isn't cutting it. Congratulations Fleury, on being the first to earn this dubious achievement.
Amazingly though, about 25 seconds after this goal, Pascal Dupuis took a stupid holding penalty and went to the box. Given how lost Fleury looked so far, I fully expected the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-1) to score another goal and grab an early chokehold on the game.
Instead, the Penguins got shorthanded goals by Craig Adams and Matt Cooke to jump up 2-1. Yes, I said Craig Adams.
It had only been about 119 games or so since Adams had scored a regular season goal. He also assisted on Cooke's tally.
Adams also assisted later in the period when Pascal Dupuis fired a sweet backhander past Lightning goaltender Mike Smith. This prompted Lightning coach Guy Boucher to lift the goaltender and put in backup Dan Ellis.
I must admit at this point the Penguins and their fans had to be feeling pretty good about themselves. That feeling lasted for about four minutes until Fleury gave up another soft goal to Teddy Purcell.
This goal gave the Lightning new life, and I must be honest. Knowing how "well" Fleury has played this year, I kind of knew then that this was going to end ugly.
Vinny LeCavalier scored a power play goal on a 5-on-3 advantage to tie the game around the midway point of the second period, and with Tampa Bay operating a 1-3-1 defensive system, Pittsburgh just started to constantly turn over the puck.
Martin St. Louis put Tampa Bay ahead to stay on a beautiful breakaway goal which he lifted over Fleury's poke check attempt. St. Louis would later add an empty net goal to ice the game.
The Penguin stars were pretty much nonexistent in this game: Sidney Crosby did manage to get an assist on the Dupuis goal but finished the game at minus-1; Evgeni Malkin not only didn't show up on the score sheet, but he showed zero speed along the blue line as the Lightning blew past him for several breakaway opportunities. He finished minus-2.
The Penguin power play yet again failed to score. For all the great puck movement they were getting out of this unit, they still need to learn to shoot it more. Scoring some power play goals wouldn't hurt either.
In my opinion, the Penguins just seemed to fall apart after Fleury let in the first two soft goals, and they never recovered.
This was the end of a road trip, so maybe some home cooking on Friday against the hated Philadelphia Flyers might be just what the doctor ordered.
I hope Dan Bylsma goes back to Brent Johnson, because right now he's giving the Penguins their best chance to win.
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