Pittsburgh Penguins Need Better Defensive Play If They're Going to Take Game 6

Ryan ChaseContributor IApril 24, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 23:  Brent Johnson #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins replaces Marc-Andre Fleury #29 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

On the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first scoring possession, two Tampa Bay players skated down the ice leisurely passing the puck back and forth between one another,  while the lethargic Penguins defenders watched, as if they were at home watching the action on television.

If they keep playing like that, they will be.

Tampa Bay crushed Pittsburgh 8-2.

It was a massacre.

Complete domination from top to bottom for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they come within one game of tying up the series.

To understand the Penguins' lackadaisical effort, one immediately leaps to the pesky overconfidence that can seduce players when they hold a demanding 3-1 series lead as the Penguins had.  But the thing is the Penguins have not exactly dominated the three games they won.

Game 1 showcased the Penguins’ strongest outing, coupling a formidable defensive and offensive performance, shutting out the Lightning 3-0. The Penguins lost Game 2 5-1. In Game 3 and 4, the Penguins won two hotly contested matches, the second of which went to double overtime.

Since the series has proved to be so competitive, other than the two games they lost, the Penguins should be painfully conscious of the threat the Lightning pose and ensure they are on the top of their game.

In their two losses, this has not been case, and if the Penguins intend on winning this series, it needs to be.