Penguins-Oilers: Pittsburgh Almost Loses a 5-1 Game

Matt HunterCorrespondent INovember 7, 2008

"You watch—the Penguins will come out, give up two quick goals, and this game will get close before you know it." 

That is what my dad said right before the start of the third period last night.  I just shrugged it off, thinking if they score two goals, that is all right—there is no way they are going to score three or four. 

Talk about being surprised. And also—thanks, Dad, for jinxing the hell out that third period.

I am almost speechless about the entire meltdown of last night.  The Penguins looked great, they were shooting the puck, the power play looked solid, and they looked as if they had shrugged off that tough west coast trip.  They looked like the Penguins of last year, when they would come out flying and put a lot of goals up on the board.

Now I am never one to put any heat on a coach for the way a professional team plays.  These guys have been playing the sport forever, and a guy standing behind them on a bench should not be held responsible for poor play in my mind. 

However, last night I went against my grain and I have to say that the third period needs to be put right on top of Terrien's head.  There is no excuse for a team to come out in the third period with a 5-1 lead and give up three goals—that were, in all honesty, pretty weak.

I mea,n look at the goal Hemsky scored.  Fleury just had a brain fart, and left that entire far side wide open.  That shot could have been saved by a four-year old who wasn't wearing any goalie equipment. 

It is Terrien's job to keep his team focused, and he clearly did none of that at all.  It is like he told them to just go out play twenty more minutes, and lets get out of here.  You cannot do that in the NHL—and the Penguins dodged a bullet last night, pulling out what should have been an easy win to one where they were fighting until the end.

The team just came out flat-footed, cocky, any other negative words that you can think of in that third period.  They have had this problem a lot this year already.  Something needs to change in that locker room between periods. 

This team looks like they do not want to win big, but give the fans a show and make it close.  They may also not want to score any more goals, just play a dump and chase with a trap, and run the clock that way. 

Now, I know this is a game of integrity and all, but I have to say the heck with it—keep putting pucks in the net.  Who cares if you are winning 5-1, you should be going out the next period and try to make the score 6, 7, or 8-1. 

Who cares if Edmonton gets mad?  You only play them once, and by scoring that many goals you guarantee that nobody is going to want to come back.

I was excited last night with the way the team played for the first two periods, but that third period completely stomped out my excitement and turned it to disgust. 

Yes, they got the two points—but they did not deserve them for the way they played as a team in that third period.