Lack of Energy Costs Pens Game 2

I’m not sure why it happened.  Maybe some combination of playing into June last season and having to come on so strong to make the playoffs the last month of this season, but the Pens, after matching the Capitals for 2.5 periods energy-wise, just hit a wall.  They got a power play with about 9 minutes left in the 3rd period and then acted like they didn’t give a shit.  I’ve never seen a power play that lacked energy to such a horrendous degree.  Right as it ended Malkin tripped a Capital, and the Pens were completely dumbfounded on the ensuing face off.  It was like the concept of the Caps winning the draw and getting the puck over to Ovechkin caught them off-guard, that it never occurred to them that Washington might try to do that.  No one was on that side of the ice, nor did anyone seem to try real hard to get over there.  After another Ovechkin goal made it 4-2 the Pens woke up a bit again and got it back to 4-3 with 30 seconds left on Crosby’s 3rd of the night.  But at that point it was too late to have any realistic chance.

A huge factor in losing this game was also failing to score on a lengthy 5-on-3 late in the 1st period.  A lot of times 5-on-3’s can tilt momentum in a game.  It wasn’t a huge tilt after that kill, but by the same token its probably a different outcome if the Pens had got up 2-0.  Varlomov also made several huge saves when the Pens were up 2-1 in the 2nd that helped the Washington cause.

This series still is not over at 2-0, but the Pens have dug themselves a hole.  They simply must stop having so many lapses on defense.  They keep playing defense like they are now and Fleury isn’t on top of his game they are going to have an 8 spot dropped on them.  And they have to have energy for the full 60 minutes.  More to the point, they can’t have an energy drop in the middle of the 3rd of a tie game.  That was simply inexcusable and barring something unforseen, like a return to the Capitals the rest of the playoff playing league came to enjoy in the 80s and 90s, Washington is going to win this thing in like 5 games.

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