Penguins struggle with Flyers

The Penguins need to minimize shots on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. (credit: Courtesy of Dan4th on Flickr ) The Penguins need to minimize shots on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. (credit: Courtesy of Dan4th on Flickr )

In their first three games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ offense has scored 12 goals. The problem is with their defense, which gave up 20 goals against the Philadelphia Flyers over the same time frame.

The playoffs opened Wednesday night at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins came out strong, taking a commanding 3–0 lead after the first period. After holding the Flyers to only one goal in the second period, the Penguins’ defense gave out. The Flyers scored two quick goals in the third and finished off the comeback with a fast goal in overtime.

The second game also featured the Penguins at home, following a similar script. The Penguins again jumped out to a 2–0 lead, helped by Captain Sidney Crosby’s goal 15 seconds into the game. Although their defense was struggling, they also had leads of 3–1, 4–3, and 5–4 before the Flyers took their first lead of the game with less than 11 minutes left. The Flyers eventually won 8–5.

The Penguins now find themselves down 3–0 in this best of seven series, needing to win two games on the road in addition to two games at home to end the Flyers’ season. As was common during the regular season, the Penguins’ offense has the firepower to keep up with any team in the league.

Once the Penguins take a large two- or three-goal lead, they switch to a much more defensive style of play. However, this forces the team to play to their weaknesses.
The key for the Penguins to keep its season alive is to never let up. By continuing to attack and push the puck up the ice, the team can keep the pressure off their defense and minimize the shots on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

A team needs to play to its strengths, and for the Penguins that means pushing the puck into the Flyers’ zone and having an unrelenting offense. Unless the team realizes that no lead is safe with its defense, the season may quickly come to an end.