ECQF Game 5: It could have gone the other way
Saturday's matinée affair between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning frightened me. We're talking Paranormal Activity multiplied by Hitchcock-ian tension and flambayed with the gore of the Saw franchise (hello, Oren Koules).
It scared me, and my opinion hasn't changed with the game now in the rearview. I don't feel any more confidence now, in reflection.
Don't look at the final score and crow, thinking this was easy from beginning until the end. It was anything but the cakewalk that an 8-2 final might lead you to believe. This was an ugly game if not for troubles in the crease in Pittsburgh's end. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 10 of 14 shots and then got pulled in the second period, only to be relieved by Brent Johnson, who stopped 7 of 11 shots faced.
25 shots on goal by the Lightning. At the other end of the ice, Dwayne Roloson faced 33.
Go back to that Fleury numbers for a second. 14 shots. After a period and 5+ minutes of play of the second period. The Lightning mustered all of 8 shots on goal in the 1st period, and put up another six in the 2nd before Fleury was yanked.
That doesn't inspire me. That shows me a goalie had a bad game, that likely won't happen again.
The numbers of the netminders doesn't show you the inane image that was the Bolts effort in their own end during the majority of the 1st period, as they let the Penguins pepper Roloson with 13 shots and seemed to own the game. The outcome of the days contest seemed predestined, and it was only a matter of time before the Penguins would light the lamp.
The roof may have caved in for Pittsburgh after allowing two quick Tampa Bay goals to end the 1st period, but weak play by the Lightning in their own zone to start the game (as well as late in the game, when Pittsburgh finally put forth a renewed effort to save face), do not make me confident going into game 6. When Pittsburgh showed up, it was a lop-sided effort in their favor.
While Fleury and Johnson gave the Lightning the gift of goals, it was Dwayne Roloson that prevented the Bolts from being the victims of a drubbing, instead of the culprits that partook in one.