Sunday, April 16, 2017

Maybe it is rocket science

Marc-Andre Fleury / MF
By: MF,

While reading through all the pre-game material, one particular piece caught my eye. The article was titled “Columbus Blue Jackets will Solve Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2.” The author, Lansing Murphy (Union and Blue), claimed that solving Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins wasn’t rocket science.

Well, maybe it is…as the Penguins dominated once again with a 4-1 win in Game Two over the Blue Jackets. Fleury, nor the Penguins, were solved and the Blue Jackets still have no answer.

Game Two started much like Game One. The Blue Jackets came out and pressured early. Fleury was a wall, and unshakable. Sidney Crosby opened up the game scoring, and his playoff scoring. It began when Sergei Bobrovsky went behind the net to play the puck and decided to ponder the meaning of life. That gave enough time for Conor Sheary to come in and steal the puck. He made an outlet pass to Jake Guentzel who found Crosby all alone at the side of the net. Brandon Dubinsky was no match for Crosby. The first period ended and the Penguins were well on their way to another win.

However, the Blue Jackets did get a little puck luck in the second period. Brandon Saad got a one-on-one chance and his shot ended up being deflected off of Ron Hainsey’s stick and past Fleury. Things were then tied…well, for 51 seconds. Crosby would end up getting the puck to Guentzel who would put the Penguins back into the lead at 2-1. Just as time expired, the Blue Jackets tried to get under the skin of the Penguins. Well, it didn’t work for the hundredth time and Nick Foligno took a penalty. Well now, solving the Penguins wasn’t proving to be an easy task.  

Two headed monster (Crosby and Malkin) / MF
The Penguins would then start the third period on the power play. A second after the power play ended, the two-headed monster of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would connect to put the Penguins up 3-1. With the game winding down, the Blue Jackets emptied their net to try and get something done. Patric Hornqvist put that hope to rest with an empty net goal. The game seemed over and the Pens were just waiting for time to expire. That is when Matt Calvert decided to be a coward. He cross-checked Tom Kuhnhackl in the back of the neck, which resulted in the stick breaking in half. Then with Kuhnhackl hunched over, Calvert came around for a second time to deliver another hit to the head. There is no room for that type of cheap shot in this hockey league. They will find out that these cheap shots will get them an early exit from the playoffs. That is not being cocky about the Penguins chances, it's just having common knowledge of today’s brand of hockey.

Ian Cole said it best, “We want to be competitive. We want to be physical. We want to play hard. But we’re going to do it between the whistles and stay out of the stuff after the whistles because the game isn’t won after the whistles.”

The Blue Jackets have no answer for the Penguins, Fleury, or the star power they have. Not rocket science? Well, I beg to differ.

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