RECAP 2.7: The Fate of the Fleurious

Click on the image for some series ending stats

I’ve started this post 15 times and haven’t been able to put together any words. So I have decided to ease into things. April 5th, 2017: the Pittsburgh Penguins announce that Kris Letang is out for the next 8 months due to neck surgery. Every expert and their mom got on Twitter to run their mouth and say the Pens were done. NO CHANCE at repeating. Here was our response:

Grow a spine, hang some balls on the end of it, and say “yes they can win” because guess what Sally, that’s what the Pittsburgh Penguins are saying in the locker room.

SO here we are. The Pittsburgh Penguins that couldn’t beat the Columbus Blue Jackets and stood no chance against the Washington Capitals without Letang have just advanced the Eastern Conference Finals. No it wasn’t pretty, the road to the cup never is, ask Edmonton about the evil twists and turns the journey can take.

The St. Louis Blues lost a draft pick last night also, because they were dumb enough to make one of the conditional picks gained for Shattenkirk under the condition that the Capitals make it to the third round. LOL.

Remember when the Capitals got Shattenkirk and the Penguins had to get something to balance it out!? Also, is it just me or is Shattenkirk kind of just average? Maybe when a team that has had a player for so long is unwilling to resign the player that should be a red flag to other teams that it may be the player.

It’s been said every April since 2010, “this is the Capitals year”

It’s been said every May since 2010, “nope.”


The period started out a lot like game 6 went, the Capitals came out with a vengeance and Marc-Andre Fleury had to bail the team out time and time again. It looked dim. The crowd felt it. The Capitals felt it. The Penguins don’t feel. Slowly they found their legs and turned the tide around, finishing the final half of the period with dominance of their own and actually had a lead in the shots total after the first. Notable coaching changes: Sullivan dressed Carter Rowney and Scott Wilson over Tom Kuhnhackl and Carl Hagelin. There was a full moon last night, and it was most likely because of the gravitational pull of the new size of Sullivan’s balls, because not many coaches bench Carl Hagelin in a game 7 like that. Unreal coaching move. He also put Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta together, and holy shit gang, Olli fucking Maatta.

Regardless of if you’re a fan of the Capitals or the Penguins, this is the game the NHL wanted. Unfortunately because of a terrible seeding system this game had to happen in the second round because chel gonna chel, but the top two teams in the league going at it in a 0-0 game after 1 in game 7… look out. The second period started out with some of the best hockey you will ever witness. Back and forth chances at both ends, few stoppages in play, just amazing hockey between two heavy weight teams. Finally 8 minutes in another subtle adjustment by Sullivan, moving Bryan Rust up with Crosby and Guentzel paid off.

BRYAN RUST (6) Assisted by GUENTZEL (5) & CROSBY (10) @ 8:49

A forced turnover results in a quick scoring opportunity. How in the hell does 22 year-old Jake Guentzel remain THAT calm and patient in that situation instead of just pulling the trigger, maybe he should teach a “wait don’t shoot” class in the off-season to white police officers. What an unreal play. You’ve shown less patience today in either your drive to work or in loading this page. And Bryan fucking Rust man, what else is there to say about this little shit?

The tempo didn’t change the remaining 12 minutes of the period and neither did the score. The Penguins had that step that we haven’t seen in awhile and it all came down to 2 simple systemic coaching adjustments: subtle change to the break-out and neutral zone support. The Penguins were predictable all series with their break-out passes up the walls, where the eager Capitals were always waiting to check the Penguin player and force a turnover. How do you fix this? Throw two decoys up the walls to spread the Capitals wider than Mark Maddens mouth and then send a pass right up the middle. Simple. Beautiful. +1 for Sullivan. But don’t stop there… in the majority of the games the Capitals have won they have made zone entries a bitch for the Penguins, who had to result to dump and chase hockey. Now with the two “decoys” on the boards they could easily engage in the play presenting a 3F-1D-1D movement through the neutral zone that Washington could not contain. This usually meant using a defender as the 3rd forward, which is why Maatta, Dumoulin and Cole especially were so often seen near the goal line. It’s a beautiful game.

Dumoulin played the game of his life. Flat out. This isn’t his best play, but it’s all you need to know.

20 minutes. The Washington faithful is rocking the red. The Pittsburgh faithful is giving themselves high blood pressure. What a game. The Capitals came with everything they had (#hockeyporn) but the defense, and mostly Marc-Andre Fleury wouldn’t have it. You need your goalie to make the big saves. The Penguins asked way too much of Fleury in this series, but the soul-patched smiling son of a bitch was right there the whole way. He was going to do anything in his power to make sure game 6 wasn’t his last time in Pittsburgh. You need your goalie to make the big saves, regardless of how simple they are, and like a father in the ghetto Braden Holtby was not there when his team needed him at the 4 minute mark.

PATRIC HORNQVIST (4) Assisted by SCHULTZ (6) @ 4:14

The play started when Ovechkin failed to clear the puck, honestly one of the few mishaps of the night for Ovechkin but it ended up killing his team.

NBCSN went off on the Ovechkin turnover, but it doesn’t matter who turns that puck over, that shot has to be saved in a 1-0 game. Bottom line. The goal took the life out of the Capitals and the fans alike. A few minutes later Scott Wilson and Brooks Orpik got tangled up and actually dropped the gloves, meaning the Penguins traded a bottom 6 winger for 1 of 6 Capitals defenders, that’s a trade you should always make. Some were saying it was Orpik trying to spark something which it may have been, but leaving your team with 5 defenders for 5 minutes in the 3rd period isn’t sparking anything, it’s just adding gasoline to the dumpster.

Time ticked down and we saw the Penguins do something that everyone hoped for. They played their game. They didn’t back into a shell. They didn’t give a shit about a 2-0 lead. They wanted more. They wanted the game more, and they went out and earned it. With the goalie pulled the Capitals looked lost, the Penguins had the best chances, and the horn sounded.

There are 7 games in a playoff series. You must win 4 of them. Until the final horn sounds declaring the 4th victory for one team the series is not over. I don’t care what you read. I don’t even care what you think. Do not, ever, bet against these Penguins.


    • Marc-Andre Fleury with a shutout in a game 7 on the road against the best offense in the league. There is nothing else to say. The man was the Penguins backbone in this series, he was there when the team needed him the most, and he is moving on. There are not enough words to describe what he has been able to do this postseason.
    • Olli Maatta. Wow. Did he magically find the on switch? Did someone finally tell him that everyone knows he is Professor Chaos? I don’t know but he has looked like the player he showed us in his first two seasons in the league. Calm, smart, offensively aware, I don’t think the Capitals were prepared for that at all, hell I sure wasn’t.
    • Brian Dumoulin. In a big game you need your best defender to play his best game, and Dumoulin answered the bill. This game alone probably earned him 4.5 million next year.
    • Mike Sullivan. Perfect adjustments. Go back through all of the 3-1 blown series in the Byslma era and compare game 7s. This was how you coach. Benching Hagelin saved the Penguins season, and there aren’t many coaches that bench a 4 million dollar winger (even if he is over-priced).
    • The best image:

  • Ottawa fans are literally excited because they “get to play yet another beat up team in the ECF, the stars are aligning” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.