Conference Final Game 4: Bruins 1 Pens 0
Bruins Win Series 4-0
| TPN Recap |
Shots: Letang (6)
Missed Shots: Neal (5)
Blocked Shots: Dupuis, Martin, & Orpik (2)
Hits: Six players (3)
Takeaways: Malkin (1) – the only one
Giveaways: Kennedy & Martin (2)
Ice Time: Letang (27:45) … Morrow (7:55)
Faceoffs: Malkin (8/12) … Crosby (10/24)
Vokoun is the one Penguin no one can complain about in the end. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Tomas Vokoun: Not enough can be said about how great Vokoun was in this series. In a must win game, Vokoun only allowed one goal, off of a slapshot that deflected off of Iginla’s stick. He ended up with 23 saves and was a steadying force for the team when they couldn’t seem to get things together. He was easily the best player on the ice for Pittsburgh.
Pascal Dupuis: Dupuis had his best game of the conference finals in Game 4, even though it wasn’t enough to get the team on the board. He led the team in penalty kill time and added 2 blocked shots and 3 hits as he played a solid “role player” type game. He also added some great puck support for the first line that we had not seen in the first 3 games of the series.
Douglas Murray: Despite being the least used defenseman in Game 4, Murray put together a very solid game. He drew two penalties (one while the Pens were on the PK), and did a fantastic job of clearing out the crease in front of Vokoun. His lack of speed was clearly a factor at times, but his positioning was perfect to compensate for it.
Really getting sick of this specific handshake. (Bruce Bennett/Getty images)
Sidney Crosby: Crosby continued his trend from Game 3 of playing solid defensive hockey, backchecking strong, and producing nothing in the offensive zone. Even though he had 4 shots, he hesitated on shot opportunities and forced passes when the Penguins gained the zone. Really, it looked like Sid ran out of ideas for what to do in the offensive zone. His neutral zone and defensive zone work was great though, just not what the Penguins needed the most.
James Neal: Neal had the right idea at least of getting the puck to the net-ish (5 shots, 5 missed shots), but the frequent shots going wide were certainly a problem. Much like Crosby, he also had a solid game in the neutral zone but just couldn’t get anything done on offense. His inability to hit the net frequently turned into rushes the other way or killed offensive zone possessions.
Kris Letang: Letang was pretty much all over the ice in Game 4. He had a couple of good moments early on (takeaway in the defensive zone and great step up in a 1 on 1 situation) but his performance dropped as the game went on (somewhat of a trend through this series). When the Penguins needed him the most, he did create some opportunities (6 shots on goal) but missed an equal amount of chances with bad passes, failed breakouts, and a tripping penalty. Letang was one of the most baffling players in the game and in the series.
Malkin took this loss especially hard, blaming himself after the game. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)
Evgeni Malkin: Just like Crosby and Neal, Malkin was great with his backcheck and defensive work, but struggled in the offensive zone. The reason Geno is a section lower is because he really created no offense with only 1 shot and multiple giveaways. The most glaring issues he had were on the powerplay, where it looked like he never knew what to do with the puck. It was also painful to watch him not get the puck on net when Rask was out of position late in the game, and also fan on a shot in that final minute. It was the opposite of Geno’s 10 shot performance in Game 3.
Paul Martin: This one makes more sense now that we’ve learned Martin was playing with a “significant injury.” He looked a step slow in Game 4 and I had him marked down for 2 failed clears, 2 bad step ups at the blue line which led to odd man breaks, and 2 giveaways in the offensive zone. When he was settled into position (like on the PK), he looked fine and had a couple of nice pass interceptions. In general though, he was unable to keep up with Boston in Game 4, which again, makes far more sense if he was injured. Martin still managed to be the best defensive player of the series for Pittsburgh for what it’s worth.
Lineup: The only lineup change was Kennedy in for Vitale, which made perfect sense. It would have made sense to put Despres in to boost puck movement and the offense, but what’s done is done. There will be quite a few questions about player usage is the coming weeks. Things to note: Morrow had the least ice time of any Penguin. Murray had less ice time than Engelland for the second game in a row.
Goaltending: Give it up for Vokoun, easily the best player of the series for the Penguins. He deserved a much better ending than he got. He was easily the Series MVP for the Pens.
Both are solid coaches, but Julien easily outdid his foe. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Coaching: The Pens did make a better effort in terms of crashing the net and looking for rebounds, but there was still a major lack of traffic or screens on the crease. Give the Bruins a lot of credit for how they shut down the Penguins, but I don’t think the coaching staff helped much (or was listened to) in terms of that. For what it’s worth, here was my article on Bylsma going into Game 4: http://thehockeywriters.com/dan-bylsma-hot-seat/. When it comes down to it, I don’t care too much if he’s retained or fired, but there are definitely points to each side.
Toronto: Leave the Leafs alone. They scored more in a Game 7 loss than the Pens did all series.
Game 1 – Pens Lose Focus as Bruins Take Over in 3-0 Win
Game 2 – Bruins Completely Dismantle Penguins from Top to Bottom in 6-1 Win
Game 3 – Penguins’ Heart-Breaking Double Overtime Loss Puts Them on Brink of Elimination
Game 4 – Rask and Bruins Shut Out Potent Penguins Offense Again and Send Them Home
Offseason Teaser: There will be many, many things to discuss about the offseason as it unravels. I’ll have a thoughts post up on Monday or Tuesday with the final playoff thoughts (encompassing all 3 rounds) and notes on every player. Ray Shero will have his end of season press conference on Wed at 11am. After that, I’ll get into roster breakdowns, potential moves, and looking into each player. Early topics include: Whatever happens to Bylsma, Assessing Shero’s additions in relation to how Bylsma used them, What to do with Letang and Malkin, and an evaluation of basically every player. Thanks for reading and I hope you stick with us for the summer!
1st Goal Against (McQuaid): – for
Bennett – skated back covering Marchand but lost an edge and fell, which gave Marchand time and space to find McQuaid
Iginla – was too far out of position to properly cover McQuaid and then ultimately deflected his slapshot past Vokoun
Playoffs +/-: Click here for the Playoffs +/- Spreadsheet