The Rubber Match


After each club having ousted the other, handily, this post season represents the rubber match, the best 2 out of 3.

The big difference being the fact that the Pens are no longer the wet behind the ears team they once were, rather, they’re now the defending Stanley Cup champs, and boast the most post season experience of any current NHL club.

But, to be fair, the Sens aren’t the basket case team they were when they suffered a sweep at the hands of the Penguins 2 years ago.

These 2 teams come into this match up rather evenly matched, from a regular season stand point.

  • Neither team are PP specialists.
  • Both have solid PK’s.
  • They’re evenly matched in F/O %.

The key differences are;

  • With the lead, Ottawa wins, less so the Pens.
  • Pittsburgh is the stronger offensive club.
  • Pittsburgh has the stronger defensive club.
  • Pittsburgh has drawn more penalties.
  • Pittsburgh has taken more penalties.

In most other regards these teams are even.  So what do you do when your opposition is stronger, both offensively, and defensively?

Don’t let them have the puck.

If the Sens are going to win this series, they’re going to do it by playing a determined puck possession game, forcing the Pens to play in their own end, and frustrate them into taking bad penalties, which they are prone to taking, and then stinging them on the PP.  The Sens aren’t going to dominate the Pens, they don’t have the scorers to do it.   The Sens aren’t going to out defend the Pens, they haven’t the goaltending to do it.  To win, they’ll have to out work them, force the Pens to chase the puck, frustrate them along the boards and in the neutral zone.  If the Sens can keep the Penguins from playing their game, prevent them from exploiting their offensive strengths, their odds of winning will increase dramatically.

The Pens will want to come out fast and furious, trying to break the Sens will to compete, and exploit their suspect goaltending.  Clouston has to use this against them.  Neil ’em to the boards.  Frustrate them with Ruu-jitsu. Then, when they get off of their game plan, make ’em pay.

If the Sens win this series, it’s going to be as a result of tremendously focused team play, and a never quit attitude toward puck possession.  The Pens believe they can win, they believe they can do it by dictating the pace and style of play.  Clouston has to convince his team to turn the other cheek, at all times, and consider possessing the puck as a victory in itself, that will pay dividends over time.

Last 20 GP

Pens (Sens)

W – 11 (9)

L – 9 (11)

GF -61 (50)

GA – 57 (60)

Will the Sens beat the Pens?

Probably not.

Can they beat the Pens?

Absolutely.

And THAT’S what matters.

GN

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11 Responses to “The Rubber Match”

  1. if Elliot plays well.. then it is the question of who wants it more. Also in the playoffs you don’t know who the dark horse is .. I remember in 1993, Mtl won the cup . one of the top scorers was Paul DiPietro who now plays in Europe. In 17 games, he had 8 goals and 5 assists during the playoffs and was a hero.

  2. Ahhh yes, the “DiPietro Factor” as they called it at the time. I remember that too, what a blind side he was.
    GN

  3. GelatinousMutantCoconut Says:

    What I really love going into this post-season is the lack of expectations.

    There’s no pressure. Making the play-offs was a victory.

    I can smell spoiler.

    • Agreed, I’m thankful we get to watch some great hockey in the first round, a win and it’s all the better for it!
      GN

  4. Corbechev Says:

    Is Pittsburgh the better defensive team? As far as goals allowed, sure.. but I would take Ottawa’s defense over Pittsburgh defense

  5. Probably not? Some fan you are!

    • Fan and delusional do not have to be and and the same. This is what seperates Sens fans from Leafs fans after all!
      Don’t think for a second I want anything other than a Sens win.
      GN

  6. random poster here – I just wanted see if anyone else noticed TSN’s latest power rankings? I know they’re always a joke, but the latest one is beyond ridiculous. Somehow, the Sens finiished 5th in the East and the Habs finished 8th, backing into the playoffs, but the Habs got 11th spot and the Sens got…wait for it…16th!! Behind MTL, BOS, NSH, COL, and….WAITTTT for it……..the MFing New York Rangers!!!! A team that didn’t make the playoffs is ranked higher than a team that (essentially) clinched 3 weeks before the season ended (officially, 10 days (ish)).
    I don’t often think to send emails in response of this kind of stupidity, but I expect better from a national network.

    • “I expect better from a national network…”
      When it comes to hockey coverage, that was your first mistake. I’m actually amazed the Sens finished ahead of Toronto!
      GN

  7. GN here is a quote that you can headline for a posting:
    “If you believe in second half records, the Ottawa Senators record in the second half was actually better than the Pitsburgh penguins, Elliot obviously is the wild card, the X-factor for the Pittsburgh Penguins.. but I lack the intestinal fortitude to say unequivocally that the Ottawa senators can beat the Pittsburgh Penguins but it should be a really good series”
    The classy Bob Mackenzie !!
    http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/clip288276#clip288276

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