Final Score 2-8
“It’s the battle level, who’s going to control his emotions the best. So today should be a great match” — Pascal Dupuis
Youâ€™d think so huh? Instead, what fans were given was a horrible 8-2 blowout. It sucked. The Penguins started out really strong at the opening faceoff and even lead in shots but it all went downhill from there.Â It wasnâ€™t until the end of the first period before the Lightning managed to hit the back of the net, followed by a second goal not even a minute later and from then on there was a complete momentum shift.
The Penguins have managed toÂ completely shut down Stamkos so far this series, not an easy task considering he was second this year in scoring, but tonight he demonstrated why heâ€™s able to score so well and so often. The defence completely lost track of him at certain points during the game and it lead to his two goals and one assist performance.Â If the Pens want to close the series out on Monday they need to get back to playing the same defence they were during game 1 and game 4.
The interesting thing with the current version of the Pens is that when it works, it really works, and when it doesnâ€™t it really, really, doesnâ€™t. The power play is so anaemic at this pointÂ that Niskanen is now on the second shift. He might be a decent defenseman but on the power play for Game 5 he was unfocused and sloppy. Does he really belong there? The only thing more glaring than Niskanenâ€™s play was Kovalev. He looked more like the Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators than from his glory days on the Pens. Complete lack of drive and urgency.Â Now obviously these two arenâ€™t the reason for the loss but their short comings are becoming painfully obvious. Add Fleury being pulled in the second and it just goes to show how off the Pens were today.
Bright points of the game were few and far between but thankfully goals by Rupp and Conner in the third at least prevented a shutout and Talbot registered 2 assists reminded fans why he is Mr. Clutch. Â Monday is a new game and a new start. The Pens need to bring the energy and get back into sync with each other in hopes of closing the series in Tampa and hope the pattern of home ice disadvantage continues.