I finally got to see my beloved Bolts play last night. With their backs up against a wall and their first successful season on the line, they only looked so-so. I honestly was not impressed, at least with their defense. I thought Roloson looked solid in net, even after an awkward goal in OT the other night (what's with all the bad angle/from the boards goals this year?!?). But he did his job and made the huge saves (how about that 3 rebound save in the second?! awesome).
It was the Lightning defense that was tough to watch. It was so passive and un-explosive that I was wondering if this was even playoff hockey. I'm hoping this was just Guy Boucher's strategy against the Pens. When you look at their roster, it is the least impressive of any playoff roster. Without Malkin and Crosby, their depth chart becomes quite shallow. So the Lightning's passive play with three players backing up through the neutral zone may be to suffocate their rosters and make them fight from the outside to get to the net. I'd completely buy that if the Lightning was a bit more aggressive in the corners. Just take your man out! They've done a great job with the passing lanes, but please! Just take the body; get in there and squeeze 'em out in the corners!
Ok, enough of that rant on the Lightning defense, the only thing that was worse was the Pen's offense. I admire their grit and their propensity to throw things at the wall and see what sticks, but it's just not as pretty as it was last year. The creative and one-on-one abilities are just not there without Malkin and Crosby. I don't think that they have dynamic offense which is needed to go far into playoffs.
Their one gleaming highlight, even after game 5 and 6's performance, has been Fleury. The Pens didn't deserve to win last night with all of breakaways, penalties and squandered opportunities that they gave up. Fleury has played (mainly the first 4 games though) with composure. This game 7 will challenge his mental and playoff capabilities... is he a big time goalie? Or a prospect that just fell short? I think no, but that's just because I want the Bolts to win :)