When I saw that this game was on the schedule, I got very excited. I grew up watching the Avs play and hearing about my mom's inappropriate hockey crushes, so when I saw they were coming to Pittsburgh, I immediately called dibs on this game.
Also, I must give Mom a hat tip for the title of this post, as Piano Man is one of her favorite songs.
I asked my mom to give me a preview of the game to tell me what to look for. She filled me in on the following items:
1) Milan Hejduk was named the new Avalanche captain on Monday. He is nearing the end of his career, and as a result, Mom thinks Paul Stasny would have been a better choice.
2) The Avs like to dump and chase, and every so often, they realize that they are super fast and super young and can wear other teams out.
3) Varlamov is playing pretty well, but the defense keeps hanging him out to dry.
4) "Matt Duchene has occasional moments of brilliance, but it doesn't last."
5) The Avs are unable to win at home but seem to kick ass on the road.
So which Avalanche team will we see?
For that matter, which Pens team will we see? The one from the third period of the Carolina game, or the one who played the first two periods of that game?
All will soon be revealed.
Wait, this game's on VS? Balls.
INSERT OBLIGATORY SIDNEY CROSBY-RELATED HAND-WRINGING HERE
The Avalanche are the youngest team in the NHL at 26 years and change. This Fun Fact just makes me feel ancient.
Zoë: "THEY HAVE VARLAMOV
I HAD NO IDEA"
On the pregame as the VS team looks at other teams playing around the league: "Nobody is better at not scoring than the Islanders."
Pierre McGuire conducts the most awkward possible interview of Paul Stasny.
TK WATCH IS OFFICIALLY OVER MY FRIENDS
How I've missed you
I just watched a feature on why the Avs' power play is successful. I'll tell you why it's successful. They sneak a defenseman up to the net and he gets in the goalie's face. In the past, this defenseman was John-Michael Liles. Now even though he's in Toronto, they're still doing the same move. He probably taught all the young guys on the team how to do that before he left. Like some kind of Hoosier Yoda bestowing knowledge on those less talented and more whiny.
Crash the net, you must
INSERT FURTHER SIDNEY CROSBY-RELATED PEARL-CLUTCHING HERE
VS misses showing the first faceoff of the game. This bodes well.
NEW DRINKING GAME: Drink every time the TV broadcast misses a faceoff.
Asham and McCloud drop the gloves after only a few minutes of play and Asham DESTROYS McCloud's will to live. McCloud's actually bleeding a little bit. I would be too, after getting my ass beat by Arron Asham.
Mom was right; the defense is not even giving Varlamov a chance to be awesome. Zoë and I muse about how we feel ever so slightly sorry for him.
Orpik gets creamed from behind by T.J. Galiardi and the Pens go to the power play.
Ryan O'Byrne realizes he's not old enough to be awesome and trips Matt Cooke to result in a Pittsburgh five-on-three.
However, nothing happens. Just a lot of passing back and forth. AND NO SCORING.
This game is inspiring so many existential questions. Who are we? What are we doing?
How much longer can someone on the Pens stand in Varlamov's crease without scoring?
After killing that ridiculous penalty, one of the tiny Avalanche children manages to stuff the puck behind Fleury. 1-0 Avs
Coach Disco is rocking the full-on Tom Selleck-style mustache. This isn't news, but it is notable.
I'm not entirely sure why he's shirtless but just go with it
Matt Duchene makes a super sick move, grabbing the puck from behind and throwing it in faster than anyone can realize, least of all Fleury. 2-0 Avs
Don't count out Uncle Jordy, though. He manages to make a nice shot from a pass from the corner and throw it above Varlamov. 2-1 Avs
Alas, it is not enough, and the Avs score with what, ten seconds left in the period? 3-1 Avs
FIRST PERIOD AWARDS
Shittiest Camera Angles goes to VS, as a network. What's wrong with the standard hockey angles? Why do you have to zoom in oddly and refuse to show us faceoffs?
Most Deserving of Sympathy is going straight to Paul Martin. I know he's been doing shitty lately. Come on, you guys. Michalek's out. He misses his friend.
He's like a puppy whose owner is out of town, and is depressed and refuses to eat because of it. Or, in his case, refuses to play in a reasonable way.
GET BETTER Z
The second period commences with more of the Avalanche Show starring Matt Duchene and The Underage Army.
Holy balls, Niskanen actually shot the puck at the net and forced Varlamov to make a save.
The Pens go on the power play, but once again, they fail to do anything with it. Despite storming the net rather a lot, Varlamov keeps stopping everything.
Malkin brings the puck strongly to the net and somehow, SOMEHOW it doesn't go in. RAAAAAAGE
Varlamov makes another good save as I hear someone yell "FUCK" on the TV broadcast.
Varlamov flops on the ice, imagining that he has the puck, but he actually doesn't and Dupuis stuffs it in. 3-2 Avs
Despite the general mood of jubliation that has come over the arena, James Neal takes a penalty. We are treated to a lovingly rendered close-up of his attempted Fu Manchu. However, nothing happens on either the Avs power play or the Pens penalty kill.
Zoë and I have a short love-fest over Steve Sullivan. Don't get me wrong, we both love James Neal too, but Steve Sullivan is up there in our hearts.
The second period ends with little fanfare.
SECOND PERIOD AWARDS
Dirtbaggiest Mustache goes to TK. We've seen a lot of dirtbag mustaches this month, and I'm not trying to denigrate the efforts of all the fine dudes supporting mens' health for Movember. But seriously, TK, come on. You look like a sexual predator.
Zoë requested that I give Slowest Choo Choo Train to Matt Duchene. Done and done, my friend.
Oh, please stop showing that Matt Duchene highlight. WE GET IT HE SCORED A NICE GOAL SHUT UP.
Just when I'm convinced things can't get any more....blehhhhh...Orpik destroys Varlamov's will to live. From the point, no less. 3-3 Game Bitches
I am pathologically unable to resist NyanOrpik
Geno bashes Landeskog in the corner and somehow comes up with the puck. As Varlamov is sprawled out like a frat boy on a bender attempting to make a save, Geno jumps over him and easily shoots it into a virtually empty net. 4-3 Pens
Pierre McGuire takes the opportunity to lean over the bench and ask Steve Sullivan's opinion on the goal that was just scored.
STOP HARASSING STEVE SULLIVAN PIERRE MCGUIRE
A Pens power play is just the opportunity for James Neal to score his twelfth goal of the season. We love you, James Neal. What else can we say? We love you. 5-3 Pens
Kris Letang has decided that he is worthy of some of our love, and takes the puck in deep to score the MOST RIDICULOUS GOAL OF ALL TIME. 6-3 Pens
A slow pan down the Pens' bench reveals a panoply of facial hair. Matt Niskanen's mustache is the wispiest of them all.
Some shoving occurs at the very end of the game, but it doesn't even matter.
THIRD PERIOD AWARDS
Prettiest Goal goes to Kris Letang. Even though I was on the phone with my mom at the time, it was still Prettiest Goal.
Up next: Brother Steven and The Bolts.