Hello from Back in Reality. We have Fox Sports Ohio on Gamecenter, which is what we imagine ROOT Sports would still be like if the Penguins hadn't become such a big deal. The Penguins' overall record is 28-11-1 somehow. Christ, that ain't bad. The Blue Jackets haven't beaten the Penguins since 2011. Jeff Rimer reminds us that Joe Vitale is on Crosby's wing. Excuse us while we bless the room and try to get past that fact.
MOST FLASHES OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
God, we still think about Brandon Dubinsky as a Ranger. He hasn't washed the look off yet.
He makes a great individual play and smokes the Pens after bringing the puck off the boards. Early goal. Cannon city. Seriously any channel that just shows a still frame of a cannon after a goal is a good channel. Ugh. Brandon though. We have a small prayer circle to try to remember to like Brandon at least a little before the Olympics. AMERICA
James waltzes between the circles on a Penguins PP and just snipes that shit past McElhinney. FS Ohio accidentally refers to him as Chris Neil which is really upsetting for everyone involved.
but we're tied.
LEAST DISCIPLINED FORMER HUSBAND
Mark Letestu gets jealous of James Neal and hooks him as he keeps motoring on through the neutral zone. Pens PP.
Jackets get all business on the PK and force Jeff Zatkoff to make two back to back spectacular toe saves that had us breathing heavily and muttering curses.
He was not to be outdone, competing heavily for the "hugest balls" award that we occasionally give.
The rest of the period feels whatever.
At least we got something done.
Intermission is characterized solely by Steelers fans on the Internet following the KC Chiefs game so hard that they actually self-immolate. The Chiefs need to win for the Steelers to make the playoffs.
MOST LIKE A GOD
The Pens start the second period like I did, i.e. with a cat in their laps and a glass of malbec. Not even trying. Zatkoff is clearly the exception to this award. Pens are forced to use their timeout. Jeff Zatkoff is fucking ridiculous beautiful. We'd be mad but it's the Jackets.
MOST IMPORTANT FACT
We learned tonight that James and Jared Boll, Our Leader are good friends. Hold us. That explains so much. Especially the nealeatsalone Twitter and possibly how much weed James can smoke without dying.
another Neal snipejob, btw. After the Jackets totally owned the second period for almost 10 minutes. James is so over this. 2-1 Pens.
Boone Jenner has been the best Jackets player tonight. He set up Tropp for a goal that had the Jackets announcers literally pooping themselves. Maatta got burned.
Jackets get a late PP in the second. Twitter can't figure out whether the Chiefs are winning or not. Then it becomes evident that they've lost. Steelers will not make the playoffs. The world can focus again.
This third period will either be really interesting, or really boring, or really painful.
Neal, who is basically a part of every play in this game for the Penguins apparently, takes a penalty early in the 3rd. The Jackets can't even hit the net as James sends them toaster-waffle energy telepathically from the box.
The Pens get a PP of their own but no dice. Anisimov had a semi-breakaway but Niskanen and Jussi made sure that didn't happen.
WHEN GOD CAME TO VISIT
McElhinney got knocked into the net by his own defenseman as Crosby came bearing down on a give and go. Crosby was like "hahahahahahhaa" and then it goes under official review--though it was called a goal on the ice.
Feels like we can't count how many times something like this happened to MAF and it was a goal.
Do NHL referee's mics work ever? He pointed to center. It's a goal.
MOST VISCERAL PROOF THAT A STORM WAS WEATHERED
Finally the Pens go to work on a power play, not long after Crosby's go ahead goal. Kunitz takes a nasty pass from Sid and rips it into the net. Man. Sergei Bobrovsky, Boy Wonder is much missed. 4-2 Pens
Things almost got interesting REALLY when the Pens seemed to have another goal, but apparently it just hit the post and bounced back out. Had to wait a few tense seconds for a stoppage to confirm.
Pens get another PP too and Pens fans can be heard heckling the refs for calls.
Neal went to the net on the PP and got a fucking hat trick. Pens fans throw hats. Woo birds audible in Nationwide, their plague spreading like smallpox. Ah, the road hat on the ice. . .sir, we salute you.
Jackets get a goal from the point from Nikita Nikitin whose name isn't real. 5-3 Pens now.
Neal takes a penalty at the end to fill his quota of Appearing On The Game Summary. Is he literally involved in every thing?
game's gonna end. Shut up. Go home. Stay warm. It's cold.
Jackets didn't quit towards the end. But that doesn't mean they win.
PENS WIN WOOOOOO
MOST BEAUTIFUL MERMAID
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. uhhh obviously Mr. Jeff Zatkoff
2. Deryk Engelland - led the Pens in TOI and rated even on a night when the Pens allowed 3 goals, so. He also had an assist. And 4 shots?! Jesus Deryk. Jesus.
3. Brooksie: 5 blocked shots and doing okay after his head injury and AMERICCCAAAAAA
go pens. We've got a 1pm Devils game right after the first Canada/USA tilt of the WJC on Tuesday. hooooly fuck. Happy 2014 bitches. Might run a WJC liveblog that morning or something.