It's a little scary to start a new series, especially when the previous series was like blindly reaching into a grab bag filled with candy and bees. And the Sens are playing the game that the Isles used to psychically sway us to go for the bees, which doesn't help calm our nerves.
However, a new series is a new beginning. Sid has been sick against the Sens, so it's exciting to imagine all of the possibilities. The boys learned a hard lesson against the Isles, and this is the standardized test to see if we were paying attention to those lessons. You know what to do, boys. If all else fails, just fill in the little bubble next to "C," for "C"heck the shit outta 'em until they bleed.
The Sens celebrate the beginning of the series by vomiting everywhere and earning a penalty for general grossness (it's 2 minutes, check the rules [don't]), setting the stage for the penalty-laden game we were all sooooo excited to see.
Malkin makes a shot and gets robbed by Anderson, but ends up picking up the pieces and sending them to Paul*Mart, who makes sure the puck finds its way behind Anderson.
Anderson has to scramble through a few shots and it's starting to look like we might have our balls in their mouths, but they remind us that it's Never That Simple and get one behind MAF before we can start our acceptance speech for Awesomest Bitches Who Never Sweat It.
In order to put us back where we need to be, James-always-looks-out-for-us-Neal picks some pockets, gets it to Kunitz, who does this sexy little cross-crease number that Malkin picks up and softly delivers home. It's elegant but inherently sexual, like peacock in heat.
Some really horrible vomit happens in front of Koun, where we are almost certain that something Bad will happen, but through some skin-of-our-teeth scrambling we shut it down. TK comes away with a penalty for something we can't care about, which is okay, because we kill it.
In the final minutes of play, we manage to get into a 4-4 for various crimes against humanity. The clock ticks down until the Sens get up on a few short seconds of PP. They thank us by sending the gift of a really amazing turnover that lets us get it out of the zone - the last seconds of opportunity before the intermission trickling like so much semen from their palms.
The second period is confusing, but a quarter of the way through it the main thought is "how does anyone, ever, get by without Paul Martin?" It's a real question. We can't figure it out.
Because life is a confusing and scary place sometimes, the Sens go up on the PP because...a linesman pushed Malkin over? Is that the reason? Because that is a thing that happened. We understand why that would be hard for the Sens, thus making them deserving of a power play. We're happy for them. Really.
After the Sens squander that opportunity, the Pens end up on the PP again because everyone is catching penalties like early winter snowflakes on their tongues (or early spring snowflakes, in Pittsburgh) and the Sens forget that Sidney Crosby isn't the only player on our team. Always a mistake.
We go into the third 3-1 and pimp struttin'. Being cocky is a better look when you're actually earning something.
The third is confusing and scary for a bit, especially when KTang - who was doing everything right in theory - was at fault for a mean turnover that ended in opportunities for the Sens that we would rather not look at. He and Conacher get into it and both of 'em end up in the box because the benches looked lonely. 4-4 again. And then Neal goes to the box because why not and the Sens are back on the PP. Penalties are the most boring thing in the world by this point and Dupes is like no thanks. Special teams are kind of the name of the game, so why not just act like it isn't happening. Shortiecentral with a gorgeous top shelf.
Karlson, who has been channeling Shamu as his spirit animal, sees to it that Neal is in the box again. Splish splash. Eat a dick, we kill it. Keep 'em coming, foolishness. The way these special teams look, we can't really find a way to care less.
The white towels start swirling in the last minute. Let's Go Pens is the sound in the air. Penalties happen because lololololol yeah. People get tossed. None of it matters. Before you know it your phone is buzzing with that helpful little reminder. 4-1, Pens.
Obviously this is not a sign from the universe to get comfortable. There are no such signs in the world of hockey. If you are seeing them, check your carbon monoxide detector, because you are experiencing some serious issues. However, it's nice to have the first game safely in your pocket and the comfort of a solid 60 in your mind.
It's a long road and we've been lucky enough to have a full tank of gas and some open highway in front of us. But as Zoe and I have learned, that horrifying, backwoods, fog-shrouded, Kentucky road bridge can show up at any time in the night and send you into a screaming panic. Never feel safe. Never get comfortable. It's the playoffs, bitches. Keep your heads up.
It's a little scary to start a new series, especially when the previous series was like blindly reaching into a grab bag filled with candy and bees. And the Sens are playing the game that the Isles used to psychically sway us to go for the bees, which doesn't help calm our nerves.
We try not to be tyrannical. But we have one rule. Which is that we don't miss elimination games. People who miss elimination games for anything other than a life-changing event are suspect.
So we're always here. Even when our lives are in the strangest of places. When we can't tell if the pit in our stomach and our inner restlessness is because of deep longing or because of hockey. They're more or less the same thing.
First shift Byslma calls a timeout after an icing. Sid's line got a bit bottled in. Dupuis failed to gain center red. Something about us doesn't look quite ready--something looks a little fearful. Pens all up in the stretch pass--the Isles are so ready for it it isn't even funny.
Then the Pens just get dicked by forecheck. Dick in mouth. Tavares is the villain:
P.S. just fucking figured out who Tavares reminds me of
mother of god
1-0. Felt that coming real hard.
blah blah blah. You feel this could be the end days. The doom.
Crosby is in to everything so fast: gets a pass up from PaulMart and goes hard on Nabby after Josh Bailey was mesmerized by his speed. Nabby makes the initial save but Iginla drives the net and the puck ends up under Nabby. Man oh man:
Something about it doesn't feel great though. Something about it feels like a dream. Like we didn't quite actually earn it--it was a strange accident.
Getting out of this period evensies would be pretty god damn good. Sid and Jarome are basically making it happen on their own. If you don't think you're spoiled, even when the Pens lose, just watch Sid control the puck and one-hand passes while giant men are hanging off of his ass. You'll be humbled.
Vokoun still in this. Doesn't give a single solitary fuck about the past.
We need to know whether the Princess Crosby chant by Nassau is implying if Crosby is a female or if it's some kind of class issue.
The whole period has really been a chess match. Just a lot of chin-touching and angry gestures.
The final minute of the period is almost a steel cage match though. Sid gets absolutely nasty in the Isles zone but then it goes the other way.
Burned to death.
Colin MacDonald we think his name is?
the intermission is one of those ones where you thought you were gonna do the dishes but you couldn't move because something in your soul told you not to.
The second starts with more Sid almost scoring. But not quite doing.
Every single play is a turnover. Literally every one.
Potential turning point could have been James Neal destroying Visnovsky to create a good cycling shift for Malkin's line (something we haven't said in awhile). Then Morrow hits someone and that's a penalty.
The whole PK is absolutely vicious and terrifying. Isles have every shot and somehow the Penguins manage to interrupt what they do. Douglas Murray basically checks Moulson into Vokoun and that gets a whistle. We'd like to say that Douglas didn't know what he was doing but who knows.
Tyler Kennedy makes some kind of unreal move to get in Nabby's kitchen and the puck is almost in the net but not quite. More and more chances coming.
When the Pens finally get a PP, the most exciting thing that happens is Malkin blocking a shot after allowing a pretty devastating-looking shorthanded chance. Islanders are all over the Pens on this. Everything looks bad.
After the most embarrassing power play possibly in recent Penguins history without giving up a shorty, Bylsma puts Dupuis, Vitale, and Cooke on the ice. Joey V hustles into the zone and manages to feed Dupuis. Why Joe Vitale is ever scratched remains a mystery in all developed nations. Dupuis finishes that shit because he is the champion:
It takes awhile to bask in that goal. Matt Cooke touches someone. So we'll have to kill a penalty again. This could be the ugly moment, the Bad Thing, the Floss is Boss moment. The Pens weather the first moment the way you weather a long wait at a bus stop. Everything smells like garbage. And yet we make it through somehow--only to take a too many men penalty. Bylsma almost has an aneurysm on the call. Most pivotal kill of the year. Hail mary moment when a pass goes cross-ice to Tavares and it looks like he has all net--but somehow it doesn't go in. And it's killed.
The final minute of this period is again dedicated to trying to get Sid to feed Kunitz. Malkin isn't doing much btw. It's probably because he "doesn't get it" and is Russian. Vokoun saves the universe in the final ten--the puck wasn't really frozen but everyone thought it was because Vokoun's swagger caused temporary blindness.
The third period is going to be either finding religion or going straight to hell in the tiniest of handbaskets.
The vision, the one your heart doesn't want you to see, is Brad Boyes scoring a big time goal with like a minute and a half left.
It was so much worse than that, though.
Letang managed to give the puck away while trying to exit the zone, and there was Michael Grabner with a total layup.
Jerkcity's untitled gardening project with an assist.
Letang and Malkin try to have a redemption shift. Get some shit buzzing around Nabby but nothing crazy.
Time ticking below ten minutes. Matt Martin basically trying to assassinate Despres, probably thinks Despres is too adorable to be allowed.
Malkin's unit finally gets its shit together and has a good shift. Isles eventually ice it. TK is out with Sid and Morrow. Jaysus. Nothing happens though.
Okposo shoots on a 2 on 1. Then he makes a couple more big saves as the Isles get down off the rush about as easily as spreading that nice Land-O-Lakes canola oil butter everyone likes. Vokoun is still here to play, you guys. Win this shit for him.
Malkin has basically been coming all period. Getting his puck control back. Comes down the wing and ends up being able to circle the net despite four Islanders being back. Martin struts up from the blueline. Rocket shot goes in off of something. That goal was worth several screams.
GOD JESUS FUCK YES PAUL MART
what could happen now? three and a half left.
Not a lot, apparently. It's overtime city.
It's absolutely suck it up or go to hell with this overtime. One shot--just one.
Poke poke poke to start the OT. No one really trying anything. Isles seem less tight. Pens getting a little bit of space.
An absolutely terrifying moment when the Isles crash in around Vokoun--but Paul Martin digs it out like a soldier and takes it up. Pens get a chance there--Morrow and Vitale looking hungry and brutal.
Cizikas jumped off the bench and it felt like death. But then Sid stole the puck and you realized that it was Cizikas we were up against--and yet the feeling of security collapsed so quickly. The puck never got out. Something happened--we don't know what--everything was very frightening in every possible way and somehow the puck stayed out of the net as the Isles had unlimited chances. Grabner. Everyone. It was almost the end.
Afraid to even pay attention to anything. Afraid to look. Afraid to breathe. A makeshift line of TK, Malkin, and Kunitz takes the ice. Kennedy puts the puck back to the point--Brooks is seriously just trying to get it on net. Possibly deflected by an Islander in front--high on Nabokov. Surprise.
If Douglas Murray has 2 goals in this series and Brooks Orpik has the series-winning OT goal. . .
We don't even know, Nabs, we don't even know. Maybe you need to practice with Hal Gill in the offseason or something. We don't even know.
This goal. This goal is the stuff of legends. It immediately drew comparisons to the Kasparaitis goal. But really we think it was just beautiful dumb luck. The celebration is an instant classic:
Dude though. Islanders. You nearly made us shit our pants and we only barely got this. The elevator could really go up or down. And we have the fucking Sens next.
K, assholes. Fine. We'll take your shit.
THE PENS FUCKING WON IN OVERTIME CAN YOU EVEN BREATHE
BROOKS FUCKING ORPIK
And this is the last time we see these beautiful fools this season:
It's always bittersweet.
SERIES ASSESSMENT OR WHATEVER
The Pens played badly enough to let this series go to 7 games and probably lose game 7 because they're full of shit when they don't have urgency.
Instead, they lost a mere two games playing like dog dick, had two shutout wins, and had two OT victories where they picked themselves up out of the trenches to capitalize just one more time.
This is a good summary of how the Pens have been. Either they're shutting you the fuck down and pulling your hair to make you shut up or they're just apathetic--or at least, they look apathetic. And sometimes--just sometimes--they have the hero factor necessary to make something special happen.
So we'll need all possible kinds of fortitude to get to the Sens series, which is going to be a media jizzfest in Canada because Matt Cooke and also FUCK do we hate the Sens and their Feelings.
Just stay awake, see?
LET'S REMARK ON THE ISLANDERS' PASSING
This is a truly special image. All of these people are so incredibly special and not pieces of shit, right?
Also the lower left dude on the phone. Boring into your soul.
Bye. Go away. Don't come back.
Yes--the Pens won.
If we are going to win a game it has to be this one. Because if we don't, nothing else really matters except the bottle of Early Times taking up the passenger seat of your truck as you try not to drive the wrong way down the turnpike.
Early on, Brian Strait is still bitter as all fuck and attacks someone. The Isles try to get the Pens to attack them back because they are also petulant children but no extra penalties will come.
The Pens PP looks a bit hungry but the best moment is Vokoun coming out to prevent Cizikas from getting a minibreakaway. The Koooounn chant is a reality.
Then James Neal takes a penalty and we're not sure why because we have to watch a choppy NBC stream in a darkened room. The Pens let Tavares get a quality chance and on the very next shift the seas part for Okposo. Just skates right through two Pens d-men. Don't even care about their names. (Orpik and Martin seriously.) Vokoun shuts the door.
Crosby hits someone and Pierre goes all Dad Mode and says "I'm not sure they want Sidney Crosby playing that way" and we're all "we're pretty sure Sidney Crosby has been his own coach since he was 15."
Joe Vitale gets a shift so it's no wonder that the Pens crash the net and almost score, right?
The Koun chant is getting a serious workout. Which is somewhat worrisome. But at least they're not scoring right?
Potash talks at intermission about bringing speed to the lineup with Joe Vitale and Tyler Kennedy. But insists on bringing us Tyler Kennedy:
Early second Crosby has a backhand chance streaking down the wing all alone but he misses. This was after Letang tried to have a redemption shift.
Pens finally get deep off of one of those stretch passes or whatever and Kunitz has the best chance of the whole night. But Nabby and Visnovsky made it happen. Vitale has another perfect shift. Iginla almost takes Nabby to Shake Shack. Sutter gets a bit excited and does some gorgeous little head fake to gain the zone. We seem to be waking up from a long slumber. . .could something happen here?
This also seems to suddenly be a goaltending battle. Big save after big save. Goalies are also keeping their teams relatively calm.
Letang looks hungry. He tries some insane pass to TK who is somehow onside cherrypicking and gets a break. He goes high glove on Nabby.
Holy fucking shit.
The Pens have life but what happened next is utterly unexpected. Pens are having a great shift and it ends up at the point with Douglas Murray. You think he's gonna shoot for the pads or just get it deep. Instead it kind of pops into the air. . .and as Nabby looks up at it, gently swats at it, it goes off of him and into the net behind him like the most deadly of butterflies. So it's 2-0 and Douglas Murray has two goals in the playoffs. You read that right. YOU READ THAT FUCKING RIGHT. If we weren't shaking so hard. . .
Tomas Vokoun is still in John Tavares' mouth. Tavares makes some kind of insane move and Koun has it like it ain't no thang.
Few minutes later Sid is in business at the other end. Skates through like eight people. Gets free. Rocket shot. ROOT shows Fleury on the bench absolutely loving this shit. Laughing and loving the universe.
The weak among us, such as myself, actually started weeping.
Here is the move. Hickey is completely brutalized.
Here is a look at the shot. And dat ass.
"After" shot of Nabokov. yep
Meanwhile Crosby is all:
Sid just went down the runway after blocking a shot with his toe after the Isles have a real shift. Maybe this is the end times. Letang is however playing less like an escaped inmate. Oh and then Sid came back because ain't nothing wrong with him.
Vokoun is still dialed in. Unbelievable save on Brad Boyes in the final minute of the second period. God.
The third is one of those do or die things. Hold the fort for 20 minutes or just resign that you are never as nice or cool as your mom said you were. Every time Vokoun freezes a puck or even handles the puck there are KOOOOUUUUNs raining down.
Sid stole a puck at the Isles' blueline with help from Iggy. Wow. That was so close to being another moment during which we had to fan ourselves to avoid passing out but not quite.
MARTIN VS. MARTIN CAGE MATCH and the Isles' Martin goes to the box.
Early PP Isles forget to pressure up high on their PK like at all. Crosby passes to Letang completely uncontested above the left circle. That was some kind of pass that seemed to defy the laws of physics. It wasn't even from the direction we thought it was coming from. WELP.
That made it 4-0.
Nabby to the bench. Kevin Poulin says hey. Isles get a few shots in from the point and Vokoun is, again, an enormous wall of man.
Murray got overexcited and took someone down. no idea why it's a penalty. But whatever. Pens will have to kill it. pens will have to not implode. Koun. and the PK still up in your dick.
With exactly two minutes left in the third, the Pens are going to get a PP. So yeah. Bye. The PP we send out is literally Vitale, Adams, Morrow, Letang, and Martin.
AND MURRAY IS PLAYING FORWARD says Errey. errey can't breathe.
And neither can we. Except from our warmest wombs.
The Pens look normal again. We know not to trust all sorcery but we have to say that at least mentally, the Penguins seemed to adjust well to the pressures of idk needing to win a hockey game.
It's not going to be easy. Nothing ever is.
There's still one more win to get, assholes.
No one is expecting us to say nice, fuzzy things right now. Which is good, because we aren't going to deliver them. This isn't a Cobra Scorpion Whiskey situation. This isn't a staying-positive-will-get-us-everywhere moment. This is a time to do exactly what our team needs to do - deal with the situation at hand, adjust accordingly, and try to stop being so goddamn smug.
The internet is a minefield for those of you wanting nothing but rah-rah garbage. If that's you, look away. We'll bring that noise back for the next game. But we will add in kitten gifs tonight, for those of you who need it.
This game looked scary from the beginning. No dark clouds started swirling right away, but they certainly loomed off in the distance.
We want to be angrier at the Isles, but we can't. They have been working hard, taking bad angle shots, recognizing our weaknesses and capitalizing. If we really want to place any of our rage on someone other than the Pens, we can go ahead and do that for the Isles fans that thought it was good form to cheer when Crosby took a nasty puck to the collarbone area. Truly classless. We aren't saying Penguins fans haven't cheered injuries, but we've never seen it happen without other fans nearby making a face and loudly suggesting that they not do it. When half of your arena is cheering an injury of a player, you need to seriously reevaluate your culture. *shrug* Or maybe that's just us.
But that's diversion. Thinking about anything the Isles did, anything their fans did, anything the refs did...that's all escapism. We don't blame anyone who wants to partake, because the reality is tough. And the reality is that this team - the Penguins team we saw tonight - is familiar. Not the team we know and love, not the team that has won our hearts through struggle and strife and heroics, but a team we see when our ego rears its ugly head. We saw this team last season against the Flyers.
Don't get us wrong, we understand that we're overreacting just a smidge. But we're allowed to do that because this is playoff season and we are overly emotionally involved.
In theory and in practice the Isles should not be the worst challenge for us. We saw this in the second with a terrible line change that threw a 2-on-1 into our laps, and you know what, we capitalized because it was given to us. And we did a lot of awesome stuff tonight. We answered quickly, we were strong in their zone fairly often. Malkin was animal-esque at times, Eaton laid down his life for the team, Kunitz was just....well. Kunitz was incredible.
But we couldn't clear our zone. We were careless around the boards. The turnovers were disgusting. We were exchanging looking for assuming which is some cocky nonsense. Arrogance lost this game for us. And thank goodness, because if we had won, maybe no one would have noticed.
MAF was running scared this game. Lots of bad moves. I called in some differing opinions on this one, because as natural MAF supporters, we need alternate opinions sometimes. @WillyumR and his offensively perfect wife @kimskitchensink are saviors for interesting and competent views on hockey, so I asked for an opinion, and Will was kind enough to give us his opinion:
"It's not just the awful goals. I think the team looks tentative and scared. And my completely, mostly unsubstantiated guess, is that it's because they know any scoring chance against could go in. Playing on shitty beer league teams, I get that feeling when we have a scrub backup in goal. You play a little scared, a little less aggressive, a little more hesitant. That's what the Pens look like to me."
It's a good perspective. As pro-MAFers, we see this tentativeness on both sides. We think that the team scares MAF (for allowing so much horrible shit to happen near him) and that MAF scares the team (because of the really abysmal goals he's allowed.) Whatever the case, koun wouldn't be a bad choice for Thursday. Something has to change.
That said, we aren't GMs. We aren't coaches. We aren't even the most incredibly analytic fans. And we trust our team. Not only do we trust them with choices like who to scratch and who to put in...we trust them with understanding the issues and correcting them. We trust them with locking down their emotions and attitudes and taking this series back into our own hands. They understand it all waaaay better than we do. This is speculative. This is reactionary. This is being a fan.
Maybe you disagree with all of this. That's fine. But we're all in the same boat - feelings and expectations and theories and, in most of our cases, lots of booze. The point is that the Penguins know what is happening. They don't need our opinions. We just hash those out on our own to make ourselves understand what is happening in the locker room conversations we so wish we were privy to.
We're disappointed, but not as much as the guys are with themselves. We can take this series and then forget it like the bad dream it seems like thus far. We have everything we need, we just need
Never losing again.
Chicago is winning their series 2-0 right now. God. Poor Minnesota. Anaheim is slowly rolling over Detroit. All the better for driving in the knife that you aren't a dynasty anymore.
lol Vancouver btw. no other words on that. Go Sharks Go.
Los Angeles chipped one away against the Blues.
Sens/Habs is tied.
Caps are up 2-0 on the Rags. Since "Rags in 7" was our prediction we are a little concerned. God damn it why didn't I pick AO in my Rinkotology team?
Oh and the Bruins are tied. They never really got it going against the Leafs. And while I was wearing a Bruins shirt at the bar last night I am secretly happy about this development.
Okay NBC I have managed to eat my entire fucking breakfast in the time it has taken you to discuss this series to your national audience.
Greasy Boy Canada awaits. Thanks NBC for the visual.
The scoreboard is flashing BELIEVE. Man.
Having been to Nassau, it is really a kind of minor league version of what the Civic Arena was. Old, creaky, filthy, and sounds like it is full of screaming animals.
The Islanders are buzzing early. We see Tavares skate like a man for the first time.
Isles manage to crash around Fleury with hardcore fury. No one cared. No one wanted us to sleep tonight. Looks like The Coward, Matt Moulson:
Matt Cooke is penalized shortly thereafter. Isles screamed for a penalty when a puck Dupuis tried to send down the ice was deflected into the stands.
MAF makes some little, possibly game-changing saves on this kill. We finally get them slightly in discord. Cooke hammered someone when he got out of the box.
Sid almost saved the world--but the Pens gave it right back and no one can hear you scream in fucking space. Cizikas.
Isles are chanting Fleury, apparently under the impression that the goal was the fault of Fleury rather than abysmal defensive zone coverage. It's cute when they do that.
Tanner Glass gets penalized for playing hockey probably. Crucial PK. So far, so good. But that doesn't mean anything.
Sid and Malkin take a shift together and Sid almost plays the shift alone on a mountain. NBC announcers almost ejaculate all over themselves when Grabner gets a semi-break but Niskanen defends him because he's Matt Niskanen. Going to have to siphon that semen back into your testicles gentlemen. I know it's hard.
Despres is in this game, btw. He seems okay. Okay but maybe a little afraid.
Pens PP gonna get its first chance to take the ice. Crucial moment. Mark Streit forgot other people are allowed to skate.
Pens PP takes awhile to get going. Hamonic shits his pants and attacks Iginla. Gotta love that the Isles are still trolls.
Tang with the redemption goal from downtown--or was it an Iginla tip? Doesn't fucking matter. NBC with the "good heads up play by Kris Letang" comment. should be a mini drinking game for Kris Letang with his heads up playing.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
After the center faceoff after that goal, Pens are back in their own zone and somehow pass it up to Chris Kunitz onside, who is all alone on Nabby. Little tiny bit of a move. Genius. Smooth. Gorgeous. Oh god oh sweet baby jesus god
right back in it.
Trading chances for a few minutes. Breathing a little easier now. Crosby streaking down the right wing with Pascal Dupuis going to the net. This has been our fucking jam all season. And Tavares was "trying" to backcheck. Looks like he fucked up. Sid's absolute drive and the power of his inhuman ass on that goal are the reason that we are obsessed with him, why the world should be obsessed with him.
And a few minutes later the period is over. What a period. Probably the biggest deal period of the Pens' playoffs so far.
To start the second, the Pens look patient and awake. Isles trying to start shit, obviously.
Every shift that Crosby takes he is completely unaffected by the Islanders' attempts to contain him. It's pretty beautiful to watch.
MAF holding the fort down when the Isles take a few physically punishing shifts. Malkin can't get his shit going.
Tavares ended up one on one with Douglas Murray. Guess who won? Douglas Murray swiped him with his giant man hips. Nope Johnny. Frans Nielsen also got himself wide open--but Fleury was on top of that shit, too.
Cooke basically gets high sticked by Carkner who is sitting on the bench because Carkner is a stain. Cooke punches him obviously. So 4 on 4 hockey because boys will be boys.
The 4 on 4 is a little speedy but whatevs otherwise.
This ad is horrible, NBC.
Things are getting a little scary. Letang (probably accidentally? we hope?) elbowed MacDonald in the head as he was falling down. In typical NBC fashion this is "a good hit." Please.
Islanders seem intent on destroying Malkin's body. Travis Hamonic is a shit.
After the Malkin battle Capuano calls time out. no idea what the intention was with that. Maybe to tell Hamonic to attack Malkin street fighter style.
Here are some mistakes that NBC has made in this game:
- the dude announcing whose name I don't know keeps mistaking Okposo and Tavares for each other
- Brian Engblom didn't even know which team was winning during the Isles timeout
Hey everyone remember how much we were supposed to hate Douglas Murray for being slow and the worst and useless?
Starts the rush up ice from a pass from Fleury and gets the puck up above the left circle. Nabokov was clearly not expecting much from that roofjob.
Please god I do not know how this baby can fit out of my vagina (re: being impregnated by the Murray goal).
4-2. So about that.
The Isles also apparently took a penalty after the goal. Haha remember how good Matt Martin is about things? Like trying to sucker punch Max Talbot? He got nasty with Craigsy. Always a mistake.
Some Isle tries a clear on the PK and Crosby just casually grabs it down. The amount of good Crosby is still frightens us.
Nothing on that PP though. And just as Matt Martin tries to act like a hero out of the box, the period expires. Sorry bros.
Early third period. Isles have a wide open net that Eaton somehow prevents a goal on. Holy shit. Pens get another PP because Brian Strait was bitter.
Okposo got a breakaway though. Um that was pretty embarrassing. The Fleury chants sound a lot less stupid at this moment and we're pretty furious. Nielsen may have made out with Okposo, which honestly, seems pretty appropriate.
next big MAF save and people start killing each other. This is the game we obviously expected. Kris Letang is jawing with someone. I have to imagine that tanger saying dirty things is like watching a unicorn commit shoplifting.
All kinds of time left. Everything hurts.
My stomach predicted the next goal. Tavares snipejob from the right side. Mother of god
Iggy gets called for something immediately afterwards
hugest kill of the playoffs. Kill this or basically hand the Isles the series, right?
Matt Cooke, as if reading our minds, destroyed Tavares as the Isles are peeled back into their own zone. Just takes him down hard and clean. Pens seem determined to defend the net with their lives.
Crosby calms shit down after the kill. Isles are hitting but his poise is helping us out. Letang standing up on Tavares.
no idea what is going everything is a blur. Murray almost scored again after Sid had another prodigious puck possession shift. Hit the crossbar.
Fleury saves on Moulson with 30 seconds left. Malkin goes the other way and there's a wild moment where you thought he scored from waaay downtown. . .but no.
It's going to OT.
Last playoffs, we had a song for moments like these.
No idea how to describe OT in words.
Every moment will kill you.
about eight minutes in Sid manages to draw a penalty while taking on the entire Isles team on his own. Brian Strait is still really bitter.
fuckin ass dicks. Pens call timeout.
Isles with the big clear at first. Isles seem poised to ruin everything. Pens get back and set up shop. D-men holding the fort up high, down to Sid who is low, and Kunitz is in the trenches of the slot. Crosby sets him up and he rockets it past Nabby from his knees.
This is how we win this game--bit by bit.
Kunitz is a fucking monster. And Sid knows how to play this game really well.
5-4 OT in your balls
this is war
Pens didn't play a good game all the time. But they got the result. It still counts as a win. And there's time to get better. Remember past lessons. Remember Claude Giroux. Remember. . .
good night Uniondale
Game two is always a trap. You go up two games and there's that false sense of security that starts to creep into your subconscious. You go down two (luckily not an option for us tonight) and you start having night sweats and fever dreams and you almost always find yourself yelling at people on public transit. One and one? That's like kissing your cousin (assuming your cousin is no Maeby Fünke.)
Obviously the pre-game talking point of the night is seeing Sid back on the ice. Welcoming Sid back is never like welcoming a normal player back - we don't have to worry much about his jiving with the current play - he just will.
We'll be missing Neal and Brooksy, but not as badly as a different team would miss such talent, which is something to be thankful for. You gotta count those blessings yourself, because as we all know, God is dead.
It takes less than a minute for us to score. During a particularly physical shift, the Isles don't think that covering Malks around a rebound is a worthwhile endeavor. Wut
Then, they get a slashing call, because why not.
.Malkin and Crosby are terrifying on the PP. The puck looks wild to us, but we aren't Iggy. Iggy knows what's up. He can't get it in but shuffles it to Sid.
It isn't even 5 minutes in. What is this. WHAT IS THIS.
MAF stands on his head when Malkin's line sort of fucks the dog in our end. But the Isles finally get on the board through an unfortunate series of events.
MAF's skate just misses the save.
Shortly after we go hard at a faceoff and kick it around the Isles net for a few seconds before Sid, who is lurking behind the net, sneaks in a tight angle shot (we call it "tight angle" when it's Sid, "bad angle" when it's anyone else, because we all know Sid can bend the laws of physics. Note: dat ass.)
We get a couple of penalties that are killed off with relative ease. The Malkin/Crosby/Kunitz line is looking siiiick.
We get put on the 4-4 because Hamonic starts chirping at Cookie. Hammy gets put in for roughing, and Cookie gets...an imaginary slashing penalty? It's confusing because unlike most bad calls, it doesn't even have a grain of truth. It was a call based purely on reputation.
We still have a minute and a half of the 4-4 heading into the second, and we really need to come out strong. We're looking a little frayed at the edges.
Okposo and Nisky get into it because of a pretty mild play, but really, get down with your bad selves. Nisky gets cut, Okposo seems like his nose is uncomfortable.
"I don't give two shits that my face is exploded."
-Nisky (unofficial quote) ((not real quote))
The Isles sneak one in on the near side. McDonald is a douche rocket of massive proportions, but capitalized excellently on a dump and chase with a bad angle shot. "Almost a picklestabber" Steiggy says. "Almost," Bobby clarifies. Instead of thinking about this goal too hard, enjoy that this photo exists:
Streit lands a solid hit on Sid and Iggy comes in with a massive retaliatory hit. It's adorable, but also ill advised. Standing up for your Captain is a cock-forward move, and we respect it, but the hit was clean. We kill the penalty, but just barely.
When the Isles score again, it's a long time coming with how hard they'd been taking to us. Suddenly it's 3-3 and the Isles no longer look like they got onto the wrong field trip bus. DO NOT WANT.
Tavares gets 4 for a high stick that fucked up Morrow's poor nose, but we drain it down to finish the 2nd, and make no more use of its leftovers in the third. We look a little more fluid in the third, but overall it's too many turnovers, and too much bad puck management. Somehow the Isles flipped this on its head and ended up looking like the Varsity team while we sit back and suck on orange slices in JV. Luckily, we all know how that ends eventually.
(It's not the playoffs without at least one.)
The gwg is a tragedy. Okposo gets one wide, and MAF struggles to go after it. He ends up putting it behind himself. With all the shots the Isles managed, however, MAF is not high up on our list of folks to blame this evening.
Unfortunately, this means we clocked out at 4-3. What's that? You were hoping for an easy breezy first round?
Gifs make the reality less painful.
The game, overall was uncomfortable and confusing and distressing. We looked amazing at points - the Crosby line had some really inspirational moments in particular. But in the end we mismanaged our way into this loss.
But didn't we say that's how it goes? And it's not like we had to say that - you know it. The post season knows neither malice nor mercy, only hard work. Things will be better and things may also be worse than they were here tonight. It's better to get yourself readjusted in game two than it is later in the series.
We have already learned our lesson from tonight, and we have plenty of time to refocus and apply those lessons on Sunday. We have amounts of raw talent that other teams just piss away in the trading game - we just need to find a way to file that talent to a point and shove it in the hearts of Isles fans everywhere.
Never expect it to come easy.
That isn't how we got here.
Get excited for the response.
as a reminder, we don't give awards in the playoffs. There's one bigger award everyone has to worry about. We don't want to detract from actual glory.
You know that feeling you get, when you are at just that right height in the air in an airplane, and it's nighttime, and all of the lights beneath you are pulsating frantically like living creatures in a hopeless dark ocean?
The playoffs are just like that and you don't really quite feel the intensity of that, the senseless floating in the vastness of Everything, shrouded in the most delicate little lights, until it's a little bit too late?
This was really just some kind of thought experiment, right? We didn't actually do this? After the leaden, soul-crushing nature of the West games we watched yesterday, I can't be sure that this follows the emotional arc of the universe. Rest assured, we will suffer this playoff season, in one way or another. Tonight is not representative of all. The gently pulsating lights are not always your friend.
The Pens got an early power play and Beau Bennett totally smoked Nabokov:
Then it was Dupuis after Adams mixed it up with Nabby in the high slot.
Up 2-0 after the first period, you'd think the Pens would probably sit back a bit. but it's also the playoffs, and it's also the Islanders, and it's also the Penguins.
The Islanders also got themselves into penalty trouble early in the second. Letang had a one-timer from the point that was deceptive, quiet, and deadly. We'll ignore the fact that ROOT Sports said that the ladies would have to be "easy" i.e. restrain themselves for a Letang intermission interview. Puh-lease. The hair is long and dramatic and apparently fathered a child but we have dignity. Also Joey V is in the press box so the general vaginas in the immediate vicinity are safe, amirite.
oh right there was a goal:
Ah yeah. Apparently we broke Nabby. Also Neal hasn't been back--I totally forget when exactly he was hurt but it was at some point in the middle of the second period, right?
Yep looks like that Kazakh needs some tuneup. That'll be our standard $100/hour service fee and one Kevin Poulin.
Not a great deal is honestly happening. Tanner Glass was along the wall just hanging out and put a puck towards Poulin because he could, and it went in.
Oh so it's 5-0. We really weren't expecting this. We realize this feeling is not actually safe, that we could simply drown under the weight of our own hearts.
But yeah, we scored five goals, and the Isles really obviously didn't have five goals to answer with. And one of those goals was Tanner Glass. Also MAF was in everyone's faces.
What's surprising is that the Islanders haven't actually tried to kill anyone yet. Might have to wait til game 3 for that to happen.
John Tavares is mad, btw.
It's weird because I remember the day that Tavares was drafted and I remember him playing against the Pens and I just don't remember him doing much of anything and I always think that this game is going to be the game he's going to be a villain and score a hattie. He hasn't yet. But he will. Keep an eye out. Check your tarot cards.
Marty Reasoner stuck his skate out maliciously in an attempt to take out Jokinen. Reasoner it looks like got a major penalty for being awful and a game misconduct. CONGRATULATIONS ISLANDERS.
Mario looks out on his kingdom:
This is one hell of a castle we have. But it's just going to get harder to defend.
If anyone is seriously hurt, look out.
The playoffs are such a strange sensation. This is not at all like last year, at least, so we don't need bear tranquilizers to deal with it.
It's important to not get too excited. To not pollute the stream with words and promises we cannot keep. Still need to win three more of these bitches and they ain't all gonna be 5-0.
from Please Chase Me by Joel Ross
Basically one of our main emotions throughout our lives.
Are you ready? Still?
Recap of last night real quick. The Pens get down to business with the Islanders tonight but we are already primed for shaking and crying by the events of last evening.
Blackhawks vs. Wild - Blackhawks lead the series 1-0 after an emotional overtime goal
Niklas Backstrom went down in warmups. All the East fans who have never seen the Wild play a game this season suddenly perked up from their BLACKHAWKS IN FOUR! arguments. Emotional investment in the Minnesota Wild was nonexistent before this moment--everyone was still pissed at them for grabbing Parise and Suter. It seemed an almost Kovalchuk-ian move, superstars taking pay raises to play for a team that is never going to do much of anything. Except everyone on the Wild apparently doesn't suck like we've been led to believe. Josh Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, took his spot between the pipes without a backup and spent the rest of the evening holding off the "best team in the NHL this season."
And just like that, it's war.
The Wild played an unbelievable game all around. Not only were they steady defensively, holding one of the best offenses in the NHL to one goal through 60 minutes on their home ice, it was exciting to watch.
You'll have to forgive us, Northwest Division bros, for not paying attention to this team at all this season. We were pretty busy.
The old gods have bigger plans for Minnesota. Whether our hearts just get wrenched out with prejudice, or they manage to pull off an upset. We don't want think it's going to be a sweep anymore.
Blues vs. Kings - Blues win in OT after Kings tie it late
The Blues were all up in everyone's business and the Kings managed a late goal by grinding it out. It was equally emotional. The two OTs last night ended at the exact same time, which is probably a coincidence but there could be ancient curse involvement.
Alexander Steen stole a puck from Jonathan Quick behind the net while his team was on the PK and put it home before JQuick could even put his pants back on. Pretty crazy.
Ducks vs. Red Wings - Anaheim leads the series 1-0, winning in regulation because the Wings got their only offense from Dan Cleary and also they suck
Selanne all day
If your body wasn't vibrating while you were watching these games we don't know if we can be friends.
This season. What to even say about it? It feels like a strange dream, an alternate universe. In which Jussi Jokinen, Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Douglas Murray are all Pens. (It's a shame they're here for a short time--we've only just gotten used to their fuzzy faces burrowed in our hearts.) Being tops in the East is a weird feeling. Being "regular season good" is like a terrible curse. It's like being the Caps in 2009. No one ever wants to be that. We'll have to make this work after today. But a win today would still be good.Let's give some awards, because they're meaningless, and it's worth it.
ALSO BTW LOL WE TAGGED THIS POST WITH THE #CAROLINA HURRICANES IS ANYONE PREPARED TO CRY ABOUT OUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH ON THE FUCKING INTERNET? Hockey is love, ladies and gentlemen. Hockey is love.
So ROOT sports is talking up the Canes having three Staal brothers.
This is the most belligerent family reunion in human history. There are like eight coolers full of Yuengling and Early Times in the Sons of Italy pavilion right now. Jokinen playing the Canes, Sutter playing the Canes, Tim Wallace playing the Pens (THE ALASKAN STORM), Staal playing the Pens, Eric Staal and Jared Staal playing each other. Anyone we missed? Should we have brought more beer?
Oh and we've got PaulMart back AND James Neal.
The real challenge here will be to stay sober.
Apparently JStaal (Uncle Jordy, not the other one) has been "struggling" this year. How strange! Poor Jordy. Remember when you saved Christmas?
No but the Staaliest is probably Eric. He took a penalty in the first period to give the Pens a PP.
The PP looks pretty ehhhhh but it's pretty obvious that Neal and Malkin are back to being soul brothers. Next rush on the PP, Gene is weaving his way through a pack of Hurricanes off of a pass from James and gets a puck past Peters in one of those beautiful moves we always know he is capable of, even in those moments when he is flailing around and getting his temper.
Oh and guess who got an assist on that goal? Dad MAF.
Maybe Evgeni should offer to share his parents with PaulMart because it's his first game back after breaking his hand and he flipped the puck over the glass like immediately after the goal.
It's okay Pauly we got your back. And how! Even a Kuni breakaway after the penalty is over! Gosh golly gee whiz.
How did Tim Wallace manage to draw a penalty on Douglas Murray? Do we really have to play this game?
Well not really because it was like playing even strength basically. Canes are really bad at this game.
We wish we had more stormy things to announce, but we don't. It's a breezy summer day both on and off the ice. Let's hope we don't start sucking each other's dicks too soon.
Oh Gene we've missed your sweet voice.
PERIOD OF LIGHT IN WHICH WE MAY HAVE GOTTEN TOO COCKY
Neal snipejob eventually. Canes don't even know.
Oh did we mention MAF? because MAF
Malkin's line gets 40 chances but none are buried.
MAF makes some ridic save on Eric Staal but a rebound is forced to the stick of Jiri Tlusty. Apparently the last person to touch it was Westgarth. Who we care very little about. So no shutout for Dad.
at least westgarth seems happy
Random: why do red hockey pants always look like they've recently been pooped in?
This is no offense to all red hockey pant-wearing teams. Maybe it is.
LEAST COMPETENT--BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER ANYWAY
Jokinen and Dupes get a 2 on 1. Jokinen shoots--Peters could have stopped it, but doesn't. Jussi gets the juicy (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) rebound from a bad angle. It floats right in. God, Jussi.
here is jussi looking super unimpressed with himself
Hearing Jokinen speak, btw, was a jarring experience for me. I totally forgot that he would have a Finnish accent. I guess I always saw him as a silent hero. Why is Peters in this game again?
LEAST GODS IN THE CASTLE
god damn it Tuomo Ruutu. Fleury makes another excellent save but then gets in trouble. Someone forgot to pick up the Finn. Easy goal. Water bottle flying around.
And then there was Westgarth from the point. Fleury seems rattled.
Come on you guys we've gotta win THIS one. This one is still important. We have to keep the castle pure. Letting the Staals get in your mouth is not the way to keep pure.
3-3 to the end of the second.
It's obviously Jared. Jared ran into MAF thinking that he could let McBain score. But no. You can't interfere with the goaltender Jared. Did they not tell you that while you were playing in the backyard pond? Possible brother sabotage.
On the ensuing PP, Malkin to Neal to snipejob. It's seriously like they missed no time at all. How are they so flawless together? It's obviously witchcraft.
MOST FLAWLESS THING TO EVER HAPPEN
Did we mention something about James and Malkin being perfect together?
Because Gene had another pass for James on the rush and James had another bullet of a shot that Peters apparently could care less about and that's the fucking hat trick, people. You have babies inside you. It was a perfect two on one.
Sutter's line struts up next shift after they get rid of the hats.
Morrow up in Peters' kitchen. Gentle tap-in. Morrow opens up another Shake Shack in Justin Peters' nutsack.
he is so happy.
so Sutter is having a much better game than Jordy. And season. They showed Jordan on the bench after that goal as if they were reading our minds. We're sorry Jordy but maybe you should have thought of this before.
Pens kill another penalty that doesn't feel like a penalty. Welp
JUST ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
Mattie felt he had some demons to exorcise after this ridiculous week of the entire Northeast Division trying to burn him in effigy.
Geno-esque move. it works b/c it's Peters.
blah blah blah
Dupes snuck up on everyone to score an 8th goal because the Canes are awful.
SPECIAL REPORT: SHIRTS OFF OUR BACKS IS THE FUCKING BEST.
we're busy crying
here is beau with a small girl
and craigsy with a small girl
and malkin with a li'l dude
and stevemac with another li'l dude OKAY WE'LL STOP NOW
well actually not after we show you this bad screenshot (but the best we got) of Vitale Girl aka Zoë's soul sister
SHE IS PERFECT
oh yeah the pens won btw
Chad LaRose just stop.
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. Brendan's face
2. Joe Vitale's suit
3. This lady.
still gotta figure out who we play first round
Oh my god this game.
The Debs are impotent and sad by the time we get to the Jerz, but they are still holding this game's two points over our head. We waaaant theeemmmm.
It's like when the old, failed Survivor contestants get to judge the still-successful ones. This is what I gather from conversations with your mother, at least.
She loves that show.
MOST DESERVING OF A KIND SALUTATION
First,of course, we all say hello to Johan.
Please don't stop any of our pucks tonight.
Picnic in the park if you say yes.
Once again, a rare "good Swede." But we aren't afraid to cut you off. Or cut you, for that matter.
MOST MANLY ADORABLE FIST BUMP
The first period spends way too long finding its legs. It has the cadence of a normal game, we guess, but it's almost playoffssss.
Well. For the Pens.
Eventually it finds itself a little personality when Hedberg couldn't track down the puck in front of the net and Cookie was able to shuffle it in just over the goal line. It is confusing as hell.
At first you're not sure if it's a goal or not but adskjfhadskj it is.
This award was ALMOST "Most adorable manly fistbump." But let's be honest, that fistbump is more fundamentally adorable than manly.
This may be arbitrary and strange, but goddamnit if those aren't our middle names.
Sutter follows up by getting a NASTY chance, Johan says no. Peter Harrold's name is floating around, which for certain reasons (refer to our middle names) is a delight to us.
MOST UNACCEPTABLY AWKWARD
Kovalchuk tries to do it all and wastes a really decent play by being a selfish bitch. Josefson is pissed. Like, openly angry. We can't imagine that. It's like we got invited to our friend's house for dinner and his parents had a domestic dispute at the dinner table.
And we had to act like it's normal.
(We swear, it's a one time thing. Never again.)
MAF makes a save with the side of his skull, BoBo almost got one in but Hedberg pulls rank, and Gene makes us gasp before chipping the puck over the net. All in all, the hockey is alive with the sound of crunching bones and obscenities.
The hills are totes jealous.
Then, Letang gets a sweet pass to Jussi, who absolutely launches it at the net. The puck makes this insane clanking noise akin to the noises we hear in our nightmares but somehow it went over the line as it hit the post.
Both of the goals in this game so far have just barely made a case for existing, but it's 2-0 nonetheless.
Also, for the record, there's a moment wherein Ktang makes love to the entire Penguins bench because he quickly had to jump off the ice to avoid a too many men penalty.
Totally worth mentioning.
MOST SPECIFICALLY NOT A GENIUS
Some word are said about how excellent BoBo is. Unfortunately that sentence is uttered near a sentence that contained Lemieux's name.
Bobby and Steiggy spend some time - too much time - an insulting amount of time - clarifying that they are NOT comparing BoBo to Lemieux.
And while we know that and agree and have no opinions to the contrary and think it is silly to even waste time on, it was just a biiiit offensive how much time they spent clarifying that.
"You didn't even have to think about it, did you?"
Zajac (more like Za-jag, ammirite?!) has this gross turning shot that gets behind MAF. It's offensive and, quite frankly, rude.
MAF already told us that Zajagis not being invited back to NHL cotillion.
Which MAF runs.
SLOW DESCENT INTO DARKNESS
Well, it felt slow. Really, it was this fast:
At least we know what a U-turn is.
Pens lose, 3-2
If Bob Errey has one nice thing to say about Kovalchuk, he ain't saying it.
He sounded so stern, the whole game.
It's adorable, but also unsettling.
ALT THREE STARS
BoBo - Seriously, though, BoBo, we love you. We hope your mom wasn't listening to the local broadcast in Pittsburgh.
Peter Harrold - We heard your name. We're proud of you for being on the map.
Cookie - Because our team has no depth.
Can't even be too upset.
Never losing again.