Really, we feel you can define the whole season by the nonsense at the trade deadline, because that's how everyone is going to define it, and that's what ultimately built the team that we got for the playoffs--the team we were "ride and die" with til the bitter end.
We have to wonder how much of the Bruins' fan/media jobbing is true--how much of the "Bruins being the better TEAM but the Penguins just had BIG NAMES" stuff is true. In our bitterness, we have to think that it kind of is--but of course, we also want to place the blame on the men doing the work, not on the management (certainly not our lord and savior Rejean) but on coaching, general ineptitude, entitlement, and perhaps a team-wide shortage of fine port with which to ruminate.
All of these are moot points now. What happened is this: we lost, and it was really pretty god damned embarrassing, especially for what was the most potent offense in the NHL playoffs since Chris Chelios was in swaddling clothes or whatever. Man, we choked. We choked real hard. And a team identity beyond WE MUST CHALLENGE THEM WITH OUR SKILL AND SPEED AND BALL GARGLING 2.0 probably would have helped.
We're not bitter, of course.
We loved this team to death. (perhaps our love is what killed them.)
We loved Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow's chances at a Cup.
We loved the low-risk trade for a high reward (and a little extra Something in our loins) that came from the Douglas Murray acquisition.
We loved the happiness, the high flying, Sid being his superhuman self (well, until that fateful week in early June), every time Gene did something stupid like say "fucking hell" and smashing his stick on something before going out to dominate the next shift like it never happened, we loved Fleury's regular season stats, James Neal in general, and Vokoun standing up to make weird saves, and Paul Martin's enormous ballsack, and all those moments that god died, and Joe Vitale's perfect face, and Pascal Dupuis (oh god Pascal Dupuis).
We could say every single name to dress this season and say something amazing about our love for them and it wouldn't be enough to express. It wouldn't satisfy the surreal feeling that is rising within us as if from a chasm.
Really though, we just weren't hungry this year. We weren't hungry enough the last four years. Which makes sense of some kind, because we approached each game as if it were written in the stars, rather than part of our spirit quest to find what the fucking stars said in the first place.
No more stars, you guys. BREAK THE PATTERN. Breaking patterns is a concept very near and dear to our hearts this year, and we urge you to take up the sword and slay any pattern that stands in the path of your personal progress. You could proceed out of habit--or you could make bizarre and terrible mistakes.
We feel like this season was the Pens' bizarre and terrible mistake, undertaken on a whim out of animal desire and carried through to the anticlimactic plane crash on the fucking beach. We died this year. There's no real rhyme or reason to it. We didn't lose control, or break down, or lose our killer instinct, or get too damaged to carry on. We fucking died.
And it's in death that you find rebirth, right?
Kiss this goodnight.
IT'S FUNNY B/C THEY LOOK LIEK TERRIBLE TOWELS OK OK DID ANYONE ELSE GET THAT
clean shaven Sid. cut down in his prime. God we'll miss your fucked up lower jaw.
We know there could be a lot of changes.
But we'll talk about them when they happen. When they're for sure.
If there's one thing we know it's not to try to set Rejean's alarm clock for him. He'll beat you to death seriously.
If you want an official, grown-up prediction about the SCF, you can look here.
We're not even sure we'll watch it, because we're too full of love for other things in our lives that don't piss us off, i.e. things that don't involve the prospect of potentially having to root for the team that employs Patrick Kane.
Don't put yourself through bad shit on purpose. Just remember the good times. They were really, really, really good.
And as we are reborn, so we will be again. Death is a beginning.
Go Pens, jerks.
Really, we feel you can define the whole season by the nonsense at the trade deadline, because that's how everyone is going to define it, and that's what ultimately built the team that we got for the playoffs--the team we were "ride and die" with til the bitter end.
"Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched."
You know. Maybe Mindy Kaling wasn't referring to a sweep in the ECF when she said that, but we can't be too sure she'd be upset that we used it that way. In fact, if we sat down and explained it to her, we think she might understand Just What We Are Talking About. Because when we leave the house tomorrow, prepared to face a summer alone, prepared to face golf charity events and mall visits and a long, long time without hockey...we're going to put our lip gloss on and pretend to be psyched. About everything. About the Future. About the summer, about next season, about Life As We Know It.
We're a girlblog and we can quote Mindy Kaling as much as we please. Suck it.
For the record, we specifically aren't going to mention contracts. We can't right now, we just can't. We will soon, we promise, because all of that deserves to be talked about and carefully considered. But right now is the time to retreat to the corner and lick our wounds and drink another glass of wine. Can we recommend box wine? It's gotten much classier in the past few years and produces fewer carbon emissions. Do Your Part. While forgetting.
It's been a rough season. As said, we felt like disapproving fathers this whole time. And Dads always know what's up. They always know when you're going to bring the tattooed boy 13 years older than you to the dinner table. Or the Asian girl (assuming you are a Jewish boy.)
We can blame the bane mask missing from Sid's face these past four games. And where was Dan's tie? And why didn't I listen to We Major before these games, like I did before all playoff games? But also, why was our leadership so abysmal? Where was the D? Why was our offense flagging? Why was our confidence so shaken? They tell us, in writing, not to list too many questions in a row, but a sweep in the playoffs demands it. There are many questions and not too many answers just yet because Emotions are still running high.
But. The sun will rise again over this great city. The Penguins live on. As we said, there is no death, only ruin. And we have faced that ruin, and we will rise again. Like a penguin from the flames. The ice? Idk. We're sad right now.
We'll be back with a season wrapup. Forgive us our shortness this evening - we have a lot of feelings and not enough words to fit them. We want you to know that we'll be okay. Not just we as in Zoe and Kim, but we as in all of us. The readers. The Pens fans. The world at large.
We'll be back. And everything will be amazing.
Never losing again.
Last night was the best game the Penguins have played all series. We believe that. But there's nothing--absolutely nothing on this earth--like watching the best game your team plays all series and still having them sent to the brink. Both goalies were fantastic, but Rask had to be more fantastic. Rask stole the game. 53 saves on 54 shots is hardly a joke. It's a legacy. That's about how many shots MAF saved in Game 5 against Detroit in 2008. But we all know what has happened to Marc-André Fleury.
The Penguins were ridiculously close to scoring on many of those 53 shots. But Rask was very good. And also, the bounces just didn't go the Pens' way.
The Pens did get one goal. Got Tuukka moving and Kunitz was able to sneak one in. Pretty classic Kunitz type goal.
And that was gonna be the last goal for a long-ass time.
The Pens were going to win this game. It was at every turn, every stupid scrum, every disembodied wail in the night. Until it wasn't.
I watched this game at a bar in Harvard Square and had perpetual shakes and couldn't stop yelling. It really doesn't get much more irrationally intense than those moments when you're just waiting for something to happen, late at night in unfriendly territory, fearful for your sanity and whether or not you're actually going to get to sleep before work the next day.
When the Bruins ended it, it was perfect. Perfect for them, that is. At least it wasn't a mistake the Pens made, an accident, a fluke. It was an excellent play and it sank to your stomach like a shot of cheap vodka. God fucking damn shit.
We know there will be one more game.
We don't know for sure if the Pens' season is over, but it feels like something is very broken inside the universe. A key cog, a delicate circuit.
Play this exact same game on Friday, and we might just win one. Just gotta win one.
One at a time.
The play didn't end the Penguins season.
The Penguins will end their own season, if they choose to end it.
There are bones in your backyard, you know. We don't know where they came from. We just know that they're there.
The Vortex is a scary place, as you may all be realizing at this point. It's not all fun and games and cowboys with questionable "connections" to a real bull if we aren't enthused enough by the idea of riding a mechanical bull. It IS those things. But it's also all about tears and screaming and fugue states where you wake up several days later, no memories to speak of, hands covered in dirt and several fingernails missing.
We expect both over the course of this series. We're already searching for the molars that turned up missing after Saturday's game - they're probably somewhere in the desert, next to a bloodied Boston Market takeout bag. We can't be sure.
We need to be disciplined and get our momentum back. We can't let grudges and anger and whiny-ass-bitches dictate our play. It's going to be a rough night, but we can come out of this ahead if we Remember Who We Are.
The game opens up with Sid finally winning a faceoff, which feels like putting on your favorite old sweater. Unfortunately, within moments, the sweater proves to have been infested with restless centipedes while in storage.
The game is fast and busy again, and you remember this from Saturday. You decide to go to Twitter to see if anyone has any insight as to why we don't quite look like we know what we're doing but all you get are the doomsayers. You whisper swears to your cat and swallow another mouthful of whiskey as you read the trillionth tweet comparing this to last year's Flyers series.
Our speed and possession look pretty quality, and while it is reminiscent of the last game in the series, that means that there's a chance for the momentum to swing our way at the drop of a -
Your soul feels almost empty. But something is still rattling around in there.
Never mind it was just this bird with teeth come on you guys let's get out of here quick.
MAF is back. Your tongue is lolling out and sweat has made your Joe Vitale shirt cling to your body in an unflattering way. Sutter knows what you are going through and tries to ease the pain.
"Thank fucking god" is your only response because joy is reserved for situations that are joyous. Relief is for right now. But god is dead or is still a spiteful Isles fan. Either way.
First intermission will be spent searching for roof access or the meaning of life or a cheesecake. Probably all three.
The first second is free of B's goals, which is refreshing and smooth like Redstone Creek water. Now being bottled in Uniontown. Visiting guests from Boston can receive their complimentary bottle at the concierge desk.
We get some chances but the Pens look like you feel: tired and concerned. It's in their heads and that's a problem in this series. The B's have troubles with some pretty easy teams because of head games, but we're not asking to play.
We guess the third period happened but idk it may have just been a mirage. The B's scored two more times because why not. Some confident in-game changes from Danny B could have been nice. Sidney, or really any of our other Big Boys rallying the troops is a delight we would have loved. But none of it happened. There was so little accountability, leadership, motivation, burning bushes, etc.
But we've heard whispers that we can lose three games. There's no reason we can't get it the hell together and go make the Boston crowd feel the way they made us feel. Mufasa is still up there in the clouds, telling us how to win. And if the Lion King wasn't a thinly veiled story about the Pens, we don't know what is.
Speaking of stories, Zoe wrote this one for you to enjoy in your time of need:
We will meet in the Boston Public Garden at dawn, Kris Letang and I, and when I hand him his bouquet of dead, blackened roses he will understand, in his heart of hearts, that this is the talisman he must take with him to his grave. We will look down at last night's garbage in the average, scrubby New England grass, and weep together. The crinkled rose petals will fall as he walks away, leaving a trail behind him that, while wilted charred, will glow slightly in the sunshine. There is no death. Only ruin. Only loss of innocence. Only a pack of burnouts from Bridgewater, Massachusetts roaming Canal Street at three in the morning, saying something about 'Cindy Crosby' and 'that faggot Letang' before they vomit our hopes and dreams into the North Station escalators. We must stop them. We must be strong.So strong we shall be.
It's fitting that the Pens-Bruins series begins in the middle of some god damn unearthly heat wave.
We've been on a mini-vacation in the midst of this break between Pens games. We've been meditating in a space that we like to call the vortex. This is simply magic space where strange things happen, some glorious, some terrifying. What lives in the vortex? We've decided mostly Lana Del Rey music.
When we are in the vortex, though. Good things tend to happen. We were in the vortex in 2009. And not even at this level.
Re: the Hawks-Kings series: the Hawks are evil. Anyone who roots for Patrick Kane's neckbeard is suspect.
And re: Boston. Zoë lives here so shit is weird. It's like some kind of fever dream you can't believe. That the Pens will be HERE where I LIVE playing HOCKEY and UPSETTING PEOPLE I INTERACT WITH DAILY.
But for now, it's in Pittsburgh, and god damn Pittsburgh, you are so beautiful.
Boston fans trying to shit on Pittsburgh every chance they get. There's also some Iginla controversy mixed in like somehow it's anyone other than Jay Feaster and Peter Chiarelli's fault that they thought they got Iggy and that actually ended up being untrue. We want to say like "live and let live" when it comes to the Bruins, but we think they're bitter about Jagr for some reason. Also Marchand fucking sucks. So.
Let the chirping begin. I am probably going to be murdered during this series.
Ference is in for the Bruins. Apparently they feel they need some good environmentalist juju. Niskanen gives fist bumps to everyone as they go onto the ice.
Pierre lurking next to the Speech Impediment Real Beard Sidney Crosby Playset.
A glistening frenulum.
Jimerson in your mouth.
Bergeron versus Crosby for the opening faceoff. God fucking damn god damn.
Crosby line embarrasses everyone from Boston on the first shift. But we can't get too high on that. It's meaningless. It never happened. Kris Letang told Marchand to go get some Grey Goose and sit in the club where he belongs.
Bruins neutral zone play seems abysmal. First shot on Vokoun brings the Kouuuuun.
Krug gets a shot and doesn't score, what a storyline.
This game is Busy. Every stick motion seems to matter, burned into your psyche.
Bruins get a 3 on 1 but apparently don't care enough to make a real play. Wow.
Gene was off to the races and Krejci was afraid that someone might notice he's average, so he tripped Gene and went to the box.
Huge-ass PP. Actually won the faceoff ahead. You're starting to get up for this game. Starting to see the reality of it. This is no heat stroke mirage.
If you don't win these faceoffs and control on the power play this is going to be VERY hard. Jokinen seeing some PP time. Everything seems a little slower, a little nastier. Settling down now. No one is dead in the water yet.
Neal and Iginla got perhaps the best look of the night so far but it didn't go.
Bruins get one off the rush, though. Oh my god.
Trickler past Vokoun. Ference drove the net. Krejci opened up his five hole. This first goal doesn't feel like other first goals but we of course look at those through rose-colored glasses because we ended up winning later.
Here's a great look at the play. Paul Martin went down for no real reason and caused the puck to change direction.
You count on weird ones like these to be made up for by idk our prodigious offense or something.
Wipe that semen off your chins though, kids. We've got a lot more heartbreak to play through.
Next, Crosby interfered with Bergeron with his giant ass. Why did you do that Sidney Playset?
Jagr gave the puck away to Adams on the PK. Bitter much. Solid PP so far but if they do score on this it's going to feel like a kill shot. Like we got too big for our britches way too fast.
Malkin and Iginla almost made magic happen but Bergeron slashed him. Prob should have been a penalty shot. But wouldn't want the refs to actually affect anything.
Pens look borderline like they are falling apart. Koun makes a gutsy save on Jagr to exorcise some demons after 8000 giveaways.
Orpik gonna get penalized late in the period, too. Everything could be bad.
Pens with a flurry at the end that literally had you screaming for help. Puck was right there on the goal line. But the period ends.
Hey you know who we haven't checked up on in awhile?
John Curry in case you are curious is currently with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. We're glad. Sunshiny weather suits his grace.
We present this logo as a talisman of solidarity.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT. THE AREA THAT BECAME DISGUSTING. THE GODLESS VOID.
Early 2nd, Cooke hit McQuaid. Watch the replay. McQuaid goes down and then covers his head afterwards as soon as he realizes what just happened. Not saying it's not a boarding hit. Though subsequent photos will show that McQuaid saw full well that Cooke was coming behind him and put himself in that position knowing what was gonna happen. And I might also be sayin that McQuaid is obviously faking and everyone should cry more and show Matt Cooke's elbow to Savard on TV because it is clearly the same fucking thing. NBC actually did this. Pierre classified it as the hit that ended Savard's career. Which was a lie. He was cleared to play after and was concussed a second time. Cooke's play was inexcusable, dangerous, and wrong, and one of the scariest things I've ever seen. But he didn't singlehandedly Bertuzzi Marc Savard. Pierre just wants the storyline to be juicier than it actually is.
NBC also shouldn't be allowed to report on anything because they queued up the fucking Savard video before the game even started. How do you excuse that?
Is this the hit in the photo?
There was 4 on 4 after btw that was vomit. Some Bruin took a roughing minor. 3 minutes of major penalty time left on Cooke's major penalty. Cooke was also ejected. Quaider was escorted to the quiet room but I'm like 99.999% sure he'll be back.
Pens kill the major. okay.
Pens are getting a lot of rushes, but it's all track meet and it seems like nobody is hitting the net. Cry yourself to sleep.
oh also headline of the fucking game: McQuaid has returned to the game and is apparently fine.
Pens on the PP and acting like jokes. Bruins get eight thousand chances.
welp city all period
Just waiting for everyone to get tired as fuck so someone can get their shit together long enough to score a goal.
Late in the period, Marchand boards the everloving shit out of Neal but Neal doesn't act like someone shot him and fake an injury to get sent to the concussion room, so it's only 2 minutes for Marchand. Marchand's hit was way worse than Cooke's. We're Pens homers but also Marchand is trash.
Pens desperately trying to score but Rask is dialed in. At the end of the period Malkin goes absolutely apeshit on Patrice Bergeron. Like full on takedown.
like tigresses in heat
Malkin and Bergeron don't have their jerseys tied down but as we remember from the Malkin vs. Zetterberg incident in Game 5 of the 2009 SCF, superstars apparently don't have to tie their jerseys. Bergeron leaves the ice covered in blood and we don't even know whose it is. Crosby gets in his "I'm actually on PCP" mindset which we see about once a year and he gets in Chara's face and Rask's face. Ugly shit.
Third period is going to have to break the mold, or we're fucked.
Pens somehow still have a PP because all the shenanigans at the end matched up. Somehow.
Nothing happens though and NBC shows a reel of the Pens hitting posts.
hahahahahahahahaha Krejci scores again kill yourself kill your family
hahahahahahahahahahah blah blah blah blah blah
kill your hometown
hide their bodies in a glacier
no one will know where you've hid them until latter day archaeologists find them frozen in a mountainside
Crosby took a penalty with 1:50 left for the hell of it.
At this point what's not awful is that a single questionable boarding call ended up ruling this game, but that the Pens fell for it, and that we are all stuck here trying desperately to not get ejected from the vortex
Hey guys get your shit together or we cancel the picnic.
watch some fucking video and stop eating bonbons
And the soil shall be sown with the blood of our enemies
Here's how close the Pens were to scoring. We'll be back.
because apparently they didn't award the Cup after this game. plot twist
We've said it all about this series. All that's left is to let the team speak. And some really bold ESPN statements.
ORLY LET'S FIND OUT.
Mattie Cooke undresses the D, Mark Eaton is a gorgeous human and makes a pass that flashes 08/09 when his knees stopped exploding, and Morrow takes it and gets it in off of his skate maybe a little. There's really no motion and the setup was so gorgeous that we are already ready to incite violence when we hear that it's being reviewed. But Penis McGuire thinks it looks pretty good and he is a jag about potentially illegal moves in the paint, so we feel comforted by his gleaming brow for once in our lives. The call on the ice stands and we're up 1-0 a little less than halfway through the first.
Never safe. Never comfortable. But still....sigh of relief.
One of the Worst Calls Ever puts Sid on the bench for "hooking." Eric Condra's personal space is Very Important. It was really just an amazing play but that's illegal now in hockey, so good thing we're being sticklers with new rules. Luckily we kill it.
The period wears on and there isn't a lot of high drama, which is confusing. Some excellent chances on either side, and it's generally a good game to watch, especially because we are dominating by a sufficient margin. The break comes up and we're jauntily sipping our drinks, legs up on the coffee table, pretending we won't be dying again once the second starts.
The second is hilarious in that the Rules apparently don't count when it comes to the Sens. There are two blatant penalties that, unlike Sid's Penalty for Unrealness, do not get called. We enjoy the way such things bond us all in agonized bitching on Twitter, though, so that's a bonus. Finally the Sens get called for a gross crosscheck, and we get a penalty that is more overdue than the news of Max Talbot's first illegitimate child. (No, Max, this is not an invitation to Talk to Us, it is just an easy comparison to make, now go back into your hot tub and don't look us in the eyes.)
Kris and James make an amazing play that ends with the puck pushed over the line, and for some reason it has to be reviewed because WAIT THE PENGUINS SCORED AGAIN MOTHERFUCKER DOUBLE CHECK THAT SHIT TO MAKE SURE THIS CANNOT STAND. Seriously what is this officiating. Goal stands because the war room is like "dudes come on, we have real things to do, cut it out with this shit." Much to the ref's chagrin, it's 2-0.
There is a 4-4 (of course, because how could the Penguins ever have a PP how could it happen) and Kris Letang makes Pierre have an existential crisis. First it's all WHAT IS THAT PLAY ON THE BLUELINE, SHAME and then it's all THAT'S WHAT THE COACHES WANT TO SEE FROM KRIS LETANG when he scores. Because great analysis.
Another 4-4 because of some Unrest and ads;fklasdfkj Gene and his slack-jawed face make our dreams come true on a breakaway. Which is untrue because we don't even get moves like that in our dreams. Sorry for lying to you. Then there's this, but we're ignoring it. WHAT ISN'T ANYONE GOING TO CALL UPSTAIRS TO MAKE SURE IT'S LEGIT?
Our shoes are on the coffee table once more when the clock winds down into second intermission. It's all bravado, no worries. Cockiness is a death wish.
There's an exchanging of penalties in the beginning of the third that leaves us up for a tiny bit of time that ends up not mattering. Then Neil thinks that his opinions matter. Murray's bloody nose begs to differ. It's only two minutes because why. It's cool - foolishness lands them in the box AGAIN, making us think someone with a bone cleaver in hand and Primanti's on their breath gave the refs a Talking To during intermission. The third is totally the penalty game we know and hate.
The Crown Royal Robocam is our favorite robot. Lol no just kidding.
James gets all up in Gonch's biz behind the net, took the puck, and came out in front, putting it where it wants to be.
The Sens cough a death rattle when Kris fucks up, making it 5-2. He is back on Pierre's shit list. It's like Pierre wishes he had a son to berate, but instead has chosen a young Penguins defenseman. Which is fine, so long as he promises not to reproduce.
There's still 5 minutes left. We've never felt comfortable with time left on the clock and we won't start this evening.
Pierre tells us he can't spell "chemistry" and it feels like a sad admission of loneliness. Sorry for all of the Pierre updates but we really worry about what will happen if we have to act serious during a memorial service for him after he throws himself from a bridge, so we like to keep on high alert when he is around.
SPEAKING OF BEING ON HIGH ALERT WHERE WERE YOU ANDERSON LOL THEM'S THE HATS.
Nothing else matters. Seriously. Because it all comes down to this.
We'd say something to speculate on the coming series, but we're with Sid. Worry about yourselves.
Rest up, bitches.
Danny, get that tie to the cleaners. It's going to get a workout.
We're just getting started.
Don't treat it like a chore. Treat it like a mission.
The Rangers are down 3-0 to the Bruins because they can't do anything right and the Bruins are using black magic and craft beer to curry favor with the hockey gods. LA/SJS series is tied. Detroit is embarrassing Chicago little by little. We need to be part of this dance, this dance that feels real for the first time in years.
NBC is gonna show the anthem. And we have Jussi and BeauBeau in for this shit--Vitale, Morrow, and Glass are out. And Cory Conacher is out for Ottawa. No idea why. Don't care.
That's just housekeeping so you remember what the circumstances are regardless of this game's outcome. Remember the news trickling in regardless of what kind of sobbing you're going to be doing later.
Gonch interfered with someone like first shift. Settle in for another PP. Sens look composed. MacLean's face is seriously some kind of Enigma of Kaspar Hauser nightmare.
Sens fans might be booing Letang? They definitely cheer him when Pens finally get a cycle going and Letang clears it out himself.
Then this shit happens where Alfredsson springs Michalek and Letang and Malkin totally didn't give a shit on the breakaway. Amazing pass by the captain--but also like. Apparent apathy on the play by Letang and Gene.
Out of control celebration. Just electricccc
Probably the worst thing that could have happened. It's possible that Scotiabank Place is trying to chant Fleury. They've got the crowd into it now. We're doomed.
Bit of a flurry by Malkin's line shortly thereafter. Colin Greening got a huge erection and took another interference penalty on Letang. Senators could probably build a strategy to win this game around taking stupid penalties.
There's some kind of inhuman roar when the puck drops for that PP faceoff. Letang and Malkin have been denied PP privileges--or so we like to think but really they just needed a rest. First unit comes out with Nisky and Paul Martin. Sens still killing it--but they aren't getting any scoring chances so it's an improvement.
Anderson is a brick fucking wall. Looks like an MVP. Crosby has the best look at the net of all time and appears to miss the net. Malkin and Letang are allowed back on the ice. Anderson is dialed in, robotic, unconscious, and nothing else will get past him unless the Pens do something.
Crosby gets a 2 on 1 and a rebound chance to boot. LOL NO
Anderson is unconsciously fucking good right now. Nothing is getting past him.
Pens are indeed the better team unless you count the most apathetic performance ever on a shorty.
Finally they caught Anderson sleeping. No one even noticed. James Neal off the motherfucking faceoff. No one saw it. It was in and out like the worst sex of your life. But we'll take it, gingerbeard prince. We'll fucking take it. Just give us a son.
Everything might be okay but
Something happens. Turris:
Look at this fucking photo. Turris is a pig in shit who has just flopped into a field of clover, sullying it forever.
look at that face
Letang needs a nap or something. Or unicorn rehab. Too many rainbows.
Next shift Pens get an unbelievable cycle going but nothing doing. Gotta build off of that--but of course the period ends. Luckily, Malkin had just turned the puck over, so we don't have to suffer through the consequences.
Second period begins. Someone hit Karlsson and he acted like he was dead.
Senators got lazy playing their own game and Kunitz got a serious breakaway. Mike Lange has been adamant all night that Anderson has been showing five hole and that's where Kunitz put it.
Well this helps, doesn't it?
Next shift, Pens get a little sloppy and get the dirty goal they've always wanted. Iggy city picking up trash around a suddenly rattled Anderson:
No idea what the Senators said to each other at intermission. "Who wants to go to CPK? These guys suck."
3-2 quite suddenly. Arena is morgue-like.
Teams trading chances or something after the goal, trying to get over the shock.
Paul Martin and Brandon Sutter have some kind of god mode shift but Martin has trouble corralling a pass for the kill shot.
Lines/pairings are all over the place.
Koun seems to have gently found his legs again and is about to smother people with his beard.
No idea what happened because of my bad Internet but Kunitz is apparently out. We feel like Chris Kunitz would be the one to pull the sword of Gryffindor from a lake. We miss him a lot.
Cooke gets called for something ridiculous with about a minute and a half left. He gently caressed another man. Paul Martin gets super aggressive with Kyle Turris, makes the Sens PP look dumb singlehandedly.
Karlsson hit a post big time. But almost don't count. Next time Vokoun is ready and lays his body on the puck as if it is a tiny baby during the London Blitz. We get out of the period alive.
Beginning the third, the Sens still have some PP. And Kunitz is back on the bench. We can get past this.
Still can't shake that feeling of triumph when the Sens get penalized. Our old friend Sergei is a -3 in this game and he decided to cross check Matt Cooke in the head.
But for once we don't seem intimidated by the wild men in the woods. Malkin with some kind of insane pass to James Neal who buries it. You guys: Nealer is awake.
4-2 on that one.
You get kind of a bad feeling after that that the Pens might let the Sen hang around. Niskanen almost killed someone. That's gonna be a penalty.
Against your heart, against all hope: on the kill, the best thing ever happened.
Cooke blocked a shot and he protects the puck all the way even though he's being chased by Captain Alfredsson. Anderson went for the pokecheck and Cooke came out from behind the net. . .and Dupes was just there. Cooke flips it in front to Dupes. Wide open net. Literally no one was paying attention. Wow.
Anderson reaction photos are the saddest things. We usually feel bad for goalies. Especially ones who actually can steal games.
Still. Next sequence. Crosby manages to chase Anderson, his demon from the last game. Rushes up ice and just drags the puck around three Senators on his backhand. Waits waits waits. Off the post and in. Possibly the most beautiful goal ever and it might be because we're biased but wow.
I can't find a pic of the goal and I don't sleep anymore so you should probably just watch it. Like eight times.
wow wow wow
6-2 that fast.
Then Chris Neil took a penalty because he's Chris Neil. But we should probably celebrate his 2000++ penalty minutes because they're doing everyone a lot of good.
faceoff win in Sens zone. Letang to Iggy to snipejob.
LOL U GUYSSSSSS
Are you kidding? It's 7-2.
Apparently Kunitz went back to the room. So he's def hurt a bit. But well enough to play a game 4 in a non-elimination situation if needed. Pens then take a penalty of their own. Just under 7 left. It's an anti-American conspiracy--took Lange a minute to figure out if it was Pauly or Mark Eaton who got penalized for whatever
Alfredsson gets a goal (deflection of Karlsson shot) to make it 7-3 and to make everyone feel better. Pens call a timeout because they can. Sens fans still flip out at the goal announcement in the arena. Good Sens fans. Good to see you care.
Pens get penalized again. Jokinen was in a "personal battle" with Pageau according to Lange. Sounds naughty. Alfredsson gets in a Mood though and hauls down Orpik. Maybe just trying to not let his team get too complacent. Maybe it's leadership.
After that penalty call Scotiabank Place played S&M by Rihanna and we're always so skeptical about this because they just play the "na na na na na na come on" part but not the part that claims to be about S&M and we have a Complaint about that because it's like trying to cheat. You're playing a song that is basically Disney for kinky sex and try to act like you're not playing it. It's like censoring a cat licking its butt.
And that's our final comment on this game. That's what Scotiabank Place gave its, all things told, relatively classy fans to take with them into the dark spring night.
Could be the penultimate game of the series.
Could be we're going to a fucking pig roast on Friday.
This game has the potential to be the first important game of the series. Sid made game two look too easy to exist, and that makes us nervous and weird. A psychiatrist would have a field day with our ability to turn Good Things into anxiety, but that psychiatrist doesn't know shit about playoff hockey. Can we get PSAD (Post-Season Affective Disorder) added to the DSM?
The point is that Ottawa is gross and we only recently found out that they're also French-ish so that's a shock to our sheltered American systems. Why are we even here.
Oh, right. To win. Let's hope we don't have to burn anything down.
The chances for both teams in the first two minute are terrifying and the play is fast and open. We are already confused and scared about what this game is trying to tell us.
5 minutes in Mattie and Sutter get a good chance at the net but Anderson says No. Mattie's hustle was unreal. We dream of a game wherein he has 0 PMS and scores at least once. We also dream of gin raining from the skies. Let's see how it goes for us.
Ottawa gets a holding call because they aren't too interested in getting anywhere in this series. Iggy and Malkin try to be BFFS but just knock one another over. The Sens kill it with a minimal amount of trouble. We're not impress.
It confuses us that Spezza is playing with Conacher because that doesn't seem like a 2-0 series going into Game 3 decision but idk maybe there is black magic involved.
Vokoun is being the monster under your bed and in your closet and in your soul forever and ever. Anderson is keeping up.
You wish that went in. I wish that went in. We all dream of brighter tomorrows.
Zach Smith is a chode. Just a statement of fact.
Malkin gets a rush that looks like Jesus Christ but the Sens can't stop being haters and trip him up. We are dying for a penalty shot, but we go into the 2nd with most of the power play left.
Ktang celebrates the beginning of the second by getting a prolific pass to Sid, who is robbed by Anderson on his shot. Ottawa apologizes by getting a quick Too Much Man to give us the two man advantage. Malkin gets an amazing shot but Anderson, who is really standing on his head, says nope. NBC thinks it is a time to make a Charlie Sheen joke. No one is amused. They run it out to even strength. We are starting to get Agitated.
Zach Smith decides to get cute with Malks and goes to the bench for roughing. A pane of glass has an existential crisis over the state of our special teams and simply explodes. We know the feeling. But we don't really have to worry about seeing it because Cowen clips himself with Sid's stick and that is obviously a reason for Sid to sit on the bench amirite. That is used up, but then of course there is another reason for us to be on the bench because adsfkjhasdkj. Karlsson gets an unsportsmanlike, though, which is pretty hilarious. 4-4 again. Someone remind me how many players are normally on the ice because I can't seem to recall.
When we pretend for a few minutes like we're done with penalties, Koun really kills it with some huge saves. The Sens have too many solid chances. Death and dying.
Finally, finally, finally Mattie Cooke makes it happen in front of the net, and TK is there to get it in. We'd have taken an ugly one, but it was surprisingly pretty.
The flow of the game picks up a little for the remaining moments in the second. We're hoping the mojo makes the jump into the third
The mojo doesn't really jump the gap, but Koun is on point so it's sort of okay. Koun makes a sick leg save on a shot that erryone thought was going in. Anderson keeps up his insanity too, and it's kind of fun to see the boys in both nets looking so solid. It adds an extra layer of horror and pain and gut wrenching nervousness, many of the emotions that make us love the playoffs. The game isn't pretty, but the net minding sure is.
The penalties calm down, which makes it more bearable but no not really because this entire game is terrifying.
A little shy of 2 minutes left in the game and we go up on the PP. The Sens get the chance to pull Anderson and we know we're racing the clock the way the puck is flying around in our zone. In a realization of all your waking nightmares, the Sens manage to capitalize on a solid shift. Short handed to tie it up, right as the 3rd runs down.
Sid gets a nice chance in the final seconds, but Anderson does his thing.
This OT is going to be a bitch.
The motherfucking OT starts with Malkin and Kunitz putting your heart directly into your throat. Anderson is officially outlawed in all offseason goalie picnics because wtf is this shit. We keeping throwing it and throwing it and throwing it at the net. We beg the question WHERE THE HELL WAS THIS TEAM ALL GAME?
The Sens are not without some great chances themselves. Goalie v. Goalie, plus some Mark Eaton because he is seriously being unreal.
It keeps going and it won't end and Zoe is contemplating burning everything in her apartment and we are ripping our hair out and hrrrrr. Iggy misses a fat chance from Malks and our lives somehow get harder as if that was even a thing that could happen. The rage is coming.
NBC thinks it is important to focus their in-game reporting on the fact that Neal and Neil are spelled differently. Someone needs to die in a fire. First OT leaves with the final shreds of our souls.
Second OT, asdj.fnadsjf. The Pens get a PP, and the Sens do a sick job killing it. Even strength once again, Brooks loses his footing on a hit against Neil and Neil goes into the boards hard on his shoulder. He goes down the runway, his arm not moving much. Pens give a stick tap and our souls hurt because no one wants fatigue to end in injury. That's unfortunately the risk you run in games with multiple overtimes. The Sens go up on a PP shortly because no one wants our hearts to work anymore. We kill it.
The Sens get a great shift that we can't seem to clear and you feel that sick feeling in your stomach as the puck bounces every which way. You're holding your breath for ten solid seconds before the Sens finally capitalize.
We're having a hard time being alive, but it's still a 2-1 series. Hopefully this was the kick in the ass we needed to calm it down in came 4.
Go to bed. Pens in 5.
Never losing again
Hope, faith, etc.
hahahaha sorry we put this game on our Tumblr and forgot to post the recap here last game. Follow that shit if you can.
Game 1 felt a little bit like a joke. The semifinals, now, feels like the center of a very dangerous storm. We're used to an NHL where things are not what they seem, where we march through surreal forests made of light with strangers and enemies. The idea that we could be doing something right is very frightening and not okay.
NBC starts the broadcast by trying to do a graphic about Vokoun's shutout streak (going on 60 minutes) so things might be getting back to normal.
God the speed of playoff hockey. And the NBC mics pick up the gasps of CEC so much better than ROOT. It's like we're right there. Hands on the glass. Crying and spitting.
PAUL MACLEAN SPEAKING WORDS: A FILM BY WERNER HERZOG
For the first time it really feels like the playoffs. Neal was wide open early on and while his shot was big and good and scary not much was going on.
Kris Letang is skating like God. Something feels just. . .right.
Sidney Crosby hopped on the ice and decided he was going to take a little stroll around Erik Karlsson. Karlsson was basically meaningless on that play. Bye bye. Sid Snipe. Anderson can't even deal.
gif from Pensblog:
Couple of beats later you hear the iron when Malkin hits the pipe. KOUUUUNNN chants raining down for routine saves.
Pens get the first PP but it kind of makes the Pens look more human. Ottawa in their dicks. Looks more like even strength. Marc Methot gets a penalty for roughing after the next TV timeout though. Don't get too comfortable boys.
Malkin almost scores but it dies dramatically short of the goal line. Pens get all kinds of confused retrieving in their own zone and they even allow a shorthanded chance. Come on assholes. Paul Martin keeps his chin strong and manly and manages to not let his pocket get picked behind the net. And also saves a sure shorty breakaway when three Senators attack him in the high slot. God damn, Paul Martin. Your balls.
Gene eventually hooks someone because the Sens are fighting back. C'mon Gene baby don't you do us like this. Oddly the Senators power play doesn't look as oddly impotent as the Pens one. Turris has all kinds of room down by the goal line. Wham bam:
fuck so, those power plays guys. Sounds like a turning point. Also hahahaha remember that "shutout streak" NBC good job NBC you figured out the secret.
Vokoun looks intense behind his mask, like he has realized the dream is up, and it's time to do some more serious work.
But I mean we have Sid, which apparently Anderson finds difficult to deal with.
Sid beat him because his body language was faking pass pass pass. Anderson bought that little twitch.
Pens finding their legs again ever so slowly as a result of this moment in which Anderson has been exposed as average.
what a period, you guys
Early second, Karlsson completes his fucked up bildungsroman by hooking Neal on his way to the goal. GOOD JOB ERIK GOOD JOB ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE OKAY WE REALLY WISH YOU WEREN'T LIKE THIS WE WISH YOU WERE BETTER WE ARE SO SORRY THAT AN ACCIDENT BEFELL YOUR PERFECT BODY
PP city. Wasn't even thinking about it because of how bad the last two were. They were that bad.
Sid wins the faceoff a bit dirty. Malkin to Letang up top to Sid at the top of the left circle to HOLY SHIT WHAT A SHOT.
This whole game so far has just been Sid proving that Anderson can't do this right now. And who is this guy? Robin Lehner? We haven't heard of him so he'll probably play his balls off. Good for you, boo.
Lehner takes his first shot of his playoff career, an absolutely nasty little look from Dupuis after Cooke ran some kind of crazy cyle.
Never mind that 2-goal lead though. Colin Greening proves to be The Most Dangerous Senator by coming off and scoring an easy goal on the rush.
don't even want to dignify with a real pic
Neal and Iggy get a ridiculous 2-on-1 and Lehner finds his legs by making an absolutely spectacular and terrifying save on Iginla. Some kind of 4 on 4 because Neil and Letang tried to throw each other into a ditch at recess. Was it only Southwestern PA Catholic schools that had ditches?
OH HEY SURPRISE AWARD
GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE'S SAC
Latendresse boarded Malkin. It wasn't a vicious board or anything But a board nonetheless. Everyone saying Malkin dove. Kinda hard to dive when you don't see the guy coming but whatever.
Iginla keeps getting attacked and is basically doing everything but score. We'd love to see him get a goal. But Colin Greening is trying to win a beauty contest and Jarome is way too cute for the Sens right now. Whole Pens PP is a ballet of horror. No shots. Just rudeness and blunt axes.
Here is a short two-photo exhibit of Iginla being a beast but not scoring. We can feel him coming in this series soon.
PROTIP YOU GUYS: OTTAWA ATTACKS AT THE BLUELINE. . . . . .UNTIL THEY DON'T. Paul Mart finally able to let one rip after the PP expires. Tipped by Morrow. His first all playoffs. Finally his ass parked in front of the net paying off.
DUDE DID YOU SEE THAT
So, this Lehner guy is also average.
Sens seem intent on ruining this period for themselves though. Chris Neil, he of the celebrated 2000 PIMs, takes yet another couple. Sens still challenging, they seem to think they can do this all day. Hint: they can't.
Nevertheless, Kunitz overskates a wide open shot and the Sens go the other way. Colin Greening with a semibreakaway and Koun makes the save of the playoffs to keep it out. Greening crashes into the net violently in the wake of his failure.
Tomas Vokoun is some kind of god. Really no other explanation. Curry has passed the torch.
KOOOUUUNNN chants still at level 45.
Dupuis attacking Jared Cowen the way a small yorkie attacks an overlarge stuffed animal.
next thing you know Cory Conacher with an absolutely insane burst of speed and a breakaway--Vokoun refuses to be intimidated. Absolutely nasty. Stood on his head, stacked the pads, what have you. That whole terrifying sequence seems to calm the Feelings down. And then the period ended.
The third is coming strong.
Iginla gets tackled in general and after a mad scramble Vokoun is out to lunch somewhere in the vicinity of Coal Center, PA (not by his own choice, it appeared to be kidnapping) meanwhile someone named Pageau poked it in.
This is not okay.
Orpik smears someone. That's a bit of a boarding yeah, bro. Neil trying to actually eat people.
This is the Senators' time. If they tie this game (1 for 1 on the PP so far, S% 100%, fuck) we could choke on our own semen all the way to hell.
Douglas Murray with the ultimate sacrifice to block a Gonch bomb. We all know how those can actually literally kill you.
Killed though. Thank the baby jesus.
Pageau is turning into a regular Volek out there. We could start crying blood.
Sens and Pens both buzzing equally. We're literally seconds from disaster at every turn.
In a strange sequence, Gonchar was one on one with Douglas Murray. That's some kind of matchup.
Neal caught Chris Phillips reaching for his tissues and stole the puck from him behind the net. It was an unbelievable pass to Malks who was all alone in front--but Lehner was ready with that save.
Iggy got a breakaway and you had the hot, metal taste of blood in your mouth, but Lehner came up and stopped that from even being a twinkle in the eye.
Commercial break and no one knows who is going to have a PP when the game comes back. It will probably be the Pens, because we're playing with fire. Like five minutes left.
but no--it was the young, fair Cory Conacher who committed the deadly sin. i.e. Sid kinda dove a bit. We'll allow it. We almost wish we could give the PP back because all they do is attack us and hurt us. We're not afraid to admit our weaknesses.
We were right: that was another absolutely terrible power play. SURPRISE. One chance there at the end. Just one.
Pens come back strong though after Vokoun nearly fumbles a puck. mini 2 on 1 for Dupes and Morrow. Nope nope. CONSOL is whistling and dying and shouting and hurting and wailing.
Pens at least keeping Lehner in the net. Really nothing can be done. Lehner starts. . .stops. . .starts. . .stops. . .finally they get the extra man.
30 seconds. The way the arena is you'd think this was an elimination game. But it sure feels like one.
By a hair.
That's 2-0. But we're going to the Satan Pit next. (You may know it as Scotiabank Place.)
it's a curious victory.
Sid has gained a serious lisp with his jaw surgery and possibly real facial hair.
Some seasons are storybook. Some seasons are like the beaches of Normandy.
You know how it goes.
Per Dave Molinari, Pens haven't had a 2-0 series lead since the 2009 ECF (If so you could have bet on it at sports.bwin.com/en/ice-hockey)
you can actually see the moment that it happens
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.