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
It's fitting that the Pens-Bruins series begins in the middle of some god damn unearthly heat wave.
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.
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