Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pens v Wild (W 4-2)

I liked recapping in between periods last time so much that I decided I would do it again for tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild. It's the first intermission and it remains scoreless. Going into tonight's game, the Wild have dominated the Pens having gone 4-0-0 in their last four meetings. Really, there isn't a lot to discuss right now. There were no penalties taken by either team, and (obviously) neither team scored. Each team has seen good shifts (particularly by the Evgeni Malkin/Sidney Crosby/Ryan Malone line), but the netminders - Dany Sabourin for the Pens and Josh Harding for the Wild - have been on top of their games so far tonight.

Versus reporter Christine Simpson interviewed Sid during the intermission, but all he really said was that the Pens needed to remain patient and keep doing what they were already doing and hopefully they would score some goals. Some of you may not like this, but I have to say it: Thanks for the newsflash, Captain Obvious! :P

Sid protects the puck.

What a difference an intermission break can make! The Pens came out flying. Less than 2 minutes into the second period, Sergei Gonchar took a hard shot on goal only to ring it off the goal post. Less than a minute after that, the Pens would register the first goal of the night. Sid made a soft pass behind the net to Malkin, who was able to bring it around the front and stuff it into the goal on the side. Suddenly, both teams came alive. After some spirited play from both teams, Branko Radivojevic took a hard shot on goal. The puck hit the goal post, ricocheted directly out to Stephane Veilleux, who was able to fire it into the back of the net. The score would remain even at 1 for a mere 15 seconds, as Malone took a shot that ricocheted off Crosby (his skate, I think) on which Malkin made a beautiful shot while almost diving. The score was 2-1.

Just after that, Malkin and Nick Schultz took coincidental penalties, Malkin for elbowing and Schultz for roughing. Neither team would capitalize on the ensuing 4 on 4. Later, the Wild would go on the advantage as Adam Hall took a hooking penalty. Crosby was out on the penalty kill. During the power play, Mikko Koivu collided with his own teammate, Brian Rolston, leaving him a bit dazed as he left the ice. Rolston, however, was able to recover possession of the puck. He shot it on goal, but bounced it directly off Sabourin's mask. The Wild were unable to score.

Both teams became more aggressive. At one point, Crosby made an incredible twisting pass, but neither Malkin nor Malone was able to keep up with him to connect on the pass. Jordan Staal later made a nice pass but the Wild were able to break it up. Conversely, Derek Boogaard made a nice shot on goal, but Sabourin made the glove save. The second period ended with the Pens ahead, 2-1.

Geno celebrates a goal.

The third period began with a moment of deja vu. Malkin and Schultz again took simultaneous penalties, Malkin for holding and Schultz for hooking. Neither team would score on the 4 on 4. Adam Hall would find himself getting into a scuffle with James Sheppard, after having had enough of Sheppard. First, Sheppard nailed Hall with a high stick just off a faceoff; then Sheppard slammed into Hall. Hall decided to take matters into his own hands after no penalties were assessed on Sheppard. The resulting scrum ended up looking less like a fight and more like a man-hug in circles, as the two were pretty evenly matched. The refs broke it up and guided the big men to their respective penalty boxes. As Versus decided to go to commercial, Crosby had words and "tapped" a Wild player, but I was unable to see who that player was. (DAMN TV TIMEOUTS!!!)

Christine Simpson brought us back from the commercial break with an interview with Sidney's old coach from Shattuck-St. Mary's School (the high school that Sid attended in Minnesota) during which the Wild were able to score. The interview was cut short after Koivu got the puck to the front of the net for Rolston to jab it in to tie the game at 2. Propelled by the resulting momentum, the play became much more physical.

The Pens would get their big break when Brent Burns was given a penalty for tripping Maxime Talbot as he was on his way to the goal. Petr Sykora made the Wild pay for it by scoring a power play goal on a pass from the Saint. Later, Mark Recchi made a great play happen by passing the puck from the corner out to the front of the net where Gonchar tried to score with a one timer, but Harding made a really great save to deny their efforts.

The highlight of the game (it also earned the Versus Goal of the Game title) came when our man Sid took a pass from Gonchar and went out on a breakaway to score a really pretty goal to make the score 4-2. The Wild would get a break when Tyler Kennedy took a penalty for interference, but it would not matter. The Wild wouldn't score again, making 4-2 the final score.

Sid scores his breakaway goal, which was his fourth point of the night.

Sid had a FANTASTIC game, having had a hand in all four goals scored. Malkin also had a great game, having scored 2 of the goals and the second assist on Sid's breakaway goal. The Pens' next 3 games are away games. They will next meet the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

NOW, I HAVE SOMETHING FOR OUR FRIENDS WHO DON'T GET THE VERSUS CHANNEL: An anonymous poster left a comment with links to the YouTube posting of the "Sidney Crosby: Revealed" program. On behalf of our Versus-less Friends: thank you, anonymous! ENJOY!!! :)


[Part 1/3]

[Part 2/3]

[Part 3/3]

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