Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pens v Islanders (W 3-2)

Tonight's game began with a Penguins Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Legendary defenseman Paul Coffey and locker room assistant Frank Sciulli, who worked for the club from its inception in 1967 until he died at age 82 this past summer, were the inductees. Coffey dropped the ceremonial first puck to get the game rolling. The first period had very tight defense by both teams. Georges Laraque gave us the first real action of the game when he hit Andy Sutton into the door that leads to the Pens' locker room. The hit was so hard the door shot open, and it earned the distinction of being the Subway Sandwich (or "Sammich") of the Game. Sidney had the first shot of the night, but Rick DiPietro absorbed the shot. Sir Sidney was repelling the big guys Brendan Witt and Josef Vasicek. Less than 5 minutes into the period, Brooks Orpik took a questionable penalty for a hooking. No matter, the Pens killed the penalty. After that, Sid went nuts. He was shooting pucks at DiPietro one after the other, but none made it to the back of the net.

Paul Coffey is inducted into the Penguins HOF.

After a bit, the play settled back down, and the crowd got quiet. Finally, our favorite agitator, Jarrko Ruutu, got under Tim Jackman's skin. Jackman confronted Ruutu, and as a result, they both went to their respective "sin bins." Evgeni Malkin had an incredible steal that lead to a quick shot on goal on the ensuing 4 on 4, but DiPietro had an even better save. A few seconds later, Sergei Gonchar missed the puck on an attempt to clear it, and Witt got possession. Witt fired a shot from the point that Mike Comrie deflected into the goal. Islanders 1, Pens 0.

Later, a big scrum happened after Sean Bergenheim ran pushed Marc-Andre Fleury. Orpik got his own penalty for starting the scrum when he confronted Bergenheim. During this 4 on 4, Jordan Staal (who just can't seem to buy a goal but has been a beast on the penalty kill) used his large frame to create a screen for Gonchar, who fired a shot up and over DiPietro's shoulder to the back of the net. The game was tied at 1. Malkin got an assist, which keeps his point streak alive at 12 in a row. With one second left in the 4 on 4 play and less than 2 minutes left in the period, Miroslav Satan took a penalty for interference. Then, with 1:27 left in that penalty, Andy Hilbert took a hooking penalty. The first period ended with the game tied at one.

"Sarge" celebrates his goal.

The second period started with the Pens on the 2 man advantage. Satan had just over a minute left in the box, and Hilbert had just over a minute and a half. Just 58 seconds into the period, Malkin stuffed the puck around the cage and under DiPietro's right pad. Petr Sykora finished it off by poking it in and over the goal line. The play was reviewed because the net came up, but since it did not leave its moorings, the call stood. Islanders 1, Pens 2. The pens had roughly 30 seconds left in the penalty to Hilbert but did not capitalize on the chance. Again the play was tight. Then, Vasicek evened things back up when he scored on a fortuitous bounce that was the result of an Islander shot just off the faceoff. Islanders 2, Pens 2.

It should be noted that MAF was making some nice saves; one in particular had him catching a bouncing puck that the Pens d-men were having difficulty taming. The Pens would get a chance to get it back when Mike Sillinger was called for hooking, but they would not score on the power play. With less than 3 minutes to go in the second, Witt turned the puck over in his own zone to - wait for it - Sidney who then made a really pretty pass to Laraque who promptly shot the puck up and over DiPietro's blocker, and earned his first goal as a Penguin. Sid's pass was so nice it prompted guest commentator Coffey to say, "That was a hell of a pass!" Islanders 2, Penguins 3. The second period ended with the Pens up by one (NY 2, PIT 3).

Big Georges Laraque's first big (Penguins) goal.

During the second intermission, FSN Pittsburgh revealed that Laraque was the Mic'd Up player of the night. It captured the sounds of his first Penguins goal. The Pens' young captain was the first to reach Laraque for the celebration, and as they embraced, it was difficult to discern who was more excited - Georges or Sid!!!

Ryan Malone, who's been playing better hockey this season than he's ever played, drew a penalty when he took a shot to the head from Comrie. (Incidentally, Sid had to use his tree trunk legs to jump up and over Malone to keep from hitting him while he was down.) Unfortunately, the Islanders successfully killed the Pens' power play. Later, Ruslan Fedotenko got a shot that rang the puck off the post. Immediately following, the Penguins carried the rebound down towards DiPietro, and Sykora rang the puck of the post, as well. MAF made a HUGE save on Richard Park, who was unchallenged by the Penguins defense.

The Pens got a 6 on 5 opportunity when a delayed penalty was called on Bryan Berard. During this play, Malkin made a unique pass to Sid, who was on the opposite side of the ice, by lifting the puck up and over the players on the ice. It was like he was golfing, and if Sid was a hole, Malkin would have had a hole-in-one as the puck went right to Sid's stick. It was incredible to see, and Bob Errey stated that he didn't think he had ever seen anyone do that before. The Pens would not score on the power play, and the Islanders were lucky it didn't go to a 5 on 3 - the refs didn't see when Sutton punched Tyler Kennedy in the face.

Sid's point streak now extends 18 games.

Later, Kennedy took a hooking penalty. The Islanders didn't score, and Kennedy got possession of the puck just out of the box. Unfortunately, he didn't notice that DiPietro had been pulled, and the empty net was waiting. Kennedy was stripped of the puck, and the crowd (and I) gasped in disbelief. Sid came in and regained possession of the puck and fired it towards the empty net, but the puck hit the post. Sid got the rebound and tried to feed it to Kennedy but was being hassled by Islanders. He ended up taking a stick in the face and drawing a penalty with 17 seconds left in the third period. The Islanders showed their desperation by getting control off the faceoff and heading towards the goal, but MAF shut them down. The game ended with a Penguins win (NY 2, PIT 3).

Sid did the post game interview tonight. He was practically giddy about his role in Laraque's goal. It was obvious that he was genuinely excited to be a part of that experience with Georges. Dan Potash mentioned Sid's 18 game point streak, to which Sid replied with a laugh, "I'm not really concerned about that. I'm more mad that I missed the empty net!" It doesn't matter, Sid. A win is a win. :) The next game has the Pens facing another New York team (the Rangers) on Saturday at 7:30 Eastern.


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