Friday, November 23, 2007

Pens v Sens (W 6-5 SO)

I decided early on not to recap this game as I normally do because I was in the process of preparing my first unassisted Thanksgiving meal. I would come to regret that decision, as this was one hell of a game! The Penguins battled back from a two goal deficit not once but twice. The night was facilitated mainly by two unlikely heroes: Ryan Malone, who had 2 goals and an assist, and Jarrko Ruutu, who deked his way to the game winning shot in sudden death overtime. An honorary mention goes out to Martin Gerber, who initially prevented Erik Christensen from scoring on the first shootout shot, but bounced the puck back into his own net with his elbow.

It's a good thing Gerber's not from Columbia. (← That incident still haunts me...)

Anyhoo, the Senators scored the first goal. At the time, that was a very, VERY bad omen of things to come. Prior to this game, the Sens were 14-0 when they scored the first goal. The Sens also scored the second goal, after which Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled in favor of Dany Sabourin. (For the record, I have been spelling his nickname incorrectly. There was a closeup shot of the back of his helmet where "Sabou" was clearly visible. My bad!) Sabou was called upon to stop the Sens after MAF allowed 2 of 4 shots on goal into the net.

The first period also saw an incidence of complete incompetence by one of the referees. It happened when Ruutu took a punch to the throat and fell backwards. He immediately got up to continue play, but a delayed penalty was called. Once the play was stopped, we found out that Ruutu was being charged with DIVING. Ruutu fell backwards, yes, but he got up and continued playing. He didn't complain about the hit or mouth off to the ref or anything! It was by far one of the worst calls I've seen in a very long time. Later, with only a few minutes left in the first period, Evgeni Malkin beat Gerber on the stick side with a ridiculous shot. Only 18 seconds later, Malone made it a brand new hockey game when he tied it up with assists from Sid and Colby Armstrong. The Senators and the fans in Scotia Bank Place were stunned.

The Saint celebrates with the Man of the Night.

The second period saw the Pens take the lead by one goal when Tyler Kennedy scooped up the puck from a failed shot by Jordan Staal and blasted a shot through traffic past Gerber. The lead would last just over 5 minutes until the Sens scored 2 goals in a span of less than 3 minutes. The period ended with the Sens up by a goal.

Sid protects the puck from Daniel Alfredsson.

The Sens scored another goal 64 seconds into the third period. But remember, last season the Pens earned a nickname from their ability to comeback from adversity such as this. And indeed they did. Again it was Malone who got the fire burning with the Pens. And just over a minute later, he assisted in a shot from Sergei Gonchar that tied the game at 5 goals each.

Sid celebrates another Pens goal.

The game went to overtime and then on to a shootout. Our shooters were Christensen, Petr Sykora, and Sid. The Sens shooters were Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, and Dany Heatley. Only Christensen (assisted by Gerber) and Spezza scored. Then sudden death began. Mike Fisher, Malkin, and Dean McAmmond all missed the mark. Then it was the Pens turn again. Ruutu came up and just like that, he fooled Gerber with a slight deke and easily put the puck in the net. The Pens won the game against the current best team in the NHL! Even though it's early in the season, this was a HUGE win for the Pens. Hopefully it will improve morale, and we'll start seeing the Pens racking up the points. The next game will see the Pens facing the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday at 7:30 pm Eastern.


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