Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pens v Canucks (W 2-1 SO)

The Penguins finished their tour of Western Canada in Vancouver tonight. Dany Sabourin started in goal for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury tonight. Sabou was formerly Roberto Luongo's backup. (Sabou filled in for Luongo during the bathroom incident during last season's Stanley Cup playoffs against Anaheim.) Immediately on the opening faceoff, Ryan Kesler took Sid down. It was a harbinger of things to come for Sid. Less than 45 seconds into the first period, Willie Mitchell raked his stick up and over Sidney's face. There was some confusion about how long the penalty would be. It wasn't cleared up until a full minute into the resulting power play: Mitchell would serve four minutes in the box. The Pens, however, would not even register a shot on the power play.

Maxime Talbot took the Pens' first penalty. Sidney was out early in the penalty kill and drew another penalty this time on Taylor Pyatt after he lifted his stick up underneath number 87's arms. There was 4-on-4 hockey for about a minute, but neither team scored during their respective power plays. Just as the penalty to Pyatt ended, Sergei Gonchar took a hard shot that Luongo absorbed into his chest pads. As the play was stopped, Alexandre Burrows knocked Sid down from behind. Evgeni Malkin didn't appreciate the abuse that his captain was receiving and became involved in a scrum behind Luongo's net. He received a penalty for his efforts. The Canucks did not score on the power play.

And everybody was kung fu fighting! Well, except for Sidney...

Following the physical play against Sid, Coach Michel Therrien decided to put Big Georges Laraque out on the ice with the Saint. The Pens first good chance came when Petr Sykora got a pass from Malkin from behind the net. Luongo absolutely ROBBED Sykora with a stunning glove save. Mark Eaton took only his second penalty of the year, but the Canucks didn't capitalize on the advantage. Then, Laraque got control of the puck in the Penguins' zone. He got the puck to Sykora, who dropped the puck off to Malkin with a backhanded pass at the blue line. This forced Luongo to go to his own left side to watch Malkin while Sykora veered off to Luongo's right. Malkin made a beautiful pass to Sykora who promptly scored. Pens 1, Canucks 0. A give and go between Sid and Gonchar immediately following Sykora's goal nearly resulted in another goal, but Sid was just wide. The first period ended with the Pens ahead by a goal.

During the first intermission, FSN Pittsburgh had a short piece on former Canuck Jarrko Ruutu. Apparently, there is a song about him. It has lyrics like "Ruutu, Ruutu, he knows what to do. He's gonna take us far!" Dan Potash spoke to Sid about the song saying, "[Ruutu] may never win a scoring title, but you may never have a song written about you!" To which Sidney replied, "Yeah, he's got me there, that's for sure!"

Henrik Sendin and Geno go into the boards.

Early in the second period, Pyatt took a high sticking penalty, but the Pens didn't score on the ensuing power play. After a few minutes, Ryan Malone was shoved into Luongo by Keslar. Luongo took Malone's elbow in the side of his head. It was a delayed penalty, and Sami Salo chipped the puck up and over the glass. Malone was called for goaltender interference, while Salo was assessed a penalty for delay of game. Before either man could be escorted to their respective sin bins, a big fight broke out between the teams to the right of Luongo. Matt Cooke hit Colby Armstrong from behind, leaving Army very slow to get up. (← This will be significant later...) Sid lost his helmet in the scrum. After the madness, a 4-on-4 finally got underway. In the first few seconds, Malkin's stick broke. He was without a stick while the Canucks had possession for about a minute. After good saves by both Sabou and Gonch, Sabou was finally able to freeze the puck and end the 4-on-3½.

Sabou almost gave up a goal as he tried to play the puck, but the Canucks just couldn't get to the puck in time. Then, Malone and Cooke threw down the gloves. Malone won the fight when he took Cooke down. Both men were given fighting penalties. Later, Kris Letang just missed finishing his check on Jeff Cowan. Cowan was not so lucky, though, as just seconds later 265 pound Laraque did not miss. Cowan was absolutely drilled into the boards as a result of the clean hit by Laraque and required assistance from his team's trainers to leave the ice. The replay was shown on the jumbotron in a move that Bob Errey didn't really appreciate. A few minutes later, Brendan Morrison missed a shot on an open cage. Then, with less than 2 minutes left in the second, Sid took a tripping penalty after he put his stick down in front of Brad Isbister, causing him to crash into and dislodge the net. This prompted the crowd to begin shouting "CROS-by, CROS-by!" (Yeah, but don't forget: these are the same people that are treating Sid's arrival like it is the second coming.) The second ended with the Pens still holding on to their one goal lead.

The third period started with Sid in the box for 45 seconds. Malone got control of the puck and tried for another shorthanded goal. Then Gonch got it and made a hard shot on goal, but Luongo made another glove save. Sid's penalty ended with no score for the Canucks. But later, Keslar, in a 1 on 3, managed to get the puck past Sabou to even the game at one goal each. In the very next play, Ruutu just misses getting it back when he shot just over the goal after Erik Christensen set him up. As the teams made line changes yet another small scrum in front of the benches resulted in Christensen and Isbister both getting penalized. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4. After coming out of the box, Crusher took a stick in the face from Lukas Krajicek, but the Pens didn't score on the power play. Just as Krajicek returned to the ice, the Canucks had control of the puck. A pass was made to Krajicek, but the Pens stripped him of the puck but, Gary Roberts took a penalty for hooking in the process. The Canucks did not score on this power play.

Salo chases Sid.

The last five and a half minutes of the third period were insane. There were no whistles until the third period ended. Talbot took a shot from a pass from Laraque (whom the crowd was booing, by the way), and we had to wait until the end of the period to find out that it was not a goal. The puck had a strange bounce from the inside of the post but did not fully cross the goal line. The game went into overtime. Before the third period ended, Talbot limped to the bench. It looks as though he may have aggravated his high ankle sprain.

During the overtime, Sykora fired a shot that hit Luongo so hard that he lost his stick. He was forced to play for just about 30 seconds without his stick, but the Pens couldn't take advantage of the situation. Then, with 2:30 left in OT, Sid got a breakaway chance but was hauled down on the play. He was awarded a penalty shot. Pittsburgh took a timeout to afford Sidney some time to rest. He took his shot, but Luongo gave it his all to stop Sid's shot. The remaining 2½ minutes of overtime were up and down, back and forth.

"Bobby Lu" stops Sid on the penalty shot.

No one score, so they took it to the shootout:
  • Kelsar - 0
  • Christensen - 1
  • Morrison - 0
  • Sykora - 0
  • Trevor Linden - 1
  • Crosby [while being booed] - 0
  • Pyatt - 0 [off goal post]
  • Ruutu - 0
  • Markus Naslund - 0
  • Malkin [also being booed] - 0
  • Daniel Sedin - 0 [Sabou lost his stick while poke checking Sedin on this shot. Luongo whined to the ref about it. He was trying to say it was a deliberate toss. As usual, it did no good to bother the ref. The shootout showdown continued.]
  • Kris Letang - 1
The team mobbed and congratulated (and I bet they also thanked) Letang, who came through in a HUGE way yet again.

Letang wins the game - AGAIN!

WOW. What a HUGE win! This is the first time in franchise history that they've swept all 3 games in western Canada. The Pens don't play again until Tuesday when they face the Philadelphia Flyers.


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