Friday, December 21, 2007

Pens v Islanders (L 2-4)

When Miroslav Satan scored a goal 44 seconds into the first period earning his 665th career point, it kind of felt like it was going to be one of those games. Then for a little while, it seemed like the Pens were going to be able to shake it off and get another 2 points. But a pair of back-to-back Islanders goals squashed those hopes. Here's what went down.

Sid tries to get the puck from Richard Park.

As I said, Satan scored a goal at the opening of the game. The Pens got a chance to get it back when Adam Hall was hauled down by Mike Sillinger, but the Pens just couldn't score on Rick DiPietro during their power play. Dany Sabourin made a nice stick save on Blake Comeau's diving attempt, and then he made a nice glove save on Bill Guerin's one timer. Then the Pens got a chance when Sergei Gonchar rang one off the crossbar. As FSN Pittsburgh returned from a commercial break they showed a clip of Sid talking about getting lots of texts and phone calls from his buddies regarding last night's fight. He said his friends didn't expect to see him throw down like that.

With just over one minute left in the period, Georges Laraque worked against two Islanders players to keep possession of the puck behind the net. He made a wrap around pass to Gary Roberts, who tried to chip it into the net. Roberts kept whacking at the puck, and it popped out to Erik Christensen. He chipped it into the open net to tie the game. The assist on that goal gave Roberts his 900th career point. He received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Mellon Arena. On the very next play and with only a few seconds left on the clock, Jordan Staal flew up the ice on a breakaway, but DiPietro stopped his shot. Staal did, however, draw a penalty on Freddy Meyer. The period ended with the teams tied at one goal each.

Roberts thanks the crowd for acknowledging his achievement.

During the first intermission, FSN showed a bit more of Sidney talking about his first NHL fight. How did he feel he did? "I did all right. I mean, I'm here talking to you guys, so I'm pretty happy about that." Is he looking for a rematch on Sunday when the Bruins come to the Mellon? "If he is, I won't be."

The second period began with Meyer in the box for 1:09. The Pens did not score on the advantage. Just a few minutes after the Meyer penalty expired, Bruno Gervais took a delay of game penalty after he flipped the puck up over the glass. On the ensuing power play, Sid sped down the ice and was knocked down just as he reached the front of the net. DiPietro came out to play the puck that had wandered off Sid's stick, but he collided with an Islanders defenseman. Christmas came early this year for Staal as this left the puck trickling towards him as he was wide open. He made short work of the gift he was given to put the Pens up by a goal. Pens 2, Isles 1.

Sid tries to get around Tim Jackman.

During a later play, Mark Eaton found himself without a stick in his own zone while the Islanders had possession of the puck. Captain Crosby gave his stick to Eaton so he could defend the net. Sid then directed Colby Armstrong to go to Sid's point position in case a scoring chance would develop. It didn't matter because the Pens finally got an opportunity to make a line change. The Pens then allowed the Islanders to develop a 3-on-2. Andy Hilbert took the shot. The puck hit Sabou on his right side, but he just couldn't fully block it. The puck trickled over the goal line. Pens 2, Islanders 2. On Sid's next shift, he gave the puck away to Mike Comrie. He went 1-on-1 with Eaton, who poke checked Comrie beautifully. Jarrko Ruutu had a great scoring chance when he took a pass from the redline. He beat the Isles' defensemen to the net and attempted to score a wrap around goal, but one of the Islanders' defenseman was able to get a stick on the puck. It popped up and went towards the net, but SOMEHOW DiPietro was able to drop his stick and catch the puck. He ended up falling on his back as he did it, but he prevented a score so I'm sure he would say it was worth it.

The Pens got another chance to regain the lead when Sean Bergenheim threw his elbow into Roberts's face. FSN went to commercial, and when it came back we learned that Bergenheim was given a four minute penalty: the expected 2 for roughing and another 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct. The best chance the Pens got came when Sid faked a shot, passed the puck to Letang, who fired a quick, hard shot on goal. Hilbert did his best defenseman impression as he was the one to block this shot. The Pens did not capitalize on the 4 minute power play. The period ended with both teams at 2 goals each.

Hilbert celebrates Comeau's goal.

The third period began innocently enough. The Saint set Geno up, but Geno was on his stomach and unable to get a strong shot on the puck. Tyler Kennedy took a 4 minute penalty for high-sticking Chris Campoli in the face and cutting him. During the Isles' power play, Staal attempted to clear the puck and in doing so nearly took out Bob Errey, who was doing his commentating from between the benches tonight. Errey cracked a joke about it: "[Staal] hasn't been able to find the net, he's not going to hit me!" BURN!!! Anyhoo, the Pens killed off this penalty to keep the Islanders tied - for the time being. A few minutes later, Comeau scored after both Malkin and Sabou took their eyes off him for just a split second. Pens 2, Islanders 3. Then, a mere 37 seconds later, Trent Hunter scored off a fortuitous bounce. Pens 2, Islanders 4. The Pens got a chance to get back into the game when Guerin took a penalty for hooking Sir Sidney, but the Pens didn't score on their power play. The Pens pulled Sabou out of the net with less than minute to go in the period, but they stupidly took a penalty for having too many men on the ice. The period ended and the Islanders were victorious.

The Pens face the Bruins this Sunday at 3:00pm Eastern. GO PENS!


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