Monday, January 21, 2008

Pens v Caps (L 5-6 SO)

We'll have to wait until tomorrow for more word on Sid's ankle. Christine Simpson of the Versus network reported that Sid will be seeing Dr. Chip Burke tomorrow. Dr. Burke will be giving Sid an MRI. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Tonight the Pens faced the Caps at the Mellon Arena. There's no love lost between these two teams, and after Alex Ovechkin fired a shot early on, he and Darryl Sydor had a few words (and a few shoves). The Pens' first good chance came from their top line of Petr Sykora, Evgeni Malkin, and Ryan Malone, but Malone shot the puck just wide of the goal. Four and a half minutes into the first period, after Jordan Staal, Erik Christensen, and Mad Max Talbot cycled the puck for quite a while, Talbot came out of the corner with a wrister to give the Pens the lead. [Pens 1, Caps 0] Versus kept showing closeups of Ovechkin. He is now missing one of his front teeth (when did that happen?!). Geno took a shot that was stopped by Olie Kolzig, but the Pens got a power play when Alexander Semin was called for hooking. Kolzig made some saves that kept the Pens from scoring on the advantage. About this time, Versus cut to a shot of a nattily dressed Sidney Crosby taking in the game from his landlord/boss Mario Lemieux's luxury box. (I would sell my SOUL right now for the tickets to the luxury suite that is owned by the company my husband works for...)

The Pens are cheered on by their injured captain.

Kolzig attempted to clear the puck, but he hit new Penguin (called up recently from the Wilkes Barre Scranton Baby Pens) Chris Minard in the chest. Minard was able to keep the puck in play, but it didn't lead to a goal. Later, Tomas Fleischmann found himself alone in front of Dany Sabourin. He went to Sabou's five hole for the tie. [Pens 1, Caps 1] Later, Kolzig jumped halfway out between the crease and the blue line to smother the puck and prevent the Pens from scoring. Nicklas Backstrom was then called for hooking Talbot, but the Pens didn't score on the power play. With 3:56 left in the period, Ovie powered a shot that hit Sabou in the belly and popped back out right to Koslov, who buried it. [Pens 1, Caps 2] Less than a minute later, after Malkin and Malone struggle to get the puck out from the boards, Malkin sent one home with a backhander to tie it up again. [Pens 2, Caps 2] Christensen took a page out of the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin book of puck handling as he danced around the Caps' defensemen, but Kolzig made the save. Then the most hilarious thing happened: Geno was playing like a man on fire (again), and Ovie lined him up for a devastating hit. Now anyone who's watched the Pens for more than 2 games knows that Geno has a sort of hyper-awareness of his surroundings. He made a spinning move to keep control of the puck while simulateously dodging the brunt of the hit by Ovechkin. Ovie went flying full force into the boards. Play continued until Ovie and Geno began to get physical with one another. They had to be separated by the refs. With just seconds left in the period, Tom Poti and Jarrko Ruutu have to be separated, too. The first period ended with the teams tied at 2 goals each.

The second period started with Ruutu in the box. He was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for apparently yelling at the refs following his scuffle with Poti. Ovechkin makes him pay by popping the puck up and over Sabou's shoulder. [Pens 2, Caps 3] Then Brooks Laich was called for holding Christensen's stick. A mere 16 seconds into the power play, Geno went top shelf to tie the game. [Pens 3, Caps 3] Later, Semin was called for high sticking Kris Letang in the face. Less than 30 seconds into this power play, Ryan Whitney passed the puck diagonally from the blue line to Sykora, who shuffled it in the open net. [Pens 4, Caps 3] At this point, the crowd at the Mellon began a "KOLzig, KOLzig!!!" chant. After coming back from commercial at about the 12:30 mark, there was this weird yodeling going on in the background. I have no idea what this noise was. (If you were there and you know what it was, tell us about it in the comments section.) Ovechkin then sent a pass from Backstrom into the back of the net to tie the game. [Pens 4, Caps 4] After this fourth goal in 13 shots, Sabou is pulled and replaced by Ty Conklin. Then Christensen burst past everybody, but Kolzig made a good pad save. Bodies were flying everywhere. This was a high scoring, hard hitting game.

Conklin comes in for Sabou.

Rob Scuderi was called for hooking. The Caps gave good effort but did not score on the advantage. The game took a break when the glass behind Conks broke. Then Whitney was called for hooking. A shot was taken on Conks, which he blocked. The rebound went to the Penguins. Malone ended up taking it full speed ahead for what should have been a shorthanded chance, but Mike Green interfered with the play. He was given a penalty for his infraction. Geno made a sweet move to get around three defenders. He passed the puck to Talbot, who was poke checked. With 33 seconds left in the period, Conks made a HUGE pad save on Semin to keep the game tied. Just as the period was ending, Donald Brashear went to make a hit on Staal. Staal saw him coming, however, and stood his ground. It must have shifted Brashear's momentum because Staal remained standing as Brashear went down in a heap. It was FANTASTIC!!!

Geno was a scoring machine... (2G, 1A for the night)

Both teams played a little tighter in the third period. Malkin had a breakaway chance, but Kolzig stopped and froze the puck. Then Ovechkin had a chance, but Conks stopped and froze the puck. Then, just as a Capital (I didn't see who) scored a goal, the ref washed it out because just a fraction of a second prior, he had called another player for a Capital penalty. Twenty seconds into the Pens' power play, Sergei Gonchar blasted a shot from the blue line that went up and over Kolzig's shoulder. Kolzig cried foul, however, saying the puck was put in with a high stick. The refs called the War Room in Toronto. They spent about 5 minutes before we got word that the goal stood and was actually scored on a deflection by Malone. [Pens 5, Caps 4] The crowd began taunting Kolzig again. The Penguins were given a delayed penalty (Geno for tripping Ovie). Both Conks and Malone dove to make a save. The Caps didn't score on their power play. Semin then slewfooted one of the refs as Conks was being called for delay of game. New Penguin (also up from the WBS Baby Pens) Jonathan Filewich served the penalty for his goalie. The Caps didn't capitalize on this advantage, either. Then Staal was called for holding the stick. With less than five minutes left in the period (and only about 30 seconds left in the power play), Koslov banked the puck off the goal post to tie the game. [Pens 5, Caps 5] The third period ended and went into overtime.

...but so was Ovechkin. (2G, 1A + the game winning goal in the shootout)

Sykora fired a shot early in the OT, but it went just wide. Poti was given a penalty for slashing Staal. During the 4-on-3 OT power play, the Caps took another penalty when John Erskine took a stupid penalty for hooking Geno. When this happens, it automatically goes to 5-on-3. Pittsburgh called a timeout, but it didn't help. Somehow, the Caps found a way to keep the Pens from capitalizing on the 2 man advantage, despite some wicked shots from both Malkin and Gonchar. It went to a shootout:

Christensen -0
Koslov - 0
Letang - 0
Ovechkin - 1
Ruutu (yes, Jarrko Ruutu) - 1
Semin (with the game on his stick) - 1

Though they ultimately lost the game, the Penguins did earn a point, and they proved once again that they are indeed still a threat despite the loss of their MVP-Art Ross-Pearson winning captain. The Penguins next meet the Philadelphia Flyers (a team they have yet to beat this season) on Thursday at 7:00pm Eastern. Check back here for more updates on Sid's ankle. GO PENS!!!!!!


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