Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pens v Bruins (L 1-5)

WOW. This was the ugliest game we've seen from the Pens in a long time. To make matters worse, new Penguins Marian Hossa was injured in the second period. (FYI: I had unexpected company tonight, so I apologize if the recap of the first period seems a bit weak. If this was a weekend game, I would simply re-watch it by myself so I could do a decent recap, but I've got to go to work in the morning, so I can't do that tonight.)

New Penguin Marian Hossa

The first period started out and it seemed like the Pens would be the dominate team, but things just seemed to fall apart as the game wore on. Ty Conklin, who was "seeing beach balls" two days ago, was really off his game tonight. However, I hesitate to criticize him because we all have off nights, and tonight just happened to be that night for Conks. Things started going down hill fast after the Bruins scored their first goal more than halfway through the period courtesy of Marco Sturm. [Pens 0, Bruins 1] Then, about 2½ minutes later, Sturm put another marker on the board for the Bruins. [Pens 0, Bruins 2] The first period penalties went to Georges Laraque for a very, VERY slight hooking, and later Marc Savard for slashing. Neither team scored on their respective power plays.

I finally started taking notes during the second period. :P Just 2:21 into the period, the NHL's giant (aka Zdeno Chara) blasted one past Conks. [Pens 0, Bruins 3] Coach Michel Therrien had no choice - it was time to pull Conks. And guess who came in for relief...


MARC-ANDRE FLEURY returned for the first time since December 6, 2007! I know it probably wasn't the way he (or Coach Therrien) had planned, but we were stoked to see The Flower back between the pipes! He looked solid but timid (if that makes sense). Chara was given a penalty for hooking. It was a delayed call, and MAF was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Eventually, the Bruins touched up and drew the whistle. On the ensuing Penguins' power play, Evgeni Malkin made a desperate diving play to keep the puck in the Bruins' zone, but despite his efforts, the Pens did not score on the power play. As Chara was released from the box, he and another Bruin went 2-on-1 towards MAF. Ryan Whitney raced in to even things up, but the referees were calling hooking penalties if the players looked at each other cross-eyed. On the replay, it was the wimpiest hook I've ever seen (Whit dropped several F-bombs in protest), but it was a penalty nonetheless. The Bruins didn't score on their advantage.

New Penguin Pascal Dupuis

A short time after Whit was back on the ice, Kris Letang smashed Savard in the corner behind MAF while trying to get an icing call. Savard touched the puck first, so play continued. Dennis Wideman was behind Savard and took control of the puck. He didn't hang onto it long, though: he passed the puck to P.J. Axelsson (right past Hal Gill, who had sprawled out on the ice in a failed attempt to block the pass). Axelsson was all alone right in front of MAF. Naturally, he scored. [Pens 0, Bruins 4] MAF slammed his stick on the ice in frustration (rightfully so).

Axelsson scores on Fleury.

Things started to get a little nasty between the teams. Daryl Sydor started looking for a fight, but no one took him up on it. Then I realized something: Where the hell is Hossa?! A few minutes later close to the end of the second period, Bob Errey asked pretty much the same question. Paul Steigerwald mentioned that when he spoke to Hossa yesterday, he had a pretty bad cold. We accepted that explanation, but there was still an ominous feeling as the clock ticked down to :00.

The third period began with news that Hossa had a slight Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain after colliding with ex-Pen Glen Murray. He will likely be out at least 1 week, possibly 2 weeks. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Well, I suppose we should look on the bright side: he and Sid will be returning at about the same time, so perhaps they can do some rehabilitation together and develop a rapport. (My optimism is getting harder and harder to keep up...) About five minutes into the third, Geno took a penalty for hooking. The Bruins didn't score on their advantage. Later, Mad Max Talbot hit Wideman from behind. He was immediately given a penalty, but you know Max! He does whatever he can to help his team out - this time it meant taking a punch to the face from Chara, the big tree. The second tallest man on the ice (if you're thinking Laraque, you're wrong - it's Gill!) quickly came to the aid of his new teammate. After the mess, what originally would have been an advantage for Boston turned into a power play for the Pens as Max was given a penalty for boarding, and both Wideman and Chara were given penalties for roughing. On the ensuing power play, Glen Metropolit had an excellent shorthanded chance, but his shot ricocheted off Sergei Gonchar's shin guard.

New Penguin Hal Gill

FINALLY, the Pens were able to put the kibosh on Tim Thomas's shutout. After cycling the puck, Tyler Kennedy passed the puck to Jeff Taffe. He then quickly passed the puck to new Penguin Pascal Dupuis, who promptly scored. [Pens 1, Bruins 4]

Thomas watches his shutout disappear as Dupuis's goal hits the back of the net.

Dupuis and Kennedy celebrate the Pens' lone goal.

The Pens tried to get another goal quick, but Boston's tight defensive style shut them down. The best chance the Pens got was when Geno was on Thomas's doorstep, poking away at the puck. Thomas was able to keep the puck out of the net and administer a quick shot to Geno's head with his blocker hand. Geno understandably reacted to the punch, and every Bruin on the ice piled on top of him. FSN then went to commercial, and when they came back, WARD and Ryan Malone were in there respective sin bins, both for roughing. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4.

Just over 2 minutes before the end of the game, Jarrko Ruutu and Milan Lucic got into a really long fight. It lasted 1:45! Since Ruutu held Lucic at bay which prevented Lucic from being able to connect with Ruutu's face, Lucic took a number of body shots on Ruutu. Lucic clearly got more punches on Ruutu, but Ruutu got more face shots on Lucic.

Ruutu v Lucic

Ruutu v Lucic

Ruutu v Lucic

There wasn't a clear cut winner, but Lucic, who earlier practically ran away from a near-fight with Laraque, left the ice with his arms raised and pumping like he was Rocky Balboa or something. (What an idiot. I can see doing that if you just kicked someone's arse, but for a draw? Stupid.)

What are you celebrating? The fact that you were in a draw? Ooooh. Good one.

When play resumed, there were less than 2 minutes left in the game. Geno's sense of urgency got the best of him as he tripped up a Bruin on a rush. Just after the Bruins' power play started, David Krejci was able to get one last goal on the board. [Pens 1, Bruins 5] Mercifully, the game finally ended.

So, what do you say we shake this one off and pretend it didn't happen? Saturday, we face the ailing Senators, who are now being coached by Cryin' Bryan Murray again. The game starts at 3:00pm Eastern. GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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