Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pens v Sharks (L 1-2 SO)

At least the Pens got a point out of the deal, right? No, it's not deja vu! Now I know there are some people that think that being happy with the one point isn't good enough, but listen: with the point earned yesterday and the point earned today, it's as if they only lost one of the games instead of both. But then, those of you who've been Friends of The Show for a while know that I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. :)

It was another well-played scoreless game by Staal.

One of the Penguins' Zambonis spewed blood red hydraulic fluid all over center ice just minutes before the scheduled start of the game. It took about a half hour to clean the mess up and fix the ice. (Incidentally, Bob Errey quipped that the game would probably end in a shootout because they were now short a Zamboni.) In the meantime, FSN Pittsburgh showed some filler. One of these clips was a shot of a Lemieux goal scored recently. No, it wasn't Mario that scored the spectacular goal - it was his daughter, Stephanie. She was trying to split the D but instead was hauled down for her efforts. As she went down, she fired a shot while on her stomach. WHAT A GOAL! She is definitely her father's daughter. Just before the start of the game, Georges Laraque was honored by The Boys and Girls Club of America for all of his work with the group. It was funny - he literally dwarfed the two staffers that presented him with the award.

Conks plays the puck.

This game was played very defensively by both teams. They held each other scoreless for 43:10. In the first period, Jarrko Ruutu was called for interference. As the play is whistled down to begin his penalty, he went after Alexei Semenov. MISTAKE. He was given a 10 minute misconduct for doing so. Tyler Kennedy served the interference penalty for Ruutu. On the Sharks' power play, Jordan Staal took a shot on Evgeni Nabokov. I'm not sure if Nabokov wasn't paying attention or what, but he nearly put the puck in his own goal as he lazily put his stick down. The Sharks then brought the puck back to the Pens' zone. Ty Conklin made a spectacular diving save on Patrick Marleau. Conks dove head first from left to right to block the puck with his mask. The Sharks did not score on their advantage.

Geno tries to do it all.

Errey and Paul Steigerwald finally mentioned Sidney today, but I'm afraid it isn't good news. While they were talking about how good the team is doing, they waxed poetic about what it will be like when Sid comes back. We then were told that it may be a few more weeks until Sid can come back. No other details were given, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that something must have happened to set Sid's recovery back. The fact that Sid's name has not even been mentioned in the last few games + the lack of video clips of Sid at practice + tone the men used when talking about Sid today = not a good sign... A few minutes later, I lost power. It was out for about five minutes. During my blackout, Brooks Orpik took a roughing penalty, but it was obvious that the Sharks didn't capitalize on their advantage because the score remained tied at zip. (I lost power once more during the game, but the second time was just a few seconds so I didn't miss anything.)

Ryan Whitney didn't exactly have a great game tonight. He took the first of two back to back hooking penalties, but fortunately the Sharks did not score on their power play. Then Colby Armstrong and Staal had a 2-on-1 chance, but - like we've been saying a lot recently - Staal just can't buy a goal right now. He took a great shot on goal, but Nabokov made a better save. During the last minute of the period, Erik Christensen, Mad Max Talbot, and Kennedy had a fantastic shift, but even so, the period ended scoreless.

Ouch!!! Geno's gonna feel that tomorrow!

The second period had more good hockey by both teams. It also had more great goaltending by Conks and Nabokov. The first noteworthy thing to happen occurred about 5 minutes into the period: Kennedy drew a holding penalty on Christian Ehrhoff. But it was all for naught; the Pens didn't score on their power play. The Pens' best chance so far came from a shot by Whit that Jeff Taffe attempted to tip into the goal, but Nabokov got his toe out to make the save. Then Whit took his second hooking penalty. The Sharks didn't score on their power play. Evgeni Malkin then showed us yet again why he is such a big deal in hockey right now. Chris Minard got the puck but fumbled with it at center ice. Geno swooped in seemingly from out of nowhere (as he often does) to take control and head towards Nabokov. He moved the puck from side to side but couldn't split the D, so he dove out and fired a shot from his stomach. It looked a lot like the play by Stephanie Lemieux that we were shown earlier, but Geno's shot did not get by Nabokov. Still, even as he was down and sliding towards the boards, he tried to center his own rebound, but he didn't have a man trailing behind him to take a shot on it. WOW.

Nabokov blocks yet another shot.

Matt Carle was later called for interference. On the ensuing power play, Petr Sykora fired his trademark rocket shot and hit the freakin' post. The Sharks then try for a shorthanded goal, but neither team scored on the Pens' power play. Conks came through and made another big save on Milan Michalek to keep the game scoreless at the end of two periods.

Conks makes a stunning save.

The third period began with both Geno and Crusher breaking their sticks. Only 3:10 into the period, Jonathan Cheechoo got the puck around Whit and sent it flying past Conks. [Pens 0, Sharks 1] Geno and Syko worked to get the goal back but were unable to do so. About five minutes later, however, Jody Shelley went to the box for hooking. The Pens made short work of the power play when Sergei Gonchar sent a pass to Crusher in the corner. Crusher fired a one-timer from the sharp angle that whizzed right by Nabokov. [Pens 1, Sharks 1] Both teams were playing well before this, but both teams turned their desperation levels up a notch after the Pens' tying goal.

Cheechoo scores.

FSN showed a shot of Marc-Andre Fleury watching the game. He looks good, and we're told he's done exceptionally well in Wilkes-Barre with the Baby Pens. So well that the Pens have finally recalled him! :) Then Kennedy stole the puck and sent it up to Crusher, who deked nicely but couldn't get a chance to take a shot. With about 3 minutes left in the game, Cheechoo took a holding penalty. One of the Sharks' defensemen broke his stick just after the Pens' power play got under way, but Nabokov froze the puck quickly to prevent the Pens from capitalizing on the 5-on-3½. With 44 seconds left in the penalty to Cheechoo, Geno took a dumb penalty for tripping after he mishandled the puck. Neither team scored during the 44 seconds of 4-on-4, and the Sharks didn't score on their power play. The game ended with a 1-1 draw.

I won't even discuss the five minute overtime period except to tell you that the Pens did not even manage to get one shot on goal. That's awful. Fortunately, Conks kept the Sharks from ending the game the way the Sens did yesterday. Instead, we've got a shootout. The Pens elected to go first. Here are the results:
  • Crusher → SCORE!
  • Joe Pavelski → Score. Conks seemed really upset with himself after that shot. It probably rattled him through the remainder of the shootout...
  • Letang → No score?! Unreal. (He had Nabokov down but inexplicably shot the puck low. Nabokov easily blocked the shot.)
  • Cheechoo → Score.
  • Ruutu → SCORE! This guy is a BEAST in shootouts! He was able to lift the puck on a one-handed shot! It was spectacular. (see below)

  • What a freakin' move!!!

  • Jeremy Roenick → Score. (see below)

Roenick wins the game.

Conks was so upset that he made a beeline for the locker room. The Pens have tomorrow off to rest up for the trip to New York to face the Islanders. GO PENS!!!!!!!


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