Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pens v Flyers (W 7-1)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! [*takes deep breath*] HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Man, I thought the 7-3 Sabres win was a murder! This was an absolute SLAUGHTER!!! The Flyers didn't seem to know the puck from a hole in the ground. Just before the start of the game, there was a solid "Let's Go Pens!!!" chant coming from the crowd. (That chant would change later in the game...) Marc-Andre Fleury was the starting goaltender. Mad Max Talbot and Marian Hossa returned to the lineup, and Petr Sykora's back must have been feeling pretty good today - FOUR POINT GAME good! ;)

Now if only Sid, Mark Eaton, Rob Scuderi, Adam Hall, and Gary Roberts would come back, too...

I want to start with a quick complaint - NBC's cameras SUCK. They're up too high, and the video quality is awful. I even have a high def TV, but it still looked terrible! Early in the first period, the Pens were called for having too many men on the ice. Syko served the penalty, and the Flyers didn't score on the advantage. As Syko came out of the box, he got the puck then passed it to Ryan Whitney. Whit centered a pass, but no one was there to do anything with it. Max was going for a breakaway, but the pass was deemed offsides by the refs. Just a bit later, Evgeni Malkin got things rolling. He and Syko had a give and go that resulted in Geno scoring on a backhander while Ryan Malone provided a screen in front of Martin Biron. [Pens 1, Flyers 0] It was Geno's 40th goal of the season!

Geno gives the Pens the early start.

On the very next play, Whit was penalized for roughing. The Flyers didn't score on their power play. A little later, Pascal Dupuis sent a beautiful pass diagonally through the blue paint to Syko, who went back door on Biron. [Pens 2, Flyers 0]

Syko bangs it home.

After that, superjerk Riley Cote put a big hit on Syko (remember that Syko's back has been bothering him lately). Malone didn't take too kindly to it and raced in to let his fists say the words his mouth just couldn't. Both Cote and Malone were given 5 minute major penalties for fighting.

Geno and Syko each scored 2 goals and 2 assists today.

Flower even got in on the physicality of the game when he lost his stick in one of the Flyers' legs... good thing he wasn't called for tripping, tee hee! The Flyers got away with one of their own infractions just a little later, though, when Scott Hartnell put a hit from behind on Max and nothing was called.

MAF stood tall today. He's also learning how to play the puck from Ty Conklin.

Then came a moment that took a good 10 years off my life: Mike Richards was going hard after Geno behind the net. Richards took a sort of diving plunge at Geno, who dodged slightly to avoid him. Richards ended up going down head-first behind Geno. As he went down, he brought his leg up (the way you do when you're trying to keep your balance and avoid falling). As a result, his skate came within an inch of Geno's lower jaw area. Geno looked stunned for a second as his head twisted over and upward. He stared at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity (it was probably about 2 seconds). Then he got up, and the hearts of Pens fans everywhere resumed beating. Considering the recent Richard Zednik incident, Geno was EXTREMELY fortunate.

THANK GOD he wasn't hurt.

Syko was later assessed a minor for high sticking in the last minute of the period. As the period came to an end, two Pens hit into Danny Briere at the front of the net. It looked like Briere ended up taking a bite out of the goal post! OUCH!!

Briere is shown just before his face hit the post.

The second period began with Syko still in the box for 1:17. The Flyers did not score on their advantage. Geno then got away with a little interference - at least according to the commentators. I didn't see it so I can't verify or deny it. Brooks Orpik upended R.J. Umberger. It didn't look like a particularly devastating hit to me, but Umberger was slow to get up and, as he reached the bench, he had to be dragged off the ice by his teammates.

Big Hal Gill fired a shot from the point. Max tried to deflect it in but Tyler Kennedy ended up getting control of the puck and scoring on a backhander. [Pens 3, Flyers 0] Biron was pulled off the ice and Antero Niittymaki came out.

This kid is amazing!

Immediately, Niittymaki had to scramble to stop a shot that Geno took while he was falling down. A Flyer tripped Kennedy, but no call was made. Then all hell broke loose when Patrick Thoresen put a late hit on Kris Letang three days after the whistle was blown. It was a really weak hit, but it was unbelievably disrespectful. Gill swooped in to defend his much smaller defensive partner, and a scrum developed between the two teams. Thoresen was given a penalty for roughing. During the ensuing Pens power play, the refs missed making an icing call that ended up favoring the Pens, but it didn't matter. The Pens didn't score on the advantage.

A little later, Thoresen the Thorn in Our Sides fired a shot at Flower that Mike Knuble was able to deflect into the net to score the only Flyers goal of the night. [Pens 3, Flyers 1] The Pens got it back less than two minutes later, though. Letang made an outlet pass to Malone. He either lost the puck or made a drop pass to Syko (I couldn't tell if it was on purpose or not). Syko fired a shot that Geno easily tipped in from the front of the net. [Pens 4, Flyers 1] An assist should have gone to Braydon Coburn because he flew into Niittymaki, knocking him down and taking him out of the play.

Geno is just about to tip the puck in past Niittymaki (notice Coburn lying face down in the net).

Thirty-one seconds later, Hossa buried one after getting a beautiful pass from Sergei Gonchar. [Pens 5, Flyers 1] It was Hossa's first goal (and first point) as a Penguin.

Hossa played his first full game as a Penguin today.

Jarrko Ruutu plastered Cote into the boards in front of the Penguins' bench. And with about four minutes left in the period, the crowd began chanting, "Go home, Flyers!!!" Nice. :) Coburn then took a penalty for interference, but the Pens didn't score on their power play. The second period ended with the Pens enjoying a solid four goal lead.

At the start of the third, Pierre McGwire had a quick interview with the Saint! He basically reiterated that if this was the playoffs, he would indeed be playing today. He said, "It'll take a lot of pain for me to miss the playoffs."

Dupuis deserves credit for setting up some nice plays. He had three assists today!

Thoresen was penalized for tripping Jeff Taffe. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Coburn then pushed Geno after a whistle prompting another scrum. MAF was making some really nice saves to keep the Flyers stuck with a single goal. Gill made a really nice sprawling block to help the Flower out, too. Malone got the puck and passed it to Geno. Geno sent it up to Syko, who fanned on his first shot but not on his second! [Pens 6, Flyers 1]

Syko's never had a hat trick. Unfortunately, he didn't get one today, either.

Richards freight trained Connor James, so his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton teammate Chris Minard quickly came in to take Richards to task for it. Both Richards and Minard were given 10 minute misconduct penalties, and Richards was given an additional 2 minute minor for charging. The Pens did not score on their power play, but soon after, Gill blasted a shot from the point past Niittymaki. [Pens 7, Flyers 1]

Gill's a solid player. He blocked a shot and scored a goal today.

Hartnell was given a penalty for roughing in the last minutes of the game, but the Pens didn't add any more goals to their total. The game ended and the Flyers left the Mellon Arena humiliated!

The Pens have St. Patrick's Day (← which is my husband's and my 7th wedding anniversary!) off. They face the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!


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