Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pens v Panthers (L 2-5)

OOOOOHH... This game did not go as well as we had hoped. The first 10 minutes of the game were standard. The Panthers made the first mark on the scoreboard when David Booth was able to go down the far side unnoticed by Brooks Orpik and score on Marc-Andre Fleury. [Pens 0, Panthers 1] Evgeni Malkin was behind Booth, but Geno was so focused on the puck that he didn't give himself enough time to backcheck Booth.

Immediately following the very next faceoff, Georges Laraque and Wade Belak dropped the gloves. They fought for a while and ended up spinning around in quick circles at one point. Their fight was pretty much a draw, but I think Laraque should get the nod because Belak went down first and lost his jersey, too. It only got uglier when immediately following the very next faceoff which Sid lost, Brett McLean fired a shot. MAF blocked the shot but got no help clearing the puck from Ryan Whitney. Rostislav Olesz was there to tip it right past Flower. [Pens 0, Panthers 2]

A few minutes later, the Pens were able to cut the lead in half after Petr Sykora dug the puck out of the corner and sent it out to Hal Gill, who took a shot from the point. Panthers goaltender Craig Anderson blocked the shot but didn't cover it, and Ryan Malone was the man to put it past Anderson, who was working on 150 consecutive shutout minutes.[Pens 1, Panthers 2]

The Pens got a chance to even things up after Steve Montador made a late high hit on Gill and was called for boarding. With just a few seconds left on Montador's penalty, Daryl Sydor was called for holding. Neither team scored on their respective power plays. Olesz took Sid down at one point; Sid popped back up to his feet without missing a beat. Things started getting a little out of control towards the end: Geno was tripped up and no call was made, but Syko evened things up by getting away with interference.

MAF nearly played the puck in the no-play zone but stopped himself in the nick of time. The Panthers were then able to gain possession. After a shot from the blue line, Stephen Weiss got the puck and easily put it past MAF, who was still way over in the corner from the initial shot. [Pens 1, Panthers 3] In the last seconds of the period, Anderson tripped over Mad Max Talbot's skate. He obviously wanted Max to get penalized for it, but there was no call. The period ended with the Panthers firing 19 shots to the Pens' 9 shots. Ouch.

The second period saw the replacement of MAF with Ty Conklin. A few minutes in, McLean was somehow able to beat four Penguins and score as he was falling down. [Pens 1, Panthers 4] Nathan Horton took a penalty for hooking. On the ensuing power play, Whit rang a shot off the outside of the goalpost. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Seconds after the Horton left the box, though, Kris Letang blasted a long hard shot from the blue line that went right through Anderson's five hole. [Pens 2, Panthers 4] The Pens were given another chance to stage a comeback when Magnus Johansson was called for hooking. The Pens were barely able to even keep the puck in their offensive zone during their power play, so of course they didn't score.

Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey then felt the need to inform us that Geno got a haircut and wore a "neat" seersucker jacket today. (?) Sid had a 1-on-0 chance following a nice feed from Geno, but Anderson anticipated the play nicely and poke checked him, forcing him to shoot the puck wide. Letang later hit the goalpost on a shot. Sid tried to make a play from his stomach, but nothing came of it. Pascal Dupuis made a nice pass to Max, but Anderson came up big with the save. Booth and Horton got ahead of the Pens' defense. Gill got a hand on Booth to break up the play. It looked like a penalty, but it was not called. The period ended with the Panthers holding a 2 goal lead.

The third period began with Sid working the corner and protecting the puck like a champ. He tried to set Geno up, but a Panthers d-man was all over him like a cheap suit. Montador was assessed another penalty, this time for slashing. There were several chances for the Pens on their power play, including a sweet shot by Whit that was blocked, but they were unable to score. Olli Jokinen lost his stick in front of Conklin. We're told that a Pen kicked the stick out of Jokinen's reach, but I didn't see it happen. (There was no replay.) Jokinen started barking at the ref following the whistle.

Every time Booth touched the puck, the fans yelled, "BOOOOOOOOOOOOTH!" He got the puck and went on a breakaway. Conks blocked the shot, but Booth was tripped up by Letang and sent flying into the boards. FSN made the unfortunate decision to show a closeup shot of Letang just as he told either the ref or Booth (I'm not sure) to "F_ck off." Nice! :P (At times, it's my favorite word, too - haha - I just think it's hilarious that FSN keeps getting shots of these guys as they're dropping F-bombs!) By getting aggressive offensively during the Panthers' power play, the Pens were able to draw a holding penalty on Johannson. Despite several chances and absolute chaos in front of Anderson, neither team scored on their respective power plays. Then with 57 seconds left in the game, Conks was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. At the 51 second mark, Bryan Allen fired a long range shot that bounced out of Letang's reach and into the empty net. [Pens 2, Panthers 5] (Conks returned for the final seconds of the game.)

The Pens will have tomorrow off so they can relax a bit and shake off this loss. Until then, I wanted to pass this on to you: Neil from The Sports Poster Warehouse has put together a package of three Sid posters for a 30% discounted price for you guys. The Sports Poster Warehouse is the world's largest specialty retailer of new, rare, and vintage sports posters. Domestic U.S. shipping is just $4.95. They ship out of Toronto, so Canadian customers get quickest service. Click here for the Sid poster package or if you want to check out the other players, click here to browse the Penguins posters. (There's a sweet panoramic poster of the Winter Classic, too!) But you should know that the special discount expires on Wednesday, March 12th!

Also - leave a comment let us know how you made out with the MyP2P!!!


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