Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Round 1 Game 4: Pens v Sens (W 3-1)
We've Got A Sweeping Series Win


Bryan Murray (earlier today): "They world is against us. Maybe we'll just go play." Hmmmph! And they call Sid a crybaby?!

This guy is AWESOME!!!

We started the game out with a cheap laugh: FSN Reporter Rob King was updating us on the other Eastern Conference series when he "accidentally" referred to Danny Briere as "Danielle Briere." (Immature, I know, but we had a good chuckle over it!)

Also today: There's a new Penguin in town! He's also named Sidney, though this one is not quite as tall as our title man - because he's a real penguin! The National Aviary on the North Side has a new addition. Meet Sidney the Penguin:

Sidney the African Penguin - isn't he a CUTIE?

Thanks go out to Chantelle C. for the KDKA link and to Michelle B. for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette link! :)

Scary Gary Roberts sat the night out again. I imagine that the 3-0 series lead offered Coach Michel Therrien the leisure of allowing the Senator killer to take another day to get back to 100%. Early in the period, the crowd began a chant of "ALFIE! ALFIE! ALFIE!" and the boo-birds were booing Sid again (big surprise). The Senators brought an amazing intensity and desperation to the first five minutes of the game, but the Pens quickly adapted and amped up their own efforts. The last 15 minutes of the period belonged to the Penguins, without a doubt. Allow me to play devil's advocate here for a second: Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson is clearly still not well. I actually almost feel bad for the guy, because if you stop and think about it, he likely wouldn't even be playing at all right now if his teammates were bothering to make any concerted effort to win.

Anyhoo, Andrej Meszaros took the first penalty of the night after he interfered with Big Georges Laraque during a stunning shift by the Pens' 4th line. The Pens didn't capitalize on their advantage. Rob Scuderi's quick thinking saved the Pens from taking a too-many-men penalty by jumping back onto the bench after Sergei Gonchar was unable to leave the ice. Mad Max Talbot took a huge hit from Christoph Schubert. Sid displayed his defensive skills as he made a diving hand pass from the middle of the far wall to the blue line to clear the puck out of his own zone. Then he had to practically dive onto the bench to avoid taking a too-many-men penalty.

Mad Max took an amazing spinning backhand shot that was blocked by Martin Gerber. (← Remember this - I think Max must have inspired his teammates...) We got a lucky break when Chris Neil missed a w-i-d-e open net. Sid later carried the puck and was able to protect it from four Senators, but his great shift didn't lead to a goal. A scrum developed in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. Gerber made a series of great saves and Petr Sykora hit the post on an AMAZING shift by the Steel City Line. Unfortunately, there was no goal from this shift, either.

Another scrum developed after Martin Lapointe put a late hit on Kris Letang. After the dust settled, Schubert and Adam Hall found themselves in the box, each one penalized for roughing. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4. Evgeni Malkin then made a stunning play. When Gerber poke checked him and the puck popped up, Geno calmly gloved the puck down and back onto the blade of his stick to keep the offensive play going. As Sid somehow lost his helmet, the period ended.

Paul Steigerwald relayed an anecdote about the nature of Geno and Syko's friendship. Evidently, Syko has a pair of old dress shoes that Geno doesn't like. Whenever Geno gets the chance, he puts said shoes in the garbage. (LOL!) Syko has had to retrieve them several times now.

At the start of the second period, we were told that in 9 shifts totalling 7 minutes 11 seconds of ice time, Marian Hossa fired 7 shots on goal. Bob Errey (who's usually spot on) told us that he thinks that may be a new playoff record for shots on goal in a single period by a player. Gonch was about 30 seconds late coming to the bench. (Equipment issue?) A few minutes in, Dany Heatley took a penalty for slashing. Though the Sens were down a man, Cody Bass got the puck and went 2-on-1 with Antoine Vermette. Luckily for us, Vermette missed the wide open net. When the Pens regained contol, however, Sid passed the puck to Geno, who blasted a shot on net. Gerber made the initial save, but Geno stayed with the puck and was able to use one hand on his stick to make an unreal backhander into the back of the net!!! [Pens 1, Sens 0]

MAF made the only blunder of this entire series when he came out and went behind the net to play the puck only to have the Senators get possession. But for some reason, the Sens didn't move quick enough and Flower was able to get back in his crease to stop the shot from the blue line. Ryan Malone was called for hooking. Before the Sens' power play could get underway, our veteran d-man Gonch argued with the refs about where the puck was last touched. GONCH FOR THE WIN as the faceoff was moved out to the blue line. The Pens were subsequently able to kill this penalty beautifully. They prevented the Sens from registering even a single shot.

Ryan Whitney took a hard hit from behind from Nick Foligno. Whit was smashed into the boards in front of the players' benches, but fortunately he was not hurt. Foligno was sent to the box for boarding. The Sens had more chances during this Penguins power play than they had in the game to this point. But Flower Power prevailed as he made several great saves, in particular a spectacular save on Mike Commodore. The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

Literally just about a minute after the fans started a taunting chant of "FLEU-ry, FLEU-ry!!!" Cory Stillman tied the game with a garbage goal. [Pens 1, Sens 1] Maybe that chant does work when your team is down... Of course the chant just explodes after that goal.

A scary moment happened when Wade Redden stood up Geno at neutral ice, but the tough-as-nails Russian phenom was okay (THANKFULLY!). Schubert was called for slashing. On the ensuing power play, Sid made an amazing spinning backhand shot that hit the effing crossbar. UGH. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. After it ended, Jason Spezza missed a pass that would have led to a breakaway. Instead, Tyler Kennedy got the puck and made a sweet lead pass to Jarrko Ruutu. Brian Lee was literally on Ruutu's heels. He was able to prevent Ruutu from getting the breakaway, and he was able to take away the opportunity for Ruutu to make a direct shot on goal...

...BUT WAIT! Ruutu did not give up. He stayed with the puck and takes a last ditch spinning backhand shot (see what I mean about Max being inspirational?) and THE PUCK WENT INTO THE BACK OF THE NET!!!! It was UNBELIEVABLE!!! (When there is a YouTube clip available, it will be posted here.) [Pens 2, Sens 1]

The drama didn't end there, of course. Just a few short minutes later, Vermette was driving hard to the net. He was able to get the puck into the back of the net. There is a problem, though, as Vermette clearly kicked that puck into the goal. Actually, on the replay it would be revealed that Vermette himself looks to see if the refs would allow the goal. Errey, who has an uncanny ability to see everything on the ice, was beside himself wondering why no Penguin was challenging the goal. Then it was announced that the play was under review. After the longest 4 minutes of our lives, the ref announced that because of a "distinct kicking motion," THE GOAL WAS DISALLOWED. It was, perhaps, a bit of karmic justice to repay the Pens for enduring the awful no-goal-because-of-a-kicking-motion call on Sidney last year at this time. A little later, insult was added to injury as Vermette missed another wide open net as the second period came to a close.

The third period started with Scuderi taking a penalty for tripping. Right off the faceoff that started the Sens' power play, Jordan Staal was tripped by Foligno, but no call was made. The Sens didn't score on their advantage. Errey then told us that with Sid's assist, he is now tied with a couple other guys (I'm sorry - I didn't have enough time to write their names down in my notes) as the top scorer in the playoffs with 7 points. At this point, there were several turnovers by both teams. It seemed like no one wanted that puck!

FSN then showed an old team photo of the Ottawa 67s. It happened to feature a 16-year-old Gary Roberts! :) A fortuitous bounce went right to Spezza's stick, but MAF made another unreal save to keep his team in the lead. Brooks Orpik's stick broke when the Sens had the puck in the Pens' zone, but MAF made another pretty save. A scrum broke out as the play was stopped. The crowd began another "ALFIE!!! ALFIE!!! ALFIE!!!" chant just as Steigy and Errey say hi to the 2,000 fans watching Game 4 on the big screen TV outside of the Mellon Arena. (OMG, I wish I lived closer to Pittsburgh!!!)

As the five minutes of the third began to tick away, Flower made yet another UNREAL save on Lapointe. Later, Staal stood up in front of Fleury to make a great save, and Bugsy made a desperate diving poke to clear the puck out of the Pens' zone. Gerber came out of the net with 1:18 left in the game. The Pens iced the puck, and with 47.6 seconds left on the clock, Sidney was about to participate in the biggest faceoff of his young life.

As our hearts begin to beat so fast that we're sure they're about to burst, Sidney got the puck and raced toward the empty net. We're all thinking it - "There's NO WAY the Saint is gonna miss that shot!!!" - and he doesn't. He fired the puck into the net from center ice to put the nail into the Senators' collective 2008 playoff coffin. [Pens 3, Sens 1] The Pens had less than 10 seconds before they would be on the victorious end of the final handshake!!! The clock ticked down to the 5th playoff series sweep in franchise history!!!!!!


I'm sure there will be better pictures available tomorrow (including some of the famous handshake!!!). I will gather up some of the best ones for a post that takes a look back at this series and contrast it with pictures from last year's series. I hope to have that post done either tomorrow evening or early Friday.

Also, don't for one second think I'm going to take an extended vacation just because there won't be another game for a while. I've been saving some stuff that some of our Friends have sent in for just such an occasion. ;)

And since the journey's just begun,

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Labels: ,

Creative Commons License
The Sidney Crosby Show
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
(Based on all work at