Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pens v Devils (L 1-2 OT) Home Opener

The Pens are finally back in Pittsburgh!!!

If that opening montage didn't get your heart racing, your skin sweaty, and your lungs breathless, then you must be made of stone. Our Boys came home to face the New Jersey Devils. (How funny was Mad Max's face as he took it all in when the crowd went wild for him?)


Right out of the gate, both teams were at their best. The first period was fast paced - there was only one whistle in the first 5 minutes! Some line changes were made: defender Daryl Sydor was moved to the left wing of the 4th line, and Tyler Kennedy was bumped up to Geno's 2nd line. Our captain put a big hit on a Devil pretty much as soon as he stepped onto the ice. Pascal Dupuis stole the puck and sent it to Mad Max for an unreal scoring chance, but Marty Brodeur kept it out. The Pens looked amazing, and to be absolutely fair, so did the Devils. The Devils had more shots on goal and their defense was looking sharp, but the Pens were just pwning that puck in the Devils' zone. Siddo nearly got a breakaway chance after he flipped the puck up and around Colin White, but White was able to backcheck Sid like a champ and strip him of the puck.

The first fight on home ice this season took place between Mike Rupp and Eric Godard. Rupp got the upper hand early by holding Godard's jersey and basically pinning his arms to his side while taking a few punches to his face. Godard decided to take matters into his own hands and slipped his free arm out of his jersey. He then proceeded to throw a punch so hard that Rupp immediately hit the ice. Advantage: Godard.

Footage of that much talked about Swedish scavenger hunt will be shown on FSN Pittsburgh's Under the Lights: To Sweden and Beyond tomorrow at 10pm Eastern. I (and I know many of the Friends of The Show) will be looking for this to appear on YouTube for all the out-of-towners. The second it is located, it will be posted here.

Geno Malkin = BEAST. Period. He was doing the power moves, the spinning moves, and the puck stealing moves that we all love so much. He started something with Jordan Staal and TK, but Staal didn't shoot the puck and the Devils got possession. Sydor made a great play when he poked the puck around a Devil and fired a shot at Brodeur. For his efforts, he was hit (late) by Bobby Holik. Brian Gionta took a penalty for hooking. It didn't take long for the Pens to capitalize on their advantage. Geno fired a shot that Brodeur was able to block, but he couldn't stop Miroslav Satan from shuffling in the rebound. [Pens 1, Devils 0]

The puck took a series of weird bounces in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. He couldn't freeze it no matter what he tried to do. Jamie Langenbrunner was penalized for slashing Brooks Orpik, but the Pens didn't score on their power play. Then the puck did that same weird bouncing thing in front of Marty Brodeur. Then Dainius Zubrus brought his arms up as he hit the shorter Matt Cooke, who staggered off the ice (and seemed to have a little blood in his mouth?). He was replaced by TK, who immediately wanted to fight Zubrus, but Zubrus wouldn't do it. As the period came to a close, a melee erupted between the teams. Bob Errey stated that he'd like to see someone go after Zubrus in the melee, but no one did. He then said that someone would definitely get him before the night was over. (Spoiler alert! No one did.)


Patrick Elias was given a penalty for roughing for his part in the aforementioned scrum. Siddo and Geno were making unreal passing moves - until Sid let his emotions get the best of him when he put a shoulder into the shoulder of a Devil at the blue line, which resulted in his first penalty of the new season when the ref sent him to the sin bin for interference. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4. On the Devils' power play, new guy Mike Zigomanis went 2-on-1 with Geno. Ziggy passed the puck to Geno, but Elias got a stick on the pass to break up the play. Paul Steigerwald and Errey were critical of Ziggy's decision to pass, but I bet they would have been upset with him had he taken the shot and missed. Alex Goligoski made a beauty of a diving poke check to stop Rupp from getting a shot. David Clarkson took the Saint's skate out ("accidentally on purpose" I'm sure). Sid fell to the ice as Hal Gill took Clarkson to task for messing with his captain. It was kind of a lame fight. Clarkson was too short to do anything but land punches on 6'7" Gill's shoulders, while Gill couldn't get the leverage on Clarkson to even line him up. In the end, Gill ended up simply muscling Clarkson down to the ice. Advantage: neither.

This is one of the penguins they had outside of the Mellon Arena. Friend of The Show Lexie101 sent in this picture from her cell phone. :)

MAF was absolutely on fire tonight. If the rest of the team had played like he did, we'd be talking about a Penguins wide-margin victory right now. Alas, they did not, and we're talking about a game in which the Pens simply ran out of gas. They played hard in the first period, and it all went downhill from there. Dupuis was given a penalty for tripping, but the Devils didn't score on their power play. Sidney fired a backhand shot from one knee that would have been one for the ages as they say, but it didn't find the back of the net. Later, he made a pass behind the net from between his legs behind him. (His creativity on the ice is unsurpassed and just cannot be denied.)

Sid again was tripped by Clarkson; this time, the refs sent Clarkson to the box for his infraction. During the ensuing power play, Steigy and Errey made mention of Sidney's living arrangements. In case you were wondering, he is still residing with the Lemieux family. They also said that Siddo interacts with the Lemieux children like an older brother and that Nathalie treats Sid as one of her own children. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Later, Zach Parise and Zubrus went nuts in front of MAF, but somehow he managed to keep the puck out. Geno back checked Langenbrunner to keep him from scoring in the final seconds of the period.


Siddo's grandmas (both of them!) were in the Mellon Arena tonight. His mother's mom, Catherine Forbes, and his father's mom, Linda Crosby, talked with FSN Pittsburgh's Dan Potash. They told him that Sid took them on a tour of the city they called "beautiful!" and Mrs. Crosby related a story from Sid's youth: She and the very young Sid had a bet of sorts. For every gold he brought home, she would give him one Loonie. She ended up having to pay the youngster $158 or $159 (she couldn't remember exactly). That's a lot of gold! Sid told the FSN reporters earlier that, to this day, he still feels a bit guilty for taking the money from his grandma because she didn't have a lot of it. Steigy said, "She can afford it now!" to which Errey replied, "He should give it back! GIVE IT BACK, SID!!!" as they went to commercial. (I have little doubt that Sid has more than repaid her by now.)


The Pens didn't get any better in the third period. They kept turning the puck over and failing to clear it out of their own zone. A scrum developed between the teams early, with Rupp and Godard earning coincidental roughing minors. During the 4-on-4, Geno mishandled the puck and turned it over to Brian Rolston, who nearly got a breakaway. Geno and Rob Scuderi worked together to prevent that from happening, but Scuds got nailed with a hooking penalty for his efforts. There was no score on the 4-on-3, nor was there a goal during the 5-on-4.

Brooksie got hit by Zach Parise. Parise held onto Brooksie's stick (no call) and ended up taking it out of Brooksie's hands altogether. Then, stickless, Orpik had to go up against Langenbrunner, and in doing so, took a penalty for holding. On the ensuing penalty kill, MAF was unreal. I don't know how he kept two shots in particular out. The puck even came to rest on his pants as he flopped down on his belly. It was a sight to behold, for sure. It helped keep the Devils from scoring on their advantage. Then Sid made a fancy pass - right to Gionta. He went unchallenged at Flower, who stood tall and made a spectacular save. The rebound went right to Jay Pandolfo, and Sid rectified his error by making a stunning diving play to prevent Pandolfo from getting a shot.

Scuds made a pretty sneaky little HUGE steal at the corner of MAF's cage and cleared it out of danger. Then, with only 2:29 left in the game, Elias managed to fire a shot that took a lucky bounce off Gill's skate and into the net. [Pens 1, Devils 1]

Satan centered a beauty for Geno, but it was just a smidgen too hard and jumped over Geno's stick. In the last 10 seconds, Brooksie raced down to touch up on an icing call and went flying into the boards - FEET FIRST. We all gasped (even Errey exclaimed, "Oh no!") but Orpik got up like nothing even happened.


What can be said? Gionta got away with BLATANTLY holding Goligoski's stick. Sid and Geno were trying to throw everything they had at the Devils. And with 37.6 seconds left in the OT period, Parise capitalized on a Murphy Dump from Travis Zajac to win the game.

Hey, at least we got a point out of the deal! We don't have to wait so long for the next game - the Flyers come to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

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


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