Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pens v Rangers (L 2-3 SO)

It's going to be weird facing a Jagr-less Rangers team tonight. But if it means I never have to hear "Sweet Caroline" while watching a hockey game again, I'm more than okay with it. ;)

WTF. I thought we told them there were THREE periods in a hockey game? AHHHHHH!!! No, you know what? I blame Bob Errey. (Read on...)

Today marked the first time since October 2005 that all 30 NHL teams played on the same day. Because of this, the NHL expected to sell 95,000 sodas and 33,000 slices of pizza tonight! The craptacular cameras in Madison Square Garden made this a fuzzy game to watch. At times, it was hard to see the puck on the ice! Rangers coach Tom Renney must have a steel skull - he was on the bench behind his team despite getting hit in the head with a hockey stick last night's game.


Early on, Mark Eaton made a nice sliding save. Sid was being booed heavily. (Methinks the Rangers' fans would feel differently about Saint Siddo if he was wearing a blueshirt...) The first penalty of the night went to Wade Redden for cross checking. Marc Staal got a decent shorthanded chance on the ensuing Pens' power play, but the Pens didn't capitalize on their advantage. Just as Redden came out of the box, Darryl Sydor ping-ponged a shot off Michal Rozsival then off Dmitri Kalinin and into the back of the net. [Pens 1, Rangers 0]

Henrik Lundqvist made a few key saves in the minutes after the Pens scored their first goal. Geno Malkin made a nice move to try to get around Kalinin in the Rangers' zone, but Kalinin took Geno out with a solid hip check. Mike Zigomaniz, Geno, Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang, and Alex Goligoski had a great extended shift with a ton of near misses, but King Henrik showed us why he's called King Henrik. A fortuitous bounce ended up going right to newly acquired ex-Pen Markus Naslund on Marc-Andre Fleury's doorstep, but MAF managed to stop Naslund's backhand shot.


Equipment manager Dana Heinze took FSN Pittsburgh reporter Dan Potash on a tour of the Pens' equipment vault. It's like a treasure chest!!! All of Sidney's used equipment (including every blade from every game Sid has played in for the last 2+ years!) is down there in a corner. Geno's old Reebok helmets are down there (he's now got a deal with Bauer), as well as some equipment from former Penguins greats like Mario Lemieux and Ken Wregget. My husband said, "I wish I could have just 15 unsupervised minutes in that vault!" Haha, don't we all!


Flower made a few big saves to preserve the Pens' lead. Eric Godard and Nikolai Zherdev collided and went into the boards. The Rangers fans wanted a penalty on Godard but instead had to accept a slashing penalty to Zherdev. The Pens didn't score on their power play. Ryan Callahan had the puck with 2 other Rangers for a 3-on-1, but fortunately his shot went way wide. FSN showed the Staal brothers' parents in the stands watching their sons as Matt Cooke was hit with a holding penalty. Ziggy got a shorthanded chance and a chance on his own rebound, but Lundqvist stopped them both. The Rangers didn't score on their advantage.

Dupuis was backchecked by a Ranger which prevented him from getting a breakaway, but Letang was right behind Dupuis for support. He fired a shot that was blocked, but this lead to a sequence of offensive strikes in the Rangers' zone that ended with Gogo firing a shot that trickled through Lundqvist's 5-hole. Sidney was hanging out at the side of the cage and scooped the puck the rest of the way into the net. As he scored, he got run over by Kalinin and had to celebrate the goal horizontally on the ice. (No worries, though - his teammates helped him to his feet for a real celebration.) [Pens 2, Rangers 0]

Seconds after Sid's "insurance" marker, the Rangers were given a HUGE break when Brooks Orpik and Ziggy were simultaneously called for slashing and interference, respectively. MAF was a beast on the penalty kill. Several seconds after the first whistle of the Rangers' power play, a Ranger didn't quit and poked the puck over the line. The crowd erupted in cheers, but it didn't count because it was clearly well after the whistle. The Rangers were unable to get the puck past Flower, and their fans repaid them with showers of boos for their failure to produce on their 2-man advantage. Then, right as Brooksie and Ziggy emerged from the box, the Pens got the puck to Brooksie. Unfortunately, his pass to Ziggy was just a little bit too hard so he couldn't take a shot.


Before the 3rd period even began, Errey made the following statement: "We're in the middle of a shutout here!" Thanks for the jinx, Bobby. We were told that Geno is the top point scorer in the NHL, followed by Sid, who occupies the #2 spot. My husband chuckled and said, "I wonder if they have a bet going this year." Sid gave the puck away which forced MAF to be on guard, but he later made up for it with an outstanding backcheck on Callahan as the Rangers had a 3-on-2. Things went downhill from there. Jordan Staal was hit with a hooking penalty, and 6 seconds later, Naslund scored. [Pens 2, Rangers 1]

Later, Siddo and Geno collided sending Geno airborne and allowing the Rangers to get another 3-on-2 chance, but MAF stood tall. But then Flower played the puck in the no-play zone. Tyler Kennedy served the penalty for his goalie, and the Rangers didn't score on their advantage. It was about this point - with just under 6:40 left in the game - that Errey criticized the Rangers for not capitalizing on their many power play chances and said, "Time is ticking away for them [the Rangers]." Okay, we ALL know that 6:40 in hockey is like 2 days in real life. There was plenty of time left for the Rangers to comeback and tie the game, and - well, we'll get to that. Brooksie put consecutive big hits on Brandon Dubinsky and Petr Prucha.

The Pens got a lucky break when Eaton got away with a blatant trip. (The fans went nuts.) Sid, Geno, and Dupuis tic-tac-toed in front of Lundqvist but were unable to get it past the goalie. Mad Max Talbot fired a wicked Lemieux-esque slapshot off a faceoff and nearly increased the Pens' lead, but Lundqvist held down the Rangers' fort. With just 33 seconds left, Lundqvist was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Siddo missed a loooooong distance shot on the empty net, and with 8.1 seconds left in the game, Zherdev fired a quick shot to tie the game and force overtime.


The crowd began a deafening chant of "CROSBY SUCKS!" which, if that were true, they wouldn't be chanting it. (Jealous much?) He responded with an amazing shot that Lundqvist had to sprawl out to block. Ruslan Fedotenko was there in front but was unable to clean up the garbage. Later, Scott Gomez gave the puck away to Siddo in the Rangers' zone. He made an unreal pass to Dupuis, who fired a shot that Lundqvist was able to stop. Time ticked down without either team scoring an OT goal.


The Rangers decided to shoot first.
  1. Nikolai Zherdev → Blocked
  2. Kris Letang → Blocked
  3. Nigel Dawes → Blocked
  4. Petr Sykora → Blocked
  5. Fredrik Sjostrom → Scored
  6. Sidney Crosby → In a must score situation, his shot was blocked.

The Pens head out west next week. They face San Jose on Tuesday, and then go to Phoenix on Thursday. These games don't start until 10:30pm and 10:00pm respectively, which means I will be unable to recap them. They won't be over until waaaaaaay past my bedtime, so instead, I suggest checking out Seth Rorabaugh's Empty Netters recaps. (I'll be sure put the link up on game day.)

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


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